By Mathias Eichler
Winter, trails, darkness, and all the weather.
One last hurrah before the end of the year. Runners, get ready for a fun and festive holiday treat along the trails of Squaxin Park.
Big organizations tend to move slowly, to much annoyance of people affected by those policies, and by the people writing about them online. But, UTMB “FINALLY” updated its pregnancy policy, and they did it right.
The policy – which includes deferral and priority entry guidelines for athletes that are pregnant, athletes with a partner who is pregnant, and athletes that are adopting or birthing via surrogacy – encourages runners to return to the trails in a safe way and within a timeframe that is considerate of individual circumstances following birth.
Sophie Power, founder of SheRACES is being quoted in the official press release:
“I’m delighted that UTMB World Series is launching a world leading pregnancy deferral policy that supports all women to return to racing when they are ready. At SheRACES we look forward to continuing to work with UTMB World Series going forwards, sharing our insights to ensure more women from all backgrounds participate in these iconic events.”
An interesting nugget added to the bottom of the press release:
The new policy comes as part of a concerted effort by UTMB World Series organizers to encourage more women into the sport and to build on UTMB Groups ongoing commitment to equal opportunities. In line with the actions put in place in the previous years, in 2023, male and female elite athletes will be equally represented on the start line of all three UTMB World Series Finals races at the sports pinnacle event UTMB Mont-Blanc, thanks to the new sports system which sees elite athletes qualify through a series of events throughout the year. UTMB World Series also remains committed to equal media coverage and representation on communication platforms including UTMB Live, as well as equal prize money for male and female athletes.
And another interesting piece is, that the pregnancy policy lives at the URL /inclusion and the headline paragraph hints at more upcoming policy changes and announcements:
UTMB strongly believes in equal rights and opportunities for all members of the trail-running community. We are in the process (bolded by me) of building inclusion and diversity policies on gender, race, age, social class and more. We endeavour to grow and continue to evolve the sport and to make UTMB World Series welcoming for each athlete.