CAPELL AND DAUWALTER WIN ULTRA-TRAIL® WORLD TOUR 2019 TITLES AS MAJOR CHANGES TO NEW-LOOK 2020 SEASON ARE UNVEILED
Pau Capell and Courtney Dauwalter have been crowned 2019 champions of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour at an end-of-season awards ceremony hosted in the heart of Paris.
Spanish star Pau Capell secured his second successive Ultra-Trail® World Tour annual title with first places in both the Transgrancanaria HG and the UTMB®, which he won by a resounding 48 minutes. Meanwhile American athlete Courtney Dauwalter also triumphed at the UTMB® and the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail® to improve on her third place of 2018. Both athletes also topped their cumulative UTWT World Ranking tables.
The Ultra-Trail® World Tour 2019 Awards Ceremony – presented by Volvic – also saw the announcement of significant improvements for the 2020 Ultra-Trail® World Tour season which will feature an expanded, simplified and unified race calendar, involving all historical events alongside new venues in China, France, Spain, Russia and Oman. A simplified scoring system and a new permanent and rolling ranking will also be introduced on January 1st next year.
A delighted Pau Capell took the 2019 title ahead of Jiasheng Shen from China. Xavier Thevenard from France and Spain’s Pablo Villa were joint third.
Speaking at the ceremony Capell said: “2019 has been a fantastic year for me. Thanks to my victories at the Transgrancanaria HG, Patagonia Run, mozart100® and UTMB®, I became Ultra-Trail® World Tour Champion this year. I am very happy and honoured to have received the 2019 trophy and I’m really looking forward to give my all in 2020. The new calendar includes races that I would like to run like Transgrancanaria HG and UTMB®, so in the next few weeks I will devote myself to gather the energy and motivation necessary to face the new challenges.”
Courtney Dauwalter, who won three Ultra-Trail® World Tour races this year (Tarawera Ultramarathon, Madeira Island Ultra-Trail® and UTMB®), secured the women’s title ahead of fellow American Kaytlyn Gerbin and Spain’s Maite Maiora. “I had a blast taking part in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour in 2019! Thank you to the race directors, athletes and to Ultra-Trail® World Tour for coming together to create a series of races that showcase beautiful destinations and tough competition. I am grateful to have had these opportunities to both push myself physically and to also learn about the world. It looks to be an exciting new calendar in 2020 and I can’t wait to be part of it!”, said Dauwalter.
Watch the summary of the award ceremony.
Also taking centre stage at the Awards was the announcement that next season will see an expanded calendar featuring no fewer than 28 events, with new courses joining established and iconic races like the Vibram® Hong-Kong 100, Transgrancanaria HG, Madeira Island Ultra-Trail®, Ultra-Trail Australia®, La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail, Western State®100-Mile Endurance Run and UTMB® Mont-Blanc (UTMB®, TDS® and CCC®).
The first new addition to the calendar arrives in March with the Gaoligong by UTMB® in China, while 2020 will now conclude in December in the Sultanate of Oman, with Oman by UTMB® extending the season beyond November’s Ultra-Trail® Cape Town, the 2019 finale.
Equally important are the changes announced to the ranking and points systems. From January 1st the existing World and Annual rankings will be unified into a single ranking based on each athlete’s best four Ultra-Trail® World Tour results over a rolling 24 month period.
Runners need to have taken part in a minimum of four Ultra-Trail® World Tour races in the last 24 months to be included, with the overall ranking recalculated from the new results from each completed event. On January 1st 2020 the single Ultra-Trail® World Tour ranking will be based on results between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2019. The first update will follow the Vibram® Hong-Kong 100, the opening race of the 2020 season.
Ultra-Trail® World Tour Executive Director Marie Sammons outlined the purpose of the changes: “The improvements we are introducing for the Ultra-Trail® World Tour are founded on four solid pillars: continuity, unity, openness and simplification.
“The continuity comes from the re-engagement of all the major races which have been such a core and vital part of our journey since 2013, while our unity is enhanced by the inclusion of three events supported ‘by UTMB®’ in Gaoligong, Val d’Aran and Oman. I am also delighted to confirm that all the races on the circuit have committed for the next three years, until the end of 2022.
“In addition, we have also opened the Ultra-Trail® World Tour to new, key markets, with added events now taking place in China, France, Spain, Russia and Oman. Finally, we have sought to simplify the ranking points scoring system by reducing the number of levels to four (vs. 5 in 2019), namely UTWT 500, UTWT 1000, UTWT 1500 and UTWT 2000. One event will be granted the UTWT 2000 status in 2020 – the UTMB®at the end of August – with guaranteed prize money for the top 10 men and women and an increase in media coverage.”
Sammons added: “All these improvements are clearly focused on making sure the Ultra-Trail® World Tour has the best ultra-distance trail running races in the world, the ones that excite and appeal to the fast-growing community of athletes, fans, media, sponsors and race directors. On top of that, Ultra-Trail® World Tour is tripling the prize money for the top 10 men and women at the end of the year and, at the same time, the circuit will invest to implement the Quartz health-prevention programme on all its races.”
Also unveiled for regular participants on the Ultra-Trail® World Tour are the introduction of an e-passport (by the summer 2020), which will open the door to a number of benefits for the runners, and ‘Running Stones’ which are designed to fast-track entry to the heavily over-subscribed UTMB® Mont-Blanc races. Starting in January 2020 runners who complete Ultra-Trail® World Tour races will be awarded Running Stones (1 Running Stone per ITRA point), which can be retained and used to gain direct entry to UTMB®Mont-Blanc races, avoiding the lottery.
The final announcement of the 2019 Ultra-Trail® World Tour Award Ceremony – last but certainly not least – was the renewal of the Official Partnership with Volvic for the next three seasons. Steve Brangeon, Danone Sponsorship and Events Director, commented: “Volvic and Groupe Danone have been supporting the Ultra-Trail® World Tour since 2018. Each year, the circuit further asserts its status as an international reference circuit in trail running and ultra-endurance racing. We are very pleased with the new dynamic in which the circuit is starting in 2020. We continue to proudly support the Ultra-Trail® World Tour.”.