ITRA and the evaluation of races

Many observers in the trail-running community have observed that distance and elevation data about races were not always reliable. Thus, the difficulty points could be misallocated due to poorly measured races. ITRA offers a new race evaluation and certification service with this in mind.

In an effort of openness, ITRA details its calculations on its website (click here). This calculation takes into account a variety of criteria; including distance, elevation, amount of refreshment posts or number of loops. The organizer who wants a race to be evaluated submits this data, which is then compared to a GPS track of the route. We aim to supply an as objective as possible evaluation so that the runners may have the best information.

The UTMB’s team had started evaluating races because at the time no relevant organization could fulfill this role. When ITRA was created, it quickly became clear that it should pursue this mission. This is a way for the trail-running community to have once more a say in this essential question.

ITRA was born in July 2013 with the aim of promoting and developing trail-running at an international level by reuniting the variety of actors. This young non-profit organization today has over a hundred race organizer, association or brand members, in addition to over 500 individual athletes. Before the constitutive General Assembly (early 2015), during which the Steering Committee will be elected and the commissions and work groups already in place will be confirmed, ITRA is managed by its early members. All of these individuals participate voluntarily and without any form of compensation during their free time. This is an important personal investment, mostly in terms of time, upheld by the incredible passion these persons have for trail-running.

In this regard, it is not surprising to see that the founding members of ITRA (click here for a full list) all have a previous or another role in the trail-running community. These members have brought together their expertise and experience to build an association aiming to be representative of the diversity of the worldwide trail-running community. 

Thanks to this vast array of experiences, ITRA is in a privileged position to evaluate trail-running races from anywhere in the world. Its members are able to take into account the point of view of race organizers, runners or team managers. They are also able to apprehend the technical difficulties of measuring a race that by nature takes place in an unmonitored environment.

It is clearly stated in ITRA’s statutes (click here) that its role is not limited to the collection of members paying a fee for a service that they have no control over. Article 6 of this document states that all members will be able to witness and participate to the General Assemblies. Furthermore, race organizers will be able to elect representatives with voting right. It must also be highlighted that the different categories of members will be represented in ITRA bodies; first of all in the Steering Committee (article 7 §2) and then in the Executive Board, elected from the Steering Committee.

A problem that seems to rise above the rest is that of paying for the race evaluation service and the cost of 100€ is often stated. Actually, it is very rare that organizer pay 100€ as this is the cost of the evaluation of a race paid by organizers who refuse to become members of ITRA. For race organizers who want to become members of ITRA, and participate in a global movement of development of trail-running, the membership fee very often amounts to 50€ (the fee for race organizer members depends of the amount they have collected from runners during the previous edition of the race(s) they would like us to evaluate).

It would be unfair to consider these membership fees as unjustified as the services rendered are paramount for the development of trail-running. Thanks to ITRA, race evaluations are as quick and objective as can currently be achieved. This is a duty that requires a fulltime job all year round; if only because races take place every weekend, anywhere around the world. It is necessary to assess these races, confirm these evaluations with the results of these events and conduct a day-to-day management of ITRA. As of now, an intern is responsible for these tasks but in the future one or two fulltime employees will have to be brought on board. This simplified presentation of ITRA’s operation does not take into account the investments already made such as the development of ITRA’s IT environment; notably the brand new Health Services offered for free to any runner worldwide.

ITRA Steering Committee

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