America's only certified Skyrace course. Race Beast of Big Creek on Mt. Ellinor in Hoodsport, WA on Aug 3rd, 2024.

America's only certified Skyrace course. Race Beast of Big Creek on Mt. Ellinor in Hoodsport, WA on Aug 3rd, 2024.

A couple of things before we dive into the numbers:

I tried a variety of ways of getting these numbers. Each trail race event lists their entry lists in a different way. Some make it easy, some have small fields and few runners and getting info is straightforward. Yes, I could try reaching out to events management to ask for that data in official capacity as journalist, but I see myself more as a blogger with a passion. Having said this, with UTMB I do have official press credentials and contacted the UTMB press office, but haven’t had any luck getting that information, seems they see me as just a blogger too. I also tried pulling that data manually from the public-facing entry list on the official UTMB website but I gave up trying to pull 10,000 names into a spreadsheet. Well, Liam Tryon reached out to me on Twitter and shared his list – thank you for doing the herculean job of getting this info put into a spreadsheet. The data is just for the big daddy UTMB race, but this gives us a good starting point.

According to official 2022 Entrants List there are 2811 starters taking on the full 171 kilometer loop around Mont-Blanc.

  • 2538 men – 90.3%
  • 273 women – 9.7%

I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t. This is so pathetically low. I would love to see how many women runners register for the lottery and how this could get balanced out. Speechless.

According to the official historical results listed on the UTMB website for the main UTMB event

  • In 2021 there were a total of 1521 finishers and 111 or 7.3% were women.
  • In 2019 there were a total of 1555 finishers and 144 or 9.2% were women.
  • In 2018 there were a total of 1776 finishers and 166 or 9.3% were women.

Well, while being so entirely baffled I decided to dig a bit more and pull out more numbers for all the UTMB events, but just for the US runners. Remember there are 10,000 total runners and the website did not make it easy to get this data. If there’s interest I can expand on this and add additional countries, just let me know.

There are a total of 562 American runners registered to run this year’s UTMB events. 404 are men or 71.9%, 158 women or 28.1%. This breaks down among the various events like so:

UTMB: 199

  • Men: 170 – 85.4%
  • Women: 29 – 14.6%

CCC: 151

  • Men: 111 – 73.5%
  • Women: 40 – 26.5%

TDS: 62

  • Men: 42 – 67.7%
  • Women: 20 – 32.3%

OCC: 79

  • Men: 44 – 55.7%
  • Women: 35 – 44.3%

PTL: 16

  • Men: 14 – 87.5%
  • Women: 2 – 12.5%

MCC: 13

  • Men: 7 – 53.8%
  • Women: 6 – 46.2%

ETC: 39

  • Men: 14 – 35.9%
  • Women: 25 – 64.1%

YCC: 3

  • Men: 2 – 66.7%
  • Women: 1 – 33.3%

So overall and even just for the main UTMB event the US slightly bucks the overall trend here.

There were a total of 22,853 entry applications for this year’s UTMB events and over more than 100 nations are represented. The US sits in 5th place of most runners represented with France, Spain, Italy and the UK taking the 1-4 spots.

Just like in other trail race events I’ve studied over the last few month, the shorter races see a higher women participation. This makes think that in some ways this imbalance is still very much a societal issue and not just an events policy issue. But regardless of what happens in our societies and regardless of what the math spits out after the lottery process is concluded, the events managers would do well to sit down and ask themselves on how they want their events to look and feel and what image they want to portrait to the world. The most drastic and simple solution is offered by the High Lonesome 100 race out of Colorado: Have two lotteries. One for men and one for women. That’s how you get gender parity and have your race be truly representative of humanity and of the world we want to live in.

Thanks again to Liam Tryon for providing me with the initial data dump.