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

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

Zoom calls to the rescue:

Initiated by UTMB Group, this exchange followed the publication on social networks on the 9 January 2024 of the private email sent by Zach Miller and Kilian Jornet to a small group of elite athletes.

“initiated by UTMB Group” = we’re the grown ups here.

The PTRA would like to clarify that, contrary to what appeared in the press, it was in no way involved in the initiative of Kilian Jornet and Zach Miller.

“We had nothing to do with these emails” = What the hell were you thinking, Zach and Kilian?

In addition, the model of organization and promotion of UTMB World Series events was clarified

I actually think that is one major level of frustration for UTMB (and they aren’t entire blameless here) but even elites don’t know how UTMB Group is actually structured and misleading stories were shared online on who owns who and who makes what decisions. This was at the heart of my interview on Singletrack with Frédéric Lénart, CEO from last August.

The athletes expressed that some of these rules were not yet clear enough for some elite runners and that this deserved further explanation. 

UTMB Group reminded those on the call that they had entered into conversation with the PTRA in March 2023 in order to discuss and amend the sporting rules of the circuit. 

Do we really need to explain this to you again?

Zach and Kilian expressed their concern that exchanges between the UTMB and the trail running community lack transparency. They would like communication to be more open and more direct with the entire community with more regular exchanges. 

UTMB Group representatives took note of their observations and assured them of their desire to improve on this point.

Again, UTMB isn’t fully blameless here. As an international organization it isn’t good enough to just go to the French media, but they need to find international outlets so that folks who don’t read the French sports paper understand what this organization is and trying to build. And maybe elites who want to be part of a global racing series need to read more than Instagram comments.

Finally on Governance:

The representatives of UTMB Group finally took the opportunity to remind those on the call that UTMB Group is a company created in Chamonix (France) in 2003 under the leadership of Catherine and Michel Poletti, and a group of friends. The company is still managed from Chamonix, at Maison UTMB, with Isabelle and David Poletti in the management teams. The IRONMAN Group took a minority stake in 2021 to contribute to the development of the UTMB World Series.

This is personal now.