USATF Mountain, Ultra and Trail Running
Welcome to the home of Mountain, Ultra and Trail (MUT) Running for USA Track & Field (USATF – the official national federation for U.S. athletics). USATF’s MUT programs are managed by the MUT Council which sits under the Long Distance Running (LDR) Committee.
ATRA founder and MUT Council chairperson Nancy Hobbs coined the MUT moniker at the USATF Convention in Orlando Florida in 1998, the first convention attended by the newly appointed subcommittee members. Two years later, MUT was elevated to the status of a Running Council at the 22nd annual USATF Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 3, 2000. The Council status gives MUT higher visibility and recognition within the USATF organization, which in turn will help MUT better serve its running communities.
The American Trail Running Association (ATRA) was founded in 1996 as a Colorado based non-profit to promote MUT sports, provide free resources for MUT athletes and to raise money for world championship teams named by USATF. Over the past 25 years the USATF / ATRA partnership has raised over $125,000 for U.S. mountain and trail running team members.
2023 National Championships
Each year bids to host USATF MUT national championships are awarded to high quality mountain, ultra and trail running races. Distances range from 10 km to 100 miles for trail, 50 km to 100 miles for road ultra and 10 km (uphill only) to 12 km (up & down) for the “classic” mountain running championships. While all runners are welcome to enter event hosting championships, only USATF members are eligible for championship awards, prize money and selection to international teams. Championship awards include top 10 overall men & women and top 3 men & women in masters 5 year age groups (40-44, 45-49, 50-54, etc).
For a list of upcoming MUT championships see the “Races Hosting USATF Championships” widget on this page or click this link.
Race directors interested in hosting USATF MUT National Championships can find information about the bidding process on the USATF website. The bid form can be found here [PDF]. The MUT Executive Committee accepts bids throughout the year and reviews and approves bids each month. To find out which championships are available please contact us.
2023 World Championships
May 27, 2023 – WMRA U18 International Mountain Running Youth Cup – Annecy, France
June 6-10, 2023 – World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) – Innsbruck, Austria
September 16, 2023 – NACAC Mountain & Trail Running Championships – Saskatchewan, Canada
November 5, 2023 – IAU 50 Kilometer (Road) World Championships – Hyderabad, India
December 2-3, 2023 – IAU 24 Hour (Road) World Championships – Chinese Taipei
Qualifying for 2023 International Teams
U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team (16-17 years old) – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Paul Kirsch and Melody Fairchild.
U.S. Team for Challenge Stellina – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Richard Bolt.
U.S. Mountain & Trail Running Teams – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Richard Bolt, Paul Kirsch, Jason Bryant, Tom Hooper, Anita Ortiz and Carol Passarelli.
U.S. U20 Mountain Running Team (16-19 years old) – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Paul Kirsch.
U.S. Team for NACAC Mountain & Trail Running Championships – How to Qualify – Team Staff: TBA
U.S. 50K National Team – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Lin Gentling, Meghan Canfield and Dr. Lion Caldwell.
U.S. 24 Hour National Team – How to Qualify – Team Staff: Pam Smith, Bob Hearn and Dr. Nicole Yedlinsky.
2025 World Championships
After Austria’s event in June 2023, the next World Mountain & Trail Running Championship (WMTRC) will be held in 2025. Letters of intent to bid are due December 1, 2022. Host of the 2025 world championship will be announced in June 2023. You can learn more about the WMTRC bidding process and hosting requirements on the World Athletics website.
WMRA – World Mountain Running Ranking
Created by the World Mountain Running Association, this athlete ranking system is intended to be “a simple way to see who are the top off-road runners in the world that are racing mountain running events.” In addition to providing a rolling 365 day athlete ranking this service also includes athlete profiles, a directory of eligible mountain running races and calendar of upcoming races. Find the WMRA ranking at: https://ranking.wmra.info
ITRA – Runner Ranking Index
Created by the International Trail Running Association, the ITRA performance index is for trail runners from around the world. Users can view the top 5 general classification athletes or create their own personalized search using the ITRA database of more than 1,700,000 runners from 22,400 different trail races. A $10 per year ITRA membership is required to view the rankings. Find the ITRA ranking at: https://itra.run/runners-ranking
Learn more about athlete ranking systems, how they’re calculated, costs, pros and cons in an article written by Tayte Pollmann.
About MUT Sports
The annual USATF Mountain Running Championships is a 10 to 12 km event alternating uphill (even numbered years) and uphill/downhill (odd numbered years) organized in accordance with USATF Rule 253. Women & men run the same distance and a separate start is preferred. Organizers design a course profile & distance which closely mirrors the Mountain race at the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships. Poles are not allowed. World Championships and some races outside the U.S. are governed by World Athletics Rule 251. Read a history of the U.S. Mountain Running Team from 1985 to 2020.
These are championships longer than 26.2 miles which are held primarily on roads or a track. Parts of the course could also be on paved paths closed to vehicular traffic or dirt roads. Events follow USATF Rule 240 (Road Races) with some exceptions for 252.8 (Refreshment Stations) to allow for crewing. Championships which are also IAU label events may be subject to certain IAU rules which could differ from USATF rules. Consult the race director to determine which rules will apply. World Championships and some races outside the U.S. are governed by World Athletics Rule 251.
These are championships longer than 26.2 miles which are held primarily off-road where the majority of the course is closed to vehicular traffic. Events generally follow USATF Rule 254. Crewing at aid stations is allowed. Poles may be allowed. World Championships and some races outside the U.S. are governed by World Athletics Rule 251.
These are championships at 26.2 miles and shorter which are held primarily off-road and where the majority of the course is closed to vehicular traffic. Events generally follow USATF Rule 254. Poles may be allowed. World Championships and some races outside the U.S. are governed by World Athletics Rule 251.
Help Support U.S. MUT Athletes
American athletes competing in world championship competitions receive some funding from USA Track & Field but it rarely covers 100% of costs for flights, hotels and ground transportation. Donations made through the non-profit American Trail Running Association are tax deductible. 100% of donations are paid directly to athletes to reimburse their travel expenses to world championships. For a limited time, you can also support the Mountain and Trail Running teams by purchasing “Long Distance Dark” coffee from Reno, Nevada based Rubicon Coffee. Click here to purchase.