INNSBRUCK-STUBAI, Austria — The press conference for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) was held two days prior to the first race at the event on Monday, and it was filled with great anticipation and expectations.
The event was marked by a significant change that dominated the discussion. Alessio Punzi, representing World Athletics (WA), summarized the sentiment, stating, “The World Championships will be a dream come true, one that we began dreaming about in 2017.”
Live streaming and updates will be available on the championships website and its Facebook page. You can watch the action in six different languages! – READ MORE: Live Updates: 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships
Punzi went on to explain World Athletics’ strong focus on the sport, emphasizing that “running in nature is accessible to people and we aim to utilize it to promote better fitness worldwide.”
By co-hosting the World Mountain Running and Trail Running Championships under the patronage of the World Federation, Punzi added, “We aspire to attract an ever-growing number of athletes. Our hope is that both athletes and spectators will find it impossible to resist the allure of the WMTRC.”
As reported on the event’s website on Monday and released in the media report, the change in plans for the WMTRC was primarily due to the weather conditions.
“As a result of an unusually long and cold winter, we are unable to follow the original Trail Long route,” stated Alexander Pittl, the head of the organizing committee (OC). “Certain sections are covered in heavy snow, posing a significant risk of avalanches.”
Despite this setback, the organizers have made extensive preparations to address the situation. Pittl confirmed, “We have devised an alternative route for such cases, and we have already made the decision to implement it, as it is less affected by snow.”
The alternative route spans 85.8 kilometers, a kilometer longer than the original route.
The athletes participating in the championships are eagerly anticipating the races. German athlete Florian Reichert shared his excitement about the Trail Long event, saying, “The landscape is absolutely stunning, with verdant hills on one side and rugged rocks on the other. The level of competition is higher than ever, as no other races are scheduled concurrently.”
Karin Freitag, another participant residing in the World Cup region of Innsbruck-Stubai, is particularly thrilled to have the World Cup taking place in her backyard. Describing the Vertical race, she noted, “It starts off with an extremely steep ascent, followed by a brief recovery, and concludes with another steep climb.
This section is ideal for Andrea Mayr, as she excels in such terrain.” Freitag herself aims to give her all and stated, “I want to be able to say that I left everything on the course.” Regarding Austria’s chances of winning a medal, she expressed, “We are determined to secure a medal, regardless of its color.”
Sarah Rowell, representing the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), eagerly anticipates witnessing thrilling and challenging competitions among the world’s top athletes.
“The Innsbruck-Stubai region is the perfect setting for this event, as it combines the amenities of a major city with the untamed wilderness of the mountains.”
Rowell also expressed her hope for the future of the sport, stating, “I would love to see mountain running and trail running included in the Olympic Games.”
Janet Ng, President of the Trailrunning World Association ITRA, echoed the sentiment regarding the stunning landscapes and trails of the Innsbruck-Stubai region.
“To bring the races from the mountains to the heart of the old town, as with the Mountain Classic, is truly a dream come true for organizers. I am eagerly anticipating the second edition of the WMTRC and am delighted to be a part of this historic week.”