Aiming to bring together the international community of trail runners despite the cancellation of many races around the world, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour goes virtual with the creation of the UTWT Virtual Club.
The UTWT Virtual Club will feature an expanded calendar of virtual races designed by the events who form part of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour. These virtual races will offer different sporting formats to suit beginners and experienced trail runners alike and are now available at virtual.ultratrail-worldtour.
Marie Sammons, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour Executive Director, stated: “This has been a very challenging year for each of us in our personal lives, for each outdoor event organizer and consequently for UTWT. Only 6 races have taken place since the beginning of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak. We had to reinvent ourselves to keep the spirit of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour alive, support every race of the circuit and provide a new digital experience to our international community of trail runners. The UTWT Virtual Club will offer great visibility to the races and appeal to the fast-growing community of athletes, thanks to this dedicated platform where they can connect and compete against each other wherever they are.”
To encourage the greatest number of runners to take part, entry into each virtual race is free and the distance and/or elevation gain can be completed in one go or across several runs. The platform also takes into account the kilometer-effort which means that for any gain of 100m in elevation, one kilometer is added to the distance of the route. The integration of a real-time ranking will also allow participants to test themselves against a global community of trail runners, unlock finisher badges, gain special gifts and celebrate their achievements with running enthusiasts from around the world. Trans Jeju and Penyagolosa Trails HG get the ball rolling with four different virtual races on offer: Trans Jeju Virtual 10k, Trans Jeju Virtual 50k, Trans Jeju Virtual 100k and Penyagolosa Trails 60k.
Athletes based on Jeju Island in South Korea or in the Castelló province in Spain are encouraged to run on the local trails whilst international runners will be able to take on the virtual race of their choice on their favourite playground, no matter where they are in the world.
“Due to the coronavirus, we can’t be together for the race at the moment. But, it’s meaningful for trail runners and us, the Trans Jeju team, to enjoy trail running in our own location via this brand new platform. We hope to introduce Trans Jeju, the most beautiful island in South Korea, to runners and we’d be really happy if trail runners from all over the world can enjoy our virtual race“, said Ahn BYEUNG-SIK, the Trans Jeju Race Director.
In November, Val d’Aran by UTMB® and the Ultra-Trail Harricana™ of Canada will also challenge trail running enthusiasts to take on their original virtual races.