Thursday, September 22, 2022
HomeRunningSo You Need to Run UTMB? – iRunFar

So You Need to Run UTMB? – iRunFar

So, you need to run UTMB, or one of many different races on the UTMB Mont-Blanc competition? Nice! Be a part of the membership. However be forewarned, it’s an enormous one.

Massive for good motive although. Massive as a result of the course, the followers, and the competitors are wonderful. Massive as a result of yr after yr elite runners from world wide flock to the beginning strains. Massive as a result of hundreds of amateurs be a part of them. Massive as a result of the races have stay protection that will get broadcast worldwide. Massive as a result of the media and sponsors flock to it. And massive as a result of it’s a celebration — one massive, internationally recognized, mountain operating social gathering.

Surprisingly although, the social gathering continues to be fairly younger. It might be straightforward to imagine {that a} race of such dimension and status could be one which has been round for a lot of ears, however that’s merely not the case. Although it could seem like a full-grown grownup, UTMB is basically in additional of its teenage years, and as is so frequent to that stage of life, there are some rising pains.

For these wanting to participate in UTMB, the rising pains can definitely be uncomfortable. I’ve been taking part within the races since 2015, and it seems like yearly one thing modifications. With the latest merger with the Ironman Group and the launch of the UTMB World Sequence construction, this yr has been no totally different. Actually, the present modifications appear to be essentially the most drastic that I’ve seen but. At instances it could possibly really feel onerous to maintain up.

In my subsequent few paragraphs, I’ll try to put out a type of street — or path — map for these struggling to get a deal with on the most recent UTMB qualification construction, and in addition goal to generate a dialog concerning the plusses and minuses of the most recent evolution of this much-loved race.

Zach Miller - 2022 UTMB - finish line

Zach Miller after taking fifth on the 2022 UTMB. Photograph: Mathis Dumas

So How Does This New System Work?

Nicely, that is determined by the way you want to qualify. There are three major qualification processes — one for amateurs; one for the elites; and one for, because the UTMB web site states, “runners with precedence.” I’ll begin with the amateurs.


Prior to now the system for amateurs was pretty easy. Runners would collect UTMB factors by operating UTMB qualifying races, of which there have been many. You’d gather these factors inside a sure variety of races, which means you couldn’t simply run tons of brief races to get the factors, however reasonably you needed to rating the entire obligatory factors inside the established variety of races (i.e., three or much less). Some races scored extra factors than others, so that you needed to be strategic xfwith your race picks. When you had these factors, you could possibly then enter the lottery. In case your title was drawn, you bought in, if it wasn’t, you didn’t.

The brand new system is pretty comparable, but in addition has some distinct variations. In accordance with the knowledge revealed by UTMB, there are two issues you’ll want to enter the lottery for the races within the UTMB World Sequence Finals (UTMB, CCC, and OCC). These two issues are at the least one Operating Stone and a legitimate UTMB Index.

The Operating Stone should be collected inside the earlier two years. You will get a stone by ending a 20k, 50k, 100k, or 100-mile race on the UTMB World Sequence circuit. It’s much like the outdated factors system, however right here’s the distinction. One, you might be restricted to utilizing races on the UTMB World Sequence as qualifiers. And whereas earlier than the place you wanted a lot of factors to enter the draw, you now solely want one stone. Nevertheless, every stone you have got provides you one ticket within the lottery. Therefore, six stones provides you six tickets, which means you have got a greater likelihood of being chosen.

After getting your stones you’ll want to ensure you have a legitimate UTMB Index. The UTMB Index has 4 classes: 20k, 50k, 100k, and 100 mile. You get hold of an index just by operating a UTMB race, or a UTMB World Sequence race, inside one of many classes. You don’t want an index of a sure stage, which means ending sooner doesn’t provide you with an edge. You merely must have an index inside the applicable class. For OCC you want an index in at the least the 20k class. For CCC you want an index in at the least the 50k class, and for UTMB you want an index within the 100k or 100 mile class. Lastly, your UTMB Index should be acquired up to now two years. To place it merely, end a UTMB sequence main, occasion, or sequence race of the suitable distance (and inside two years beforehand) and also you’ll have your index requirement.

After getting each your index and your stone(s), you possibly can enter the lottery. As per the outdated system, you possibly can enter the lottery for only one race, which means you possibly can’t enter for UTMB, CCC, and OCC all on the identical time.

2022 UTMB start

The beginning of the 2022 UTMB on Friday, August 26, 2022. Photograph: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein


Now you can too enter as a gaggle. To enter as a gaggle, you set your entire names in collectively, however the most variety of stones you should use per particular person is the minimal variety of stones owned by anybody member of the group. For those who and two pals need to enter collectively and you’ve got 5, 4, and three stones respectively, then as a gaggle you possibly can every enter three stones.


Prior to now elites needed to gather qualifying factors just like the amateurs. Nevertheless, as soon as that they had their factors, they may bypass the lottery and be granted an elite entry if their Worldwide Path Operating Affiliation (ITRA) Rating was excessive sufficient. This course of was comparatively easy and made it potential for many elites to participate within the UTMB races. For my part, this was an incredible factor as a result of it made for deep, aggressive race fields, which in flip made for thrilling races.

The brand new course of is far totally different. With the UTMB World Sequence construction now in place, elites should race their approach into the sequence finals (OCC/CCC/UTMB). To take action, they have to place within the prime three at any UTMB World Sequence occasion, or within the prime 10 at any UTMB World Sequence Main. In fact, that is all damaged down by class — which means 50k occasions/majors will qualify runners for 50k finals (OCC), 100k occasions/majors will qualify runners for 100k finals (CCC), and 100-mile occasions/majors will qualify runners for 100-mile finals (UTMB).

However, what concerning the runners who end on the rostrum on the earlier yr’s UTMB World Sequence Finals? Nicely, that’s one more strategy to qualify, as the highest three finishers on the finals will qualify for the following yr’s finals as long as they take part in one other UTMB World Sequence race. They don’t have to complete on the rostrum on this race, however they do should take part. So sure, which means that if Katie Schide, Kilian Jornet, or any of the opposite prime three finishers of 2022 want to run in subsequent yr’s UTMB, they have to first take part in one other UTMB World Sequence race.

Katie Schide - 2022 UTMB - finish line

Katie Schide, 2022 UTMB girls’s champion. Photograph: Mathis Dumas

Moreover, runners even have an opportunity of creating it into the finals even when they don’t end within the prime three at an occasion or prime 10 at a serious. This may occur if the runners who earn these qualifying spots refuse to take them. Any such unused spots will likely be handed all the way down to runners who’ve completed a sequence occasion or main inside the previous yr. These spots will likely be distributed in keeping with your UTMB Index, with the best index scorers getting first dibs.

Age Class Rating

Must you fail to qualify through the method detailed above, you have got but another choice. That is qualification through age class rating, which solely applies to UTMB World Sequence Majors. Every main can have 55 qualifying spots put aside for age class finishers. Every age class that’s represented will obtain at the least one qualifying spot within the finals, with the extra spots being allotted primarily based on the variety of runners in every age group.

Runners with Precedence

And at last, this brings us to the final remaining approach of qualifying, the “runners with precedence” methodology. This grouping consists of charity/well being/atmosphere/companion entries, and rollovers from 2021 — when worldwide athletes had been allowed to roll over their entries to 2022 or 2023, without having to gather stones.

Runners with entry to those charity/well being/atmosphere/companion bibs can enter as long as they’ve collected at the least one Operating Stone up to now two years and have obtained a legitimate and updated UTMB Index for the class by which they want to take part.

This concludes the entry course of for OCC, CCC, and UTMB. However, what in case you are concerned with TDS, PTL, MCC, ETC, or YCC? Nicely, these races are ruled by one more entry course of and for the sake of this not getting for much longer, I’ll merely direct you to the UTMB web site.

Reflecting On The Adjustments

With that I can breathe a sigh of reduction. Aid as a result of that was quite a lot of typing, and quite a lot of data to kind by. To be sincere, it’s not very thrilling stuff. Why trouble to jot down about it? Nicely, for one I write it within the hope that I may help folks to know how the brand new UTMB system works. However, extra importantly, I write it as a result of I believe there’s a lot to assume by right here with regard to not simply the way forward for UTMB, however the way forward for ultrarunning and mountain operating typically.

Once I take a look at a system like this, I discover myself asking some massive, essential questions. Issues like, what’s the objective of it? Does it assist path operating and ultrarunning to develop in a constructive path? Does it assist UTMB to develop and preserve its prestigious standing? Is it in the perfect curiosity of future generations of path runners? Is it honest? Is it good for the atmosphere? Is it wholesome for the runners? Does it permit races exterior of the UTMB system to thrive? Does it threaten to create a monopoly? Does it make our sport higher?

For beginner runners, one massive concern is the actual fact they’ll enhance their possibilities of being chosen within the lottery by accumulating extra stones. Is that this a very good factor — because it means for many who dream of operating UTMB, it’s extra inside their management to make it occur, reasonably than counting on the gods of the lottery entry? Or does the system overly favor the rich, who can afford to journey to and enter extra races?

For elites, the large change is the necessity to qualify through a reasonably choose group of UTMB World Sequence races. Is that this good in that it might doubtlessly create a aggressive sequence of occasions that’s enjoyable for folks to observe? Or, does it threaten to make the UTMB, CCC, and OCC fields much less aggressive if elites select to not play into the brand new system? If the elites do select to play alongside, will it make different non-UTMB races much less aggressive or result in burnout of athletes attempting to do an excessive amount of?

The checklist might go on and on, however these are the questions that come simply to my thoughts. UTMB is an unimaginable race. And to me, path operating isn’t just a sport, however a lifestyle. I would really like for each this race and this sport to proceed to thrive. For this to occur, I believe it is very important hold issues in verify. Change isn’t essentially a foul factor. Actually, it’s typically a very good factor, however it’s at instances of change like this that it is very important step again and ask the large questions. Like the place is that this all going, and is that a spot we need to find yourself? So, inform me, what do you assume?

Name for Feedback

  • What are your ideas on the brand new entry course of, and its knock-on results on our sport?
  • Do you continue to have questions or do you assume it’s clear now?
Zach Miller - 2022 UTMB - aid station

Zach Miller refueling on the 2022 UTMB. Photograph: Mathis Dumas



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