Trail running bodies have joined other sporting organisations in issuing sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
UTMB Group is among those in the running world to speak out in recent days against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in line with steps by the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics.
Organisers of the world's most famous trail race, the UTMB Mont Blanc, have suspended all Russian and Belarusian athletes from events under the UTMB® brand until further notice. This includes all 25 events of the new UTMB World Series.
UTMB Group will also remove the label of 'UTMB World Series Qualifier' from all trail running events organised locally in Russia and Belarus that have previously been given the status.
Their statement read in part: "UTMB Group is deeply concerned and shocked about the recent developments in the country and, while we regret penalising athletes who have trained hard, this decision reflects our solidarity with Ukraine and its people, our belief in need to protect the integrity of sport, and our condemnation of the atrocities being committed by Russian leadership."
The International Skyrunning Federation also announced a ban on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. Yesterday, the ISF's statement read: "The ISF Board unanimously condemns the Russian attack together with the government of Belarus for their support of the assault."
The Skyrunner World Series has also excluded Russia and Belarus athletes from its events. The body said in a statement: "By doing so, the SWS does not set out to punish Russian and Belarusian athletes who have no involvement, but rather to show solidarity with Ukraine and stand united with other international sports federations who also promote peace through sport."
The World Mountain Running Association yesterday issued a statement reading: "On March 1, 2022, the World Athletics Council agreed to impose sanctions against the Member Federations of Russia and Belarus as a consequence of the invasion of Ukraine. The WMRA supports this decision."
The International Trail Running Association today also backed World Athletics' policy. It added: "Reflecting this position and being a partner of World Athletics in the organisation of official competitions, ITRA would not support any Russian or Belarusian bid to host the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships or participation in those championships by Russian or Belarusian athletes or teams."
Main photo: UTMB (Credit: Franck Dunouau)