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The World Mountain Running Association

Kicking off this month is the World Mountain Running Association World Cup, an annual series of mountain running competitions organised by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). If you’re new to the sport, here’s a little bit about what it is and how it works as well as where the races will be held this year.

What is the World Mountain Running Association?

The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) is the global governing body of mountain running.

The WMRA has a goal of promoting running competitions and athletic performance for all ages and abilities in places of natural beauty giving people fantastic memorable experiences.

The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) was formed in 1984 and they created the World Trophy, where international athletes competed to find the best mountain runners in the world. This became the World Championships, under the jurisdiction of the IAAF, which take place annually. The WMRA also stages the annual World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge and a World Cup series of races.

Who can enter the races?

All the WORLD CUP races are open to anybody, for all levels of race entry, not just the elite athletes. So if you’re just starting out then don’t worry, the events are for beginners too. Whilst you’re running your race, pushing your limits or enjoying the scenery the top of the field will be vying for points in the World Cup.

The WMRA hold Masters, under 20 and under 18 international championships as well.

The World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

In 2021 the WMRA, IAAF, ITRA and IAU join forces to create a combined world championships – the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, which is taking place in Thailand in November.

La Montee Du Nid D’Aigle
credit: La Montee Du Nid D’Aigle

The WMRA World Cup

Starting in June 2021 the World Cup tours some of the most dramatic locations and demanding routes for the competitors. Athletes are awarded points for each performance on the tour.

The 2021 World Cup in numbers:

  • 8 Countries
  • 12 Event locations
  • 16 races in 3 categories
  • 10,000+ participants

[table id=42 /]

There are 16 races at 12 events for the World Cup (some events have a couple of different races). There are 3 categories of race: short uphill, classic mountain and long mountain. Runners take part in as many races as they want and they get points for their positions. Their best 7 results in the World Cup races count towards their final ranking. You can see the current rankings here.

The points scoring format is cumulative. Finishing positions in a WMRA World Cup race range from 100 points for first to 1 point for 30th. Extra points may be awarded for performances achieved at the World Championships, if that event is included in the tour that year, and the World Cup Final race.

The series has a men’s and a women’s division and athletes must compete in at least two races in order to be considered in the final rankings.

credit: Sierre-Zinal

More info here: WCup Regulations 2021.5 (

The current World Cup champions (from 2019) are Sarah McCormack of Ireland and Andrew Douglas of Scotland. The current ranking are available here.

Sarah McCormack of Ireland (lives in Ambleside) and Andrew Douglas of Scotland
Sarah McCormack and Andrew Douglas

This years events are all subject to Covid-19 restrictions and this means the events are all subject to change, we hope that things run smoothly and local restrictions will be observed and athlete and volunteer safety will be at the forefront. 

You can find out more about WMRA at their website here.

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