The first edition of the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) will be held 11-14 November 2021, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over the four days, the action-packed championships program will include vertical uphill mountain races, short and long trail races for senior athletes and the classic mountain races for both seniors and juniors. Situated 700km north of Bangkok, on the banks of the Ping River, Chiang Mai is the largest tourist spot in the northern part of Thailand thanks to its unforgettable scenery. The mountainous surroundings and the city’s growing reputation for outdoors mass sporting events make it the perfect place to host the first-ever combined World Championships. This new biennial event further develops the partnership between the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and the International Trail Running Association (ITRA), with support from World Athletics.
Building on the creation of a single definition for mountain and trail running within the athletics family, it replaces the successful separate World Championships held respectively by WMRA and IAU/ITRA. This new global festival is designed to attract the best elite trail and mountain runners, as well as provide opportunities for mass participation runners to test themselves on the same courses. It is an exciting development that aims to provide athletes, brands, athletics associations, media and fans of the sport with a clear, recognizable product in the global calendar of this burgeoning running discipline. The official name of the event will be “2021 Amazing Thailand World Mountain & Trail Running Championships”.
Welcoming the announcement, Presidents of the WMRA, IAU, and ITRA – Jonathan Wyatt, Nadeem Khan, and Bob Crowley issued this joint statement: “We are delighted to be able to end such a difficult year as 2020 with the announcement of our first-ever joint mountain and trail world championships. Chiang Mai has a growing reputation for hosting quality off road running events, and we are sure it will provide excellent courses to enable the best runners to test themselves against one another. Working with World Athletics, we know that mountain and trail running has a massive part to play in getting more people physically active, and we look forward to working with the local organizing committee to develop a truly global festival of running for both elite and mass runners”. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe: “The announcement reflects the common interests and growing collaboration of our four organizations, who share the ambition of promoting running in all its guises. Our closer ties will create more opportunities for distance runners to compete in varying environments and take on different challenges, whether it be in the spectacular natural settings that mountain and trail events offer, or in more traditional events on the road or the track. That versatility and range of opportunities are one of running’s great attractions and we encourage runners of all kinds to explore everything our sport has to offer”.