UTWT launches environmental project

The group of 28 international trail races will work to minimise trail running's impact on the planet

Trail With Purpose

by Trail Running |

The Ultra-Trail World Tour has launched a sustainability project to champion environmentally friendly initiatives set up by its member races.

Trail With Purpose will make end-of-year awards to some of the 28 tour races in recognition of eco-responsible race initiatives.

As part of the scheme, UTWT will also hold three forums this year designed to show its commitment to sustainable development and initiating change in trail-running across the world.

With Volvic as official partner, it is also supported by three-time UTMB winner Kilian Jornet.

The first forum, next month, will be entitled "How to develop an environmentally friendly economy around a trail running event". The June forum will be "Water as an essential and precious resource". Meanwhile, the August discussion will be on "Minimising the impact of the event on the environment and strengthening relations with local stakeholders".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Marie Sammons, director of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, said: “While the world continues to be gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget that climate change and the protection of our environments are still crucial issues to tackle. That is why we are proud at the Ultra-Trail World Tour to launch Trail With Purpose, our new initiative to make bold and committed steps towards a more sustainable future in trail-running and indeed beyond. Through our three dedicated forums and prizes awarded to leading sustainable initiatives across the circuit, we hope to raise awareness and provide education on eco-responsibility and how best to sustain and protect the natural environment for everyone’s future.”

Jornet, who is a staunch supporter of environmental initiatives, added: “I believe that sustainability is one of the greatest challenges we face. And as trail runners, we have a role to play, because we are among the first to see how nature is being impacted by climate change. We are the best advocates of this and need to spread the word and tell our communities.

"That is why I am very happy to join forces with the Trail With Purpose project from the Ultra-Trail World Tour. On my side, with the Kilian Jornet Foundation, we are working towards the same purpose, with dedicated actions and projects to try and preserve the mountain environments. Together we will be able to develop and work on joint projects to protect biodiversity, push the industry to work on more sustainable models, and encourage local actions to preserve these landscapes that we all love so much.”

Forum 1 – May

How to develop an environmentally friendly economy around a trail running event.

This forum will focus on how to promote the local economy, products and activities around a trail race, including how best to encourage social interactions between the participants and the local communities. The forum will also touch upon how to enrich the runner experience by providing a unique and authentic immersion in the local region and what is has to offer from a touristic point of view.

Forum 2 – June

Water as an essential and precious resource

The second workshop will focus on the macro-economic vision and the water management at a trail running event, including what to do in case of heat waves or dry toilets on a particular race. Water is a precious resource, so the focus will be on how to best manage water supplies, bring water to isolated and protected locations, and use local resources to enable a better access to water for local inhabitants of the area.

Forum 3 – August

Minimising the impact of the event on the environment and strengthening relations with local stakeholders

The final forum will concentrate on key actions to help reduce the impact of trail running races on the environment (e.g. crossing wetlands, natural parks, and reserves, and choosing the best start/finish locations…). It will also look at how best to work with local and environmental authorities to ensure the event does not develop a bad reputation in this regard. Developing and fostering strong relationships with local stakeholders is key.

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