The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

UTMB currently offers eight events in North America. One in Canada, one in Mexico, and five in the United States, plus Western States, which is affiliated with but not owned by UTMB. These events include twenty-six races which offer runners a chance to collect stones to be eligible to enter the lottery to run in Chamonix for the Finals. I added a second sheet to the ECC Events Calendar, with the North American dates, events, races and prices. (Click the tab titled UTMB NA Prices 2024 on the bottom of the embedded window on that page to view that spreadsheet.) I wanted to offer all these prices in one convenient place so folks who are REALLY interested in chasing stones can see which races cost how much. Or for anyone is just interested in seeing the prices in comparison to each other in one handy sheet.

The price comparison is interesting to me. In general prices fluctuate depending on popularity and if it’s a Major or not. Prices also are increased at seemingly random intervals, probably when a certain percentage to sell out is achieved. (UTMB currently doesn’t post anywhere entry lists until just before race day, so there’s no way to tell when a race sells out.) I left off the ‘charity bib pricing’, which is on average at least double the price of the regular entry. Overall 20Ks seem quite expensive, especially in comparison to indie races. 100M races seem in line with the competition, but somewhat on the cheaper end. For example: Grindstone is only $349, while Western States is $450, which is the same price as High Lonesome 100, one of the most expensive 100 Milers in the country. Aravaipa’s Javelina Jundred is $420. Whistler is the newest event and currently the cheapest – this could have something to do with the exchange rate, the newness of the event, or the recent controversy around the event (if signups are sluggish, they’ll keep prices down for awhile). Mexico’s Puerta Vallarta hasn’t gotten an update date or prices for 2024 yet.

Of the 26 races UTMB NA offers these distances:

  • 100M: 4 (WS and Canyons are already sold out)
  • 100K: 6 (Canyons is already sold out)
  • 50K: 7
  • 20K: 9 (Speedgoat and Puerta Vallarta both offer two 20K races each)

So for 2024 North American runners have only 17 ultra races to choose from to get their stones. And of those 3 are already sold out.

I’m not sure the point I am trying to make here. Looking at these numbers, and how few events there actually are, it seems that UTMB still has an insane growth potential here in North America. And yes, these events all are meant to give you access to Chamonix, and these Finals are already way overbooked as it is, so perhaps somewhere along the line all of this ‘stone chasing’ isn’t going to compute anymore, but for now, it seems this is just going to keep growing?

Charity Bib Pricing:

This is something that has existed for the UTMB Finals for some time now, but this year they’ve introduced this in a larger scale on most of the events here in the US. Here’s how UTMB talks about this.

Since 2004, UTMB Group has proactively supported numerous solidarity and environmental projects, raising over 4 million Euros for charitable causes to date. With the launch of UTMB Cares in 2023, runners from across the world are invited to ‘Race for More’ to support and showcase positive impact projects in race communities. 

Limited edition charitable ‘Care Bibs’ are available at sell-out events to support the UTMB Cares initiative. You will find charity bibs directly on event website pages.

Charity Bibs seem a clever way for UTMB to give folks a chance to get into THEIR seemingly sold out dream race while pulling more money out of people’s pockets. But, if there are bibs still available the race is clearly not sold out. And UTMB is able to charge a premium for entries at a later stage when the event is close to selling out.

Offering two pricing tiers allows the regular entry price to stay reasonable, somewhat accessible, and competitive though, so that is kind of smart.

This appears to be a new concept within the US trail running landscape. I haven’t seen any other organization deploy a method like this. The methods we’re familiar with are either “sell out, lottery and wait list” or “ever-increasing prices to manage the demand”.