After four amazing seasons, the Golden Trail World Series returns in 2022 with new ambitions. They include: supporting athletes in their quest to become professionals and above all making trail running a must-see, televisual event.
The trail “world cup”
Trail running has experienced a spectacular rise in popularity over the last fifteen years. So spectacular that the sport has witnessed the development of many private circuits across the world. Between the short and the ultra distances, the national and the private circuits, it was tricky to know what was what for a while. “Nobody understood who was doing what exactly, and more importantly, the athletes’ level of performance became diluted across all the different circuits, which prevented those at the top from competing against each other” explains Gregory Vollet. And it was precisely to offset this problem that he came up with the idea of launching the Golden Trail World Series in 2018. A trail circuit based on the most mythical 21 to 42 kilometre races in the world and which united the best athletes in the world to compete over these distances. Today there are many runners who consider the Golden Trail World Series to be a real trail world cup.
“The most exciting project to come out of the last 10 years!” In addition to the level of performance, which continues to increase year on year, it is also the visibility of the Golden World Trail Series which attracts athletes today, irrespective of nationality or sponsor. This is the case for Italian runner Francesco Puppi (Team Nike), winner of the final in El Hierro in 2021. “What makes the organisation of the Golden Trail World Series different is the communication it generates around the event, he stated in an interview with trailrunner.com The organisers are in the process of taking our sport to another level and are a real source of inspiration for all athletes, be they elite or amateur. They also pay a lot of attention to environmental issues, believing that we can always do better and do more. I sincerely believe that the Golden Trail World Series is the most exciting project to come out of the last 10 years in trail running, and therefore deserves our recognition.”
Widening the audience
And it is precisely because of this communication and showcasing of the athletes and the sport that the Golden Trail World Series stands out today from other world circuits. In 2021 the series also demonstrated its ability to define itself as one of the greatest trail running events in the world with its impactful communication in the media and on social networks, as well as its high quality books, which have boosted its popularity in the trail running world. But GTWS doesn’t want to stop there and aims to widen its audience. “The event that we offer athletes is so intense that we really believe that today it’s possible for our sport to be televised and reach a wider audience, explains Gregory Vollet, director of the Golden Trail World Series. Ultimately GTWS is simply a structure that allows them to express themselves and to represent their sponsors to the best of their ability so that they can enjoy their passion.”
A global web series
And to support their ambitions, in December 2021 the Golden Trail World Series teams launched “Chasing Dreams”, a 7-episode web series that takes the viewer behind the scenes of an international trail running competition. With original content, exclusive footage from the race and behind the scenes, breathtaking scenery and on-camera combat, “Chasing Dreams” goes beyond the competition to tell the stories of the athletes who make it. Viewers are given an exceptional opportunity to get an insight into the personal lives of the runners, to get know their dreams, their fears, their joys… “How do they manage the pressure? The rivalries? The injuries? How to the brands fight between themselves to get optimal visibility? The series answers lots of these questions” explains Gregory Vollet. With this first TV series dedicated to trail running, the director of the Golden Trail World Series believes that a new step has been taken this year. “The world of trail running is constantly evolving, and it is thanks to the investment of brands that athletes, amateur runners, organisers, media, retailers, consumers, spectators and now television viewers are all benefiting”, insists Greg Vollet. And it seems to be working, since more than 4 million people have already viewed “Chasing Dreams” around the world!
New ambitions and new partners
And because any adventure is only fun if it is shared, to achieve the ambitions it has set, the Golden Trail World Series has decided to surround itself with new partners for 2022. Whilst historic series partner Salomon will still be present, three new brands have also decided to support GTWS actions over the coming years.
– Firstly Sidas. The brand is a specialist foot comfort and as such was immediately attracted by the Golden Trail World Series project. “At Sidas we have the goal of becoming one of the essential actors in this discipline. So that trail runners can forget about their feet and can simply focus on the pleasure of running. The partnership that we have just signed with the ‘Golden’ really makes sense”, Sidas explains. “For several years we were partners of UTMB(R) Mont Blanc, continues François Duvillard, CEO of the Sidas Company.
However, we aspired to a circuit that better reflected our DNA: we didn’t want a massive mechanism, but were looking for an organisation close to the action, the athletes and amateur runners… The really striking, punchy and fun format of the GTWS appealed to us straight away. It makes trail running accessible! It really makes you want to pull on your trainers and trot around up in the hills! Finally its international, future-focused dimension which also promotes historic European roots, with ancestral events such as the Mont Blanc Marathon or Sierre-Zinal, ultimately convinced us.
– And next Suunto. The outdoor watches brand has always been invested in the development of trail running, alongside Salomon in particular. “Suunto has always supported Salomon in its trail running projects since the very beginning, states Gregory Vollet. Even though Suunto is no longer part of the same group as Salomon, the brand’s identity and values remain attached to the outdoors, to navigation in hostile environments, and to the help it can provide to runners of all levels. In concrete terms, Suunto will be our official timekeeper, our supplier of the 3D maps on the GTWS circuit.
– And finally, Tailwind. The sports nutrition brand offers products that are perfectly adapted to the formats and requirements of the Golden Trail World Series races.
“Tailwind is a revolution in the world of sports nutrition since this drink means that you know longer have to eat solid food, explains Gregory Vollet. GTWS competitions are comparable to Formula 1 races where pit stops must be minimized and stomach problems must be avoided. Tailwind gives runners the opportunity to stop being hungry, to stop having digestive problems, to save weight (no solid food to carry) and to save time at refuelling by simply changing the bottles. In addition, it is more economical to run with Tailwind than another brand because you don’t have to buy bars and gels to supplement the drink! It was an obvious choice for the GTWS to partner with a brand that shares a revolutionary approach to the development of the sport.”
The GTWS version 2022
The 2022 series will be based on the three unmissable events that are Zegama and its Basque fever, the Mont Blanc Marathon and its rollercoasters, and the fast and furious Sierre-Zinal. The series will also include new races, with a trip to Norway, close to Stian Angermund (the recent winner of the 2021 series), to participate in the Stranda Fjord Trail Race, before heading to the United States for the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado, which will offer a $10,000 bonus to the male runner able to cross the line in under 2 hours or 2 hours 21 minutes for women, and finally, the Flagstaff Sky Peaks, which will take us into the heart of the American trail running community in Arizona.
– 29 May Zegama-Aizkorri, Spain
– 26 June Marathon du Mont-Blanc, France
– 6 August Stranda Fjord Trail Race, Norway
– 13 August Sierre-Zinal, Switzerland
– 17 September Pikes Peak Ascent, United States
– 25 September Flagstaff Sky Peaks, United States
– From 26 to 30 October Grand Final, Madeira Ocean&Trails, Madeira.
Golden Trail TV: goldentrailseries.com/gttv/ [ http://www.goldentrailseries.com/gttv/ ]
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Source: Golden Trail Series