It’s 40 days to go until Austria’s largest summer sports event, the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 (WMTRC 2023) are kicking off in Innsbruck and Stubai. At a press conference held at the Hoadl-Haus - in close proximity to the WMTRC routes - GM Alexander Pittl and the organizing committee, together with political representatives and important stakeholders, were able to draw up a positive interim balance for the approximately 75 Austrian and international sports journalists in attendance at the annual “Sports Media Austria Tagung”.
Deputy governor of Tyrol Georg Dornauer, Territorial council in charge of economy and tourism Mario Gerber, Karin Seiler (CEO Tirol Werbung), Florian Grasel (Austrian trailrunner), Alexander Pittl (Head of OC), Barbara Plattner (CEO Innsbruck Tourismus), Peter Jost (Head of Sales and Marketing VWR) and Roland Volderauer (CEO TVB Stubai Tirol)
According to Georg Dornauer, first deputy governor and territorial council in charge of sports-related topics in Tyrol, the WMTRC are of real significance, not only for Tyrol but also in terms of the tradition of World Championships held in the region. As he pointed out during the press conference: “Tyrol has already presented itself as an excellent host for major sporting events in the past. We do not need to look back that far. Examples such as the 2018 UCI Road World Championships put Tyrol center-stage, and the same is going to happen again this summer. As the only world championship to be held in Austria this year, the "World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023" are another highlight in the sports calendar, which will once again enthrall numerous spectators with excitement and emotion. The event is of real importance for the country, but also for the tourism industry and our economy in general. 66 nations, some of them with major delegations, will visit the Alps come June. We are proud of this!”
A major event under the banner of sustainability
Mario Gerber, territorial council in charge of economy and tourism, is looking forward to the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships: “Mountain and trail running are particularly eco- and nature-friendly disciplines, and they stand for our tourism industry’s sustainable orientation. In fact, sustainability has long been an integral part of tourism in Tyrol. Here in the Alps, tourism is informed by small, family-run businesses and sustainability has always played a major role.”
Global running elite coming to Tyrol
“The second edition of the WMTRC will see the global running elite participate in all four contests,” says Alexander Pittl, head of the OC. “Athletes such as Jim Walmsley from the US, Hannes Namberger from Germany, Stian Angermund from Norway or our very own mountain runner Andrea Mayr are the scene’s superstars, and their participation goes to show just how important the WMTRC are going to be.”
“While the star-studded list of participants is sensational from an organizational point of view, it somewhat diminishes our own chances,” as Florian Grasel, Austria’s most prominent trail runner, points out. “But then again, that’s really what World Championships should be about – they should showcase the best of the best! Compared to 1,500 athletes who are going to participate in Innsbruck-Stubai, the number of medals – ten for single and ten for team contests – is somewhat negligible. And even though us Austrians might not be among the top contenders, we are going to give our best.”
The most stunning trails in the heart of the Alps
Karin Seiler, managing director of the Tyrolean Tourist Board (Tirol Werbung), adds: “Tyrol is an ideal choice as a host for the title races. Hardly any slogan has ever been as fitting as ‘Welcome to the most beautiful trails in the heart of the Alps’! The title races will be held on four routes – Vertical, Trail Short, Trail Long and Mountain Classic – passing through some of the most stunning scenery in the Alps and covering distances between 7 and 85 kilometers. Active regeneration and physical activity in the mountains are the drivers for our guests to come and spend their holidays here.”
WMTRC 2023 offers “public races”
The Innsbruck and Stubai regions not only beckon the world’s elite but anyone with a keen interest in running. Barbara Plattner, managing director of the Innsbruck Tourism board, and Roland Volderauer, managing director of the Tourist Office Stubai Tirol, elucidate: “In the run-up to the event, the ‘public races’ give runners a chance to demonstrate their abilities on two official WMTRC routes. On June 6, prior to the festive opening ceremony, the KRONE Race to Höll will allow participants to put their abilities to the test on the WMTRC route in Innsbruck. On June 7, the SPORTLER Vertical, covering 1,020 meters in altitude, will lead mountain runners from Neustift to the Elferhütte, allowing recreational runners to experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of running on official WMTRC trails.”
Volkswagen R – a powerful and worthy partner
The WMTRC have not gone unnoticed among major brands either, with Volkswagen R (VW R) being the event’s main sponsor. The ‘R’ stands for ‘Racing’, which is more than fitting, seeing as the athletes are racing for medals. “We aim to bring this unique and trendy discipline and our R community closer as we believe that they are a great match. Empathy, closeness, top performance and individuality are strongly anchored in both the Volkswagen R brand and trail run. That's why we are also active with our own runners and a global team," explains Peter Jost, in charge of sales and marketing at Volkswagen R.
Enticing fringe program
Before, during and after the contests there will be lots on offer for athletes and spectators alike, with highlights including the festive opening and closing ceremonies. During the WMTRC there will be a varied program of events, from film screenings and live acts to guided hikes, arts, culture and culinary affairs. And with the entire event being free of charge there is sure to be something on offer for everyone.