In 2018, the best short distance trail runners on the planet convened to race head-to-head at five of the most prestigious trail races on the calendar as part of the inaugural Golden Trail Series. The top 10 men and women in the season-long points standings earned a spot in the Grand Final at the Otter Trail race in South Africa, where a highly competitive race among the sport’s best ensued. In 2019, the Golden Trail Series becomes the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) with the apparition of Golden Trail National Series (GTNS) in France, Spain and more to come. The GTWS will once again feature those five most iconic races, but with a new sixth grand race added to the list—the Dolomyths Run Skyrace in the spectacular Italian Dolomites. The Grand Final, which will change locations each year, will be staged in another dream location in 2019: the Annapurna Trail Marathon in Nepal, a race which reaches an altitude of 4,122 meters. The GTWS is expecting to have even more elite athletes participating in the full series than in 2018. Many of the top athletes of the 2018 series will be back, plus a number of newcomers who have expressed interest in taking part. When the 2018 Golden Trail Series concluded in mid-October with the Grand Final at the Otter Trail in South Africa, it was Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik and New Zealand’s Ruth Croft who had earned the right to be called Golden Trail Champions. Along the way, there were a number of standout performances. Among them, three convincing wins at Marathon du Mont Blanc, Sierre-Zinal and Ring of Steall by Spanish trail running star Kilian Jornet following his comeback from a broken leg. At Pikes Peak in Colorado, American Megan Kimmel broke a 37-year old course record in winning the women’s race. And, at the Grand Final in South Africa, Polish newcomer Bartlomiej Przedwojewski (Team Salomon) and England’s Holly Page broke the men’s and women’s course records on their way to defining victories. With an influx of young talent coming onto the scene, the 2019 Golden Trail Series figures to have more outstanding performances in the sport’s biggest races.
Having six races, plus the final, will let the young generation come to the three shorter races, the 22 km Dolomites Run Skyrace, the 32 km Sierre-Zinal race and the 29 km Ring of Steall Skyrace. The more mature runners can focus on the three marathon distance racing if they want. And it will be super exciting when they all meet in the big Grand Final in Nepal.”
The schedule for the 2019 Golden Trail Series will include Zegama in Spain’s Basque Country known as “The Basque Fever”; the Marathon du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France known as “The Roller Coaster”; Dolomyths Run Skyrace in Italy known as “The Couloir Of Hell”; Sierre-Zinal in the Swiss Alps known as “The Fast and Furious”; Pikes Peak in Colorado known as “The Impossible Record”; and the Ring of Steall Skyrace in the Scottish Highlands known as “The Scottish Vertigo”. Also worth noting is that the Pikes Peak Marathon will be held on the weekend of August 24-25, one week later than normal. For the elite participants of the Golden Trail Series, this will make it easier to participate in both Sierre-Zinal and Pikes Peak, which were held only seven days apart in previous years. The elites will need to participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final in Nepal. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final. The inaugural season of the Golden Trail Series was a huge success, with many of the sport’s top runners participating in the races. That brought the level of competition to new heights. In 2019, the GTWS hopes reach another level of communications, like mainstream media and tv channels to spread the beauty of the sport to a larger audience and show how many groups can benefit from that exposure—the athletes, media, brands and the trail running community as a whole.”
The Golden Trail Series stands out in the modern sports world respecting unique values like parity, equity, transparency and honesty. The races have been chosen to highlight the most iconic events in the sport today. The series aims to promote professional trail runners as the world-class athletes that they are, to showcase and protect the awe-inspiring nature and environments where we play and compete, and to acknowledge the amazing, passionate fans as an essential ingredient in the sport. Each of the six races in the series has been specifically selected because of the scenery, the challenge, the history and the atmosphere that they offer to both the runners and to the public. These are the races that every runner wants to experience and some of the first written on any runner’s bucket list.
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