The World Mountain and Trail Running Championships heads to the Tyrol region on 6-10 June (© WMTRC 2023)
Its “unique mountain landscape” and “great know-how” helped Innsbruck-Stubai to win a highly competitive bid for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships and excitement is building as the Tyrol region prepares to welcome the world’s best athletes to race for 16 titles next year.
About 1400 athletes from at least 60 nations are expected to compete across four events during the championships from 6-10 June and further details were shared on Tuesday (13) during a press conference held at Villa Blanka in Innsbruck.
There the media heard how taking the event to Innsbruck and Stubai will make the region of Tyrol an international centre for mountain and trail running. The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), under the coordination of World Athletics, noted Tyrol’s excellent reputation as a leading alpine sports region, together with the professionalism of the submitted application documents and the region's proven experience in major events organisation.
“World Athletics is delighted that the 2023 edition of the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships will be taking place in the beautiful region of Innsbruck-Stubai," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
"These championships, a true running festival set in the heart of Austria’s fabled Alps, will gather 1,400 elite trail and mountain runners from more than 60 nations across the world, who will compete in a variety of races across five days of competition.
"The location of Innsbruck will make this event particularly remarkable, for its ability to combine breath-taking mountainous terrain with an urban set-up, much to the enjoyment of event spectators," he added.
"The growing popularity of mountain and trail running across the globe is vital to growing our participation at all levels of our sport. We are therefore pleased to be working in close partnership with World Mountain Running Association, the International Association of Ultrarunners and the International Trail Running Association on the delivery of this event.
"Each of our organisations shares the common ambition of promoting running at every level and in every form – and this is an exciting opportunity to showcase a different kind of racing challenge for distance runners to come together to celebrate their common passion for our sport and the outdoors.”
Alessio Punzi of World Athletics is joined by athletes Florian Grasel, Ida-Sophie Hegemann and Kristin Berglund together with Josef Geisler, Elisabeth Mayr, Alex Pittl, Karin Seiler, Adrian Siller and Mario Gerber at the press conference (© WMTRC 2023)
A unique World Championships
“The bid was a highly competitive affair, with more than 15 expressions of interest and four complete bids submitted,” explained Alessio Punzi from World Athletics’ Competitions & Events department. “In the end, we and our colleagues from the IAU, ITRA and WMRA were convinced by the unique mountain landscape of Tyrol, and the special combination of urbanity and alpinism, as well as the great know-how in the disciplines of mountain running and trail running.”
Alexander Pittl, the founder of the Innsbruck-based Laufwerkstatt and creator of the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival, the largest running event in Austria, is in charge of implementing the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships from both a technical and organisational perspective.
Pittl is considered a pioneer in mountain and trail running in Tyrol and discussing the planned routes and distances, he said: "We expect around 1400 active athletes from at least 60 nations, who will be competing for the 16 titles and medals to be awarded in the four categories of men and women, individual and team. There will be a total of four runs along really beautiful routes, including a ‘vertical’ in Stubai, a short trail over 40km and a long trail over 80km, as well as the classic race as a spectacular 'up-and-down' race in Innsbruck. The exact routes are currently being worked out.”
Tyrol’s Deputy Governor Josef Geisler was delighted that the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 had been awarded to Tyrol. “The staging of this major event will further strengthen Tyrol’s international profile and position as the leading sports region in the Alps,” he said. “Mountain running and trail running are particularly environmentally friendly outdoor sports in harmony with nature, which stand for the sustainable development of tourism in our country.”
Karin Seiler, Managing Director of the Tirol Tourist Board, is also convinced of the added value that hosting the World Championships brings. “From a tourism perspective, and above all from a brand perspective, mountain sports in Tyrol are part of our DNA,” she said. “The mountain is firmly anchored in the Tyrol brand, so the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships fit in perfectly.”
Ideal conditions in Innsbruck and in the Stubai
The hosting regions offer perfect conditions for the different disciplines. The Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck impresses with its unique combination of event infrastructure and hotels in the immediate vicinity of the mountains. The Stubai, on the other hand, brings top hotels and a spectacular natural landscape.
According to Mario Gerber, chairman of the Innsbruck Tourist Board, the planned running routes in and around Innsbruck will offer numerous sporting and visual highlights for athletes and spectators.
"One route leads through the picturesque old town of Innsbruck and then climbs steeply over numerous metres to the ‘Holl’ at the Hoetting quarter,” he said. “There will be beautiful sporting pictures from our alpine-urban state capital out into the world.”
Spectacular routes are also being worked out in the Stubai, according to the chairman of the Stubai Tourist Association, Adrian Siller, at the press conference.
Organisers for World Athletics