Skip to Content
1st November 2023

UTMB Group introduces new Adaptive Athlete Policy

UTMB Group reinforces diversity, equity and inclusion commitments with new Adaptive Athlete Policy allowing better access to UTMB World Series races

Policy to build on key initiatives already in place through UTMB Group’s regeneration roadmap, UTMB for the Planet

Guide runners a key factor in supporting adaptive athletes in reaching their trail running goals

New dedicated pathway to UTMB World Series Finals for adaptive athletes

Adaptive athletes prepare for TransLantau by UTMB and Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB

UTMB Group has confirmed the introduction of a new Adaptive Athlete Policy as part of their longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in trail running as outlined in the UTMB for the Planet regeneration strategy. Aimed at both facilitating participation and providing practical support for adaptive athletes, the policy will come into play immediately across all UTMB® World Series events around the globe. View the policy here.

Created following a lengthy consultation process, which included numerous focus groups with adaptive athletes from across different sports, eligible athletes will be able to apply to the newly created Adapted Athlete Open, to ensure they receive additional support before and during their races.

Amongst those involved in the process was Amy Winters, a below-knee amputee and professional athlete, who currently holds 13 world records across various running and endurance events. She is a finisher of the Western States™ 100 Endurance Run and earlier this year took part in the UTMB® 100M race at the Dacia UTMB® Mont-Blanc.

Speaking on the policy, Amy said: “UTMB is committed to inspiring others to be their best and strive towards a bigger goal. The creation/implementation of this policy by UTMB is an important ‘grass roots’ step that will evolve into something better, creating more opportunities for those who think the trails and trail running is something they cannot do. UTMB has such a huge presence in the ultra and trail running world that hopefully other race organizations will do the same. However, in doing so, the rules in place must be followed, and the safety and integrity of the race itself must be maintained. This is a large undertaking and I’m proud of UTMB for stepping up to do so.”

The Adaptive Athlete Policy details eligibility criteria that includes athletes with varying levels of permanent visual impairments, intellectual disability or physical or neurological movement impairment. The full list of eligibility criteria is available here.

Each adaptative athlete will have the choice to run with a chosen guide runner, who will be given a free bib. And while adaptive athletes must be able to physically complete the course themselves, guide runners will accompany them on all or parts of the race to support them in safely achieving their goals.

A dedicated pathway to the UTMB World Series Finals

To enable a greater number of adaptive athletes to earn their place and showcase their achievements in the UTMB World Series Finals races, including the UTMB (100M), CCC® (100K), and OCC (50K), a dedicated pathway has also been introduced.

A number of places will be reserved for adaptive athletes on the start line. To be eligible, all athletes are required to meet the standard race requirements, including having a valid UTMB Index, and at least 1 Running Stone, which can be obtained through finishing a UTMB World Series race. Adaptive athletes who wish to participate in these races must pre-register through the Dacia UTMB Mont-Blanc website.

UTMB for the Planet - showcasing a regenerative economy, for the environment and for the people

Earlier this year, UTMB Group launched UTMB for the Planet, a regeneration roadmap that aims to unite trail running communities to contribute to the well-being of people as well as the regeneration of the planet. The roadmap is built on three pillars, environment, territory and people.

In line with UTMB for the Planets actions and beyond the Adaptive Athlete Policy, other initiatives will be implemented at UTMB World Series events for adaptive athletes, including seating at aid stations, increasing awareness among event volunteers, and better representation on media platforms to showcase individual achievements. These form part of the 40 key initiatives that UTMB Group are committed to implementing across all UTMB World Series events. Find out more in the UTMB for the Planet report, here.

In April 2023, UTMB Group also announced its Pregnancy Policy, accommodating families who wish to have children. Other inclusion policies are also in progress addressing issues around gender and financial barriers.

Chloé Léger, Regeneration Manager at UTMB Group said: “The aim of the adaptive athlete policy is to make our events more accessible, by removing many of the barriers we identified during the consultation process, and providing the support needed for adaptative athletes to compete and experience the joy of trail running, most notably guide runners. One of the goals of UTMB for the Planet is to redefine trail running as a sport for all. The adaptive athlete policy is another step towards that by providing focusing on inclusion and equal access for all athletes.”

Adaptive athletes prepare for TransLantau by UTMB and Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB

At the upcoming TransLantau by UTMB® (Hong Kong, 10-12 November) and Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB® (8-10 December), Hong Kong’s Fearless Dragon Running Club, which supports the integration of adaptive athletes in road and trail running, will take the start.

The club, which welcomes both able-bodied and disabled athletes, is known for its pioneering technique of partnering blind runners with deaf guides. 3 members of the club will take part in TransLantau by UTMB, including 1 athlete with a hearing impairment, 1 with a visual impairment plus a guide runner. And at Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB, 13 adaptive athletes, including 6 blind and 7 deaf runners, will line up alongside 7 guide runners. Taking part in the 20K race, many of these athletes are aiming to participate in OCC race at the UTMB World Series Finals next year.

Mok Kim Wing, Founder of the Fearless Dragon Running Club, said: “Adaptive athletes cannot reach mountain tops or their trail dreams because of the lack of opportunities, not because of their abilities. And so, I am happy to see that UTMB has launched a policy on adaptive athletes to encourage more people with a disability to participate in trail running. I welcome this policy. UTMB never gives up for those never giving up and supports adaptive athletes to achieve mission impossible.”

View the full Adaptive Athlete Policy here.

TRAIL : Dacia X UTMB® World Series
Orientation & watches Wahoo - Trail running