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The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.

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Per Sjögren is the race director of the widely popular, and very wild Kullamannen UTMB race, which according to my insider information is already almost completely sold out, 9 month before race day. Per, on Facebook, responding to UTMB’s official statement regarding Kilian and Zach’s email. (This was a Facebook comment in Swedish, which I threw through the translation tool of my browser):

We think the UTMB series is exciting and the UTMB week is special. But adventure running is so much more than these big races. Visit Transylvania and run a really odd mountain race with wolves and bears in your ass and fantastic nature with friendly people. Costs as much as a T-shirt in some races but unforgettable. Likewise to run a hardcore UK race as OMM 55 year anniversary. Sign up for elite and you’ll get to see hard times among hard runners. Also an adventure called duga. Or why not buy some own maps and do your own group race along your own route with only mountain rescue as support or a local pub owner who might be kind enough to pick you up along a deserted mountain road. Can you guess that some elite runners want to sharpen offers with larger sums of prize money? Many already today receive both travel, subsistence and a free start. We see that some UTMB races now offer pretty good prize money, but it’s nothing for the crowds who come in 12 hours after the elite and get a medal, a drink and something small to eat. In my world, the great thing is the adventure of traveling, meeting like-minded people and sharing an experience along the trails. It could be in Chamonix or a weekend in a deserted Langholm in the south of Scotland with only a village pub, a butcher and a bakery, if you don’t like the UTMB circus there are 1000 adventures to choose from if you just look so I find it hard to see how UTMB would eliminate smaller local races. But the UTMB races tend to be international with runners from all over the world. At Kullamannen we had almost 1000 international runners last time. It might be fun for some to meet these, in conclusion, isn’t it more prize money that the elite runners want? I doubt it will develop the sport. It is like in most other sports, more practitioners widen the base.

Some of this is getting a bit lost in auto-translation world, but the gist of it is this:

  • Don’t complain about UTMB if you are looking for your personal adventure and prefer that. There are plenty of small, wild races and lots of trails and mountains to adventure by yourself.
  • What UTMB is offering is not just access to the trails around Mont Blanc and a polished mega event. The unique angle that UMTB offers is your chance to have an adventure with people from all over the world.
  • UTMB should continue to focus on “widening the base” and inviting even more people from more countries and culture. This will be better for the development of sport than if we focus on “sharpening the spear end” of the sport and give elites more special treatment.
  • And yes to more racing mountains with “wolves and bears in your ass and fantastic nature with friendly people”.

Thanks Federico for the link and the translation.

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