• A leading event in China, Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB will welcome runners from the 15-16 April 2023 as it celebrates its 10th anniversary • 35 events confirmed for 2023 UTMB World Series as Tarawera™ Ultramarathon by UTMB opens the season becoming New Zealand's biggest trail running event
(Chamonix, France) - UTMB World Series® has confirmed it is heading to China's East Coast in 2023, with the addition of Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB® to the global calendar. Taking place from the 15-16 April in the Zhejiang province, registration is open for Chinese residents at this link for a limited time.
Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB is the 35th event to be confirmed for the 2023 UTMB World Series, and the seventh in the Asia-Pacific region. China hosted UTMB events in 2020 with Panda Trail by UTMB, and in 2019 with Gaoligong by UTMB, but this will be the first-time runners can experience Ninghai and the trails of the Tiantai Mountain chain with UTMB.
Launched in 2013, Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB is a standard-setting, industry-leading event and one of China's most popular trail races, welcoming over 4,500 runners annually. This year, the event will celebrate its 10th edition, and runners will have the choice of racing 105km, 60km, 25km and 12km distances. They will experience a journey where culture and nature combine as they traverse through bamboo forests, up challenging Alpine peaks and across streams, with ancient temples and shrines embedded in the landscape.
Just three hours from Shanghai by train, Race Director Qianyao Xue says the event is ideally located to explore the local region. “Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB is a platform to explore the typical Chinese regions south of Yantze river, that lets trail runners enjoy the pure outdoor race spirit. By joining the UTMB World Series, we'd like bring the beautiful Ninghai to the world, as well as establish a bridge for Chinese trail runners to get to UTMB Mont-Blanc, and also improve the local race experience.”
China has one of the fastest growing trail running communities in the world, with 1,828 marathons and other long-distance races held across the country in 2019 before the pandemic hit, according to the Chinese Athletic Association.
Chinese runners and race directors welcomed the news in January that Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted on trail running events across the country, amongst them Fuzhao Xiang, one of China's top female elites who will race at Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB this year, having won the 2020 edition and placing seventh at UTMB, 2022.
“Ultra-Trail Ninghai is one of the best trail running races in China,” commented Fuzhao. “The best part is the beautiful course, very typical Zhejiang landscape, friendly villagers, volunteers, and the staff of the race. The course also includes ancient city walls, beautiful streams, and bamboo forest.”
China's top trail runners will be out in force at the event, with Fuzhao, Miao Yao, Meiling Xu and Jingyan Tang all boasting a UTMB Index above 700 in the women's category, while the men's category will welcome heavyweights Jiaju Zhao, Jiasheng Shen and Yanqiao Yun, who all have a UTMB Index above 900.
Prior to the pandemic, China was one of the top five nations represented at UTMB Mont-Blanc, and now with Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB offering qualifying Running Stones to all finishers, Chinese runners are expected to be well-represented at the 2024 UTMB World Series Finals.
An international event which has historically attracted around 20% of its runners from outside China, the 2023 edition will be open to Chinese residents only, due to ongoing Covid-related restrictions for international visitors to China. Runners who entered in 2022 will automatically have their registration transferred to this year, and so registration will be open for a limited time only until the 21 February. Details are available here.
The 2023 UTMB World Series is now well underway, with the first event of the year Tarawera™ Ultramarathon by UTMB ® welcoming over 5,000 runners in New Zealand last weekend becoming the largest trail running event ever hosted in country, and a brand-new event, Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB coming up 17-19 February in the jungle trails on the Thai-Malaysian border.