This week, UTMB Mont-Blanc presented a new entry process, which will be implemented over the next two years. The changes involve a new partnership between UTMB and Ultra Trail World Tour to ensure more athletes have the opportunity to run the events. In 2020, the previous entry rules will alter to make the lottery system more flexible. By 2021, there will be an introduction of a faster procedure to enter UTMB Mont-Blanc races by runners participating in a new international series of races.
Over the last three years, UTMB Mont-Blanc has had a 68 per cent increase in applications. To accommodate the crowds, runners must now complete a certain number of qualifying races in a time limit during a qualifying period. The 2019 scale requires runners to acquire 15 points over two years from three races maximum to run UTMB. TDS requires eight points over two years from two races maximum, CCC requires eight points over two years from two races maximum, etc. The points decrease down to the YCC UTMB race. Acquiring points means runners have the opportunity to pre-register for the race of their choice. If they are not successful, they double their odds in the following year’s lottery.
In 2020, the organization will implement a year of transition toward solidifying a new, more flexible entry process. For example, runners will need to acquire 10 points over two years from a maximum of two races for UTMB, eight points over two years from a maximum of two races for TDS, six points over two years from a maximum of two races for CCC, etc. With lower entry standards, runners have the opportunity to acquire points in a more relaxed manner. If runners are not selected for the 2020 lottery, they will receive automatic entry for the same race in 2021. UTMB organizers state that “this is a logical development, which is meant to better respect runners’ health.”
For the 2021 race, a new system will be implemented beginning in January 2020. A limited number of races will be classified as “Running Stones,” which will be recorded on a database for runners to monitor. Acquiring a certain number of Running Stones will allow runners to gain direct entry for a UTMB Mont-Blanc race, bypassing the lottery. For example, UTMB will require 18 “stones” and CCC will require 15 “stones.” As well, one ITRA point is equivalent to three Running Stones. If a runner does not have enough “stones” they can trade them for additional tickets to the lottery. From January 2020 onwards, runners can collect “stones” by racing in UTMB races around the world such as Gaoligong, Ushuaia, Oman and Ultra-Trail World Tour races.