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Mountain running is a worldwide sport that is recognized by World Athletics (formerly the International Association of Athletic Federations). A mountain running race is an athletic contest to see who can reach the finish of a defined course in the shortest period of time. Courses are clearly marked and runners follow a fixed course.

To qualify as a mountain running race as defined by the World Mountain Running Association, there are certain requirements for elevation change during the race. These requirements are set out in the table below. In alternating years, the World Mountain Running Championships feature all-up races (even years) and up-and-down races (odd years). For World Championship races, courses may deviate from the technical requirements by approximately 10%.

In Canada, a race may still be certified as a mountain race even if it does not meet these technical regulations as long as the course meets a minimum level of elevation change during the race. Races do not need to be in the mountains to be a mountain running race.

World Mountain Running Association Technical Requirements (quoted from WMRA Regulations):

  • 200.2 Course parameters:
    • Distances Juniors (men & women) 5 to 6 km
    • Seniors (men & women) 10 to 12 km
    • Elevation should be always approx. 100 m by 1 km of the course
    • The courses depend on the natural conditions and so the values are approximate.
  • 200.3 Specific rules for up & down courses:
    1. Most preferable course is a lap course with approx. 5 – 6 km long lap with 250 - 300m elevation gain, where juniors run 1 lap and seniors 2 laps. Other course types are also possible.
    2. In lap courses, minimum height difference between the highest point and lowest point should be 200 m.
    3. For point to point courses which do not start and finish at the same point, the difference between the total ascent and total descent should not be more than or less than 5%.
  • 200.4 Specific rules for mainly uphill courses:
  • The total amount of descent should not exceed 10% of the total ascent.
  • 200.5 Any course which exceeds any parameter specified in [the rules] by more than 20% cannot be approved by the Delegate but the Council can approve such course in exceptional circumstances.

The full technical regulations for the WMRA can be found here: Technical Regulations

World Athletics recognizes and supports the discipline of mountain running. More information about mountain running can be found on the World Athletics website here.

 
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