Matt Walsh interviews Greg Volley, Director of the Golden Trail World Series. Here are a few things that stick out to me.
- Our sport is so focused on the ultra distances that the Golden Trail series is still somewhat flying under the radar. Yes, there are certain races that a big on the annual calendar, Zegama and Sierre-Zinal for example, but both races are in Europe and especially here in North America this events haven’t attracted the biggest talents or created the biggest stories.
- Salomon itself is somewhat flying under the radar with this marketing effort. And that is, according to Vollet, what this race series is for Salomon. We’ve been talking about how Hoka seems to be owning trail with their partnership with UTMB, or certain shoe brands with their introduction of hyper shoes for hyper prices and we’re looking at how other businesses are ‘shaping our sport’ with their strategic investments. Salomon is proudly doing just that by investing a shit ton of marketing Euros into an international racing series with the aim of redefining the sport. The series’ focus is on shorter trail races, away from the ultras. Shorter races would allow runners to race more often. And it creates a more concise media product, and gives more runners a chance to go pro according to Vollet.
- One thing that is missing for me with these shorter Golden Trail Series events is the focus on the beauty of the landscape. The story of ultras is just so cool, run through the night, around a mountain, you just can’t beat that. And the Golden Trail series events are too short, that they feel more like traditional cross country race. Less adventure, more competition. Nothing wrong with that, but for me, it skews the story into a direction that’s not quite my cup of tea.
- I do appreciate Vollet’s candid responses to Walsh’s questions regarding UTMB. Expect the point around him seeing the Golden Trail Series alone and uncontested. The Skyrunning Series exists and certainly operates in the same space.
- The Golden Trail Series website is shit. I really wish that with these event series someone would put the effort in, and comes up with a good way to market this year’s event date, tell the story of the location and trail, and keep a good historical backstory and results. All in one place. Is that too much to ask?
I’ve focused here a lot on UTMB, and in many ways deservedly so, it is the biggest global event in our space, by far. But it’s also been a personal thing, I do want to race UTMB one day. Clearly what these past few months have been showing is that UTMB is in a rock and uneasy space. It’s good if other players in our sport assert themselves and play strong competition in our sport’s media landscape as well as helping create story lines around athletes and places and thus foster dreams for runners to go chase their adventure.