🏔 UTMB, MORE INTERNATIONAL THAN EVER 🏔

Courtesy of UTMB INTERNATIONAL

The UTMB® Mont-Blanc attracts 100 nationalities for 2018

UTMB® International’s goals

The Gaolingong by UTMB® has already become one of Asia’s foremost trail running events

Oman by UTMB®, 1st edition November 29, 2018

UTMB® Mont-Blanc, the world’s summit of trail running.

Supported by more than 3000 qualifying races all over the world and revered by hundreds of thousands of athletes who dream of standing one day at the starting line in Chamonix, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc has become, in just 15 years, a premium world-renowned event and brand, often presented as the “World’s Summit of Trail Running.” From August 27 to September 2, 2018, the 16th edition of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc will welcome more than 100 nationalities for the first time, and 16 countries will send delegations of more than 100 runners. China, with 387 registered runners, represents the largest non-European continent at the event.

The founders’ unique expertise and the event’s worldwide success have become a source of inspiration for race organizers,public authorities and sport events companies all over the world, especially in countries currently investing in trail running and adventure tourism as a vector for their economic growth.

UTMB® International development

In 2016, Autour du Mont-Blanc, the company that created and organizes UTMB® Mont-Blanc, and OC Sport, which annually organizes 35 events on 4 continents (including the Extreme Sailing Series, the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe Trans-Atlantic sailing race, and the Haute Route Cycling Series), decided to join forces to create UTMB® International.

The goal of UTMB® International over the next 10 years is to contribute to the development of  premium and open-to-all events, inspired by the model and high organizational standards established by the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. Athlete safety is and will remain a core part of the project, in addition to the quality of the event management and the overall experience and “journey” for runners and their companions. UTMB® International works with independent organizers from around the world, who intimately know their terrain, the people, and how to protect their local natural environment.

On each “continent” (Asia, Middle East, Oceania, Africa, North America, South America, Europe), UTMB® International will grant up to 5 “by UTMB®” labels to events that meet the strict selection criteria. After a few years, the top event on each continent will become an official UTMB® labeled event, sitting at the top of the trail running sporting pyramid, just like the UTMB® Mont-Blanc in Europe.

When China awakens…

China counts 15 million runners and 1400 trail-running events throughout the Country, from the Gobi Desert to the tropical forests in the south. In just a few years, China has become the 5th most-represented nationality at the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, and several experts predict a Chinese win in Chamonix in the near future.

After a very positive experience in November 2016, the first edition of the Gaoligong by UTMB®, on March 9-11, 2018, proved a resounding success. The three distances (160km MGU, 125km RCE, and 55km THT) attracted 1900 runners from 24 different countries, as well as 70 media outlets. The Gaoligong Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the theater for an incredible race between the China’s best trail runners and the current international elite; the 160km (MGU) witnessed exceptional performances by two incredible athletes: the Lithuanian Gedeminas Grinius, who won the Ultra-Trail® World Tour two years ago, and the American Krissie Moehl, who won the first UTMB® Mont-Blanc in 2003 and then won a second time in 2009.



 

The Gaoligong by UTMB®, after this first edition, has established itself as a major event on the Asian trail-running calendar, as well as the standard-setting race for the continent.

Oman, the next stopover on the “UTMB® International Tour”

The journey continues after the Gaoligong by UTMB® with the launch of OMAN by UTMB®, the second event labeled after UTMB® and receiving support from UTMB® International in 2018. The start is scheduled for November 29, and 300 runners plan to travel to Oman, an increasingly popular outdoor tourism destination distant only  6 to 7-hours flight from Europe. This new race has all of the attributes needed to become a must-attend event in the trail running calendar, with a 137km (85 miles) course that is both technical and breathtaking; a beautiful mix of the Grand Canyon and the mountain cirques of Reunion.

The course will pass through villages, palm groves, ridgelines, wadis, the typical canyons found across the Arabian Peninsula, and include section on Jebel Akhdar – the “Green Mountain” – that will take runners to over 2200m elevation. The event will be held during a time of the year suitable for trail running, with temperatures ranging from 25°C at the lower elevations to 10°C up in the mountains; these conditions  should allow the fastest competitors to finish the race in around 20 hours.

UTMB® International allows easier registration for the UTMB® Mont-Blanc

Beyond the adventure and change of scenery, the Gaoligong by UTMB® and Oman by UTMB® offer a certain number of benefits to finishers who would like to participate in the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. For the long races, every finisher will receive six qualifying points that will be valid for three years (instead of two) for the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. In addition, finishers will gain a year in the registration process: if they would like to participate in the 2019 edition of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, every OMAN by UTMB® finisher will double its chances in the lottery if registering for the first time, or will be guaranteed a spot if unsuccessful when trying to register for 2018 edition.

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