On January 1, 2019, The International Trail Running Association (ITRA) will implement a new classification of races. Since 2014, the ITRA has certified and evaluated the difficulty of trail races using a points system. The changes will now classify and group races more consistently. If you participate in trail races, then these changes may affect you.
The ITRA evaluates the points in a race according to its distance, elevation gain, and the autonomy (aid stations versus runners being self-sufficient). For example, a race of 100K with 5,000 metres of ascent is 150 (100 + 5,000/100 = 150). Under the old classification system, 150Km effort would mean the race would have 5 ITRA points. The new classification system means that the same race has 4 ITRA points.
The new classification has seven different categories of trail running races ranging from XXS to XXL. Races are classified according to kilometre effort and difficulty. Races and race directors must be members of ITRA in order for the race to receive a ranking. If a runner has completed a trail race, then they likely have an ITRA ranking.
Want to run UTMB?
Applying to run UTMB or its associated races requires a certain number of ITRA points. UTMB requires 15 points from a maximum of three races. Applying to CCC requires 8 points from a maximum of two races. The UTMB points haven’t changed, but the standard for acquiring them has. Under the new classification system, runners may need to run tougher races in order to acquire the same number of points.
The new classification system means that the standards for races have increased. Runners can find their personal ITRA points here. However, after December 31, 2018 points will be earned according to the new system.