Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 166 March 2024 | Page 59

The UTMB World Series is one of the world ’ s premier trail running circuits , uniting the sport ’ s biggest stars and passionate runners through leading international events in some of the most stunning locations . Launched in 2021 , the series is built on a passion for the mountains and with sustainability at its heart , and gives runners the chance to experience the UTMB vibe and adventure across the world , with events taking place across Asia , Oceania , Europe , Africa and the Americas . It is the only place where runners can begin their quest to qualify for the pinnacle UTMB Mont-Blanc in France , where 10,000 runners participate in a festival of trail running that also hosts the prestigious UTMB World Series Final . For more info , visit www . utmb . world .
The Outeniqua Mountains offer tough but stunning trails .
The MUT by UTMB For the Trails runs are social trail testers and fundraisers for the GTR .
As the event grows , its ability to contribute to funding the trail building and maintenance can hopefully increase proportionately , too . “ We have committed to donating R125,000 this year , upping our contribution from 2023 ,” says Zane . “ MUT by UTMB also recognises the trail builders at our prize-giving , awarding a ceremonial forester ’ s hoe to the person who did the most for the trails in the past year .”
To further support Garden Route Trail Running , the event has launched its For the Trails runs , in conjunction with HOKA , the official footwear and apparel partner to the UTMB World Series . These runs feature sections of the routes used by the race , and the series kicked off in December , with the last one , The Vert Run , taking place on Saturday 9 March . Along with raising funds , through the minimum R200 donation to GTR as a form of entry fee , these runs help prepare participants for what they will face during the MUT by UTMB race weekend .
“ Trail running in the Outeniqua Mountains isn ’ t easy . The trails are technical and the constant changes in gradient defy any attempts to maintain a comfortable rhythm ,” says Zane . “ We didn ’ t set out to create tough routes for our Marathon , 60K , 100K or Miler … the running is simply tough out here in the Garden Route . Therefore , acclimatising by pre-running some of the routes is the best way to mentally and physically prepare for the MUT by UTMB .”
“ If possible , we ’ d like to encourage trail runners who are planning to run the MUT by UTMB to join us for the final For the Trails run on 9 March . We remain committed to ensuring top quality trail experiences in the Outeniqua Mountains . This obviously means during race weekend , but it also extends beyond the trails we use for race routes and throughout the year .”
The MUT by UTMB 2024 race weekend will kick off with the MUT Miler on Friday 25 May , and conclude with the final prize-giving at 1pm on Sunday 26 May . This year the race will make use of a new host venue , the Outeniqua Stadium in the heart of George . For more info , visit www . utmb . world , and entries for all distances are available at www . utmb . world / registration .
Runners who tackle the MUT by UTMB need to bring their climbing legs .