*  Authenticity

Authenticity is the first trail-running value. At its origins, trail-running was born from the runners’ motivation to practise their sport in contact with natural surroundings, so as to experience the beauty of the landscape and to learn to evolve without artifice in an environment that is demanding for both body and spirit. Trail-running is an authentic sport, because it creates a confrontation between the participant and the unspoilt natural environment as a source of inspiration, surpassing oneself, but also one of harmony.

As a social activity, trail running promotes human relationships based on simplicity, conviviality, sharing and respect for differences. The trail-running community gives these authentic values as much importance as those of performance and competition.

Discover trail-running

 

Do you want to explore your abilities in the great outdoors? Trail running is a sport that takes place amid nature, and with respect for the environment, a sense of humility, shared community and a strong sense of sports ethics. Trail running benefits from a definition that’s shared internationally by all participants.

Trail Racing: An off-road experience

A trail race is a pedestrian competition open to everyone, which takes place in a natural environment, with the minimum possible of paved roads (20% maximum). The course can range from a few kilometers for short distances all the way to 80 kilometers and beyond for ultra-trail races. 


Mountains or forests, countryside or desert, this endurance race takes place on naturally variable terrain, including very often significant climbs and descents, which result in elevation gain and loss between the start and finish line. The distance isn’t the only thing that matters! Together, the unique features of the terrain and the relationship between distance and elevation changes all work together to create the overall level of difficulty for a given race.

This sport, which became popular in the mid-1990s, has been recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a track and field sport.

Listening to oneself and one's environment

Born of the pleasure of running amid nature, trail running is above all a communion with our environment. The runner, liberated from the trappings of our modern world,  practices his or her sport amid a demanding environment for both mind and body. As a physical and mental challenge, trail running encourages each of us to explore our capabilities with an abiding sense of humility, in contact with both wild and fragile spaces. While trail running, we pay attention to our senses, without just focusing on performance. In these moments, we can also work develop our physical and mental abilities. In the end, what ultimately drives us as runners, after all, is to simply to cross the finish line. 

Authenticity, humility, fair play, equality, respect and teamwork make trail running a sport with a strong sense of shared values that form the basis of ITRA’s charter.

 

7 trail racing categories 

When it comes to trail racing, there is something for everyone! For the purposes of ITRA, trail races are categorized according to their level of difficulty. This ranking considers the distance covered and the elevation gain. It operates based of a metric called “km-effort” for a given race. The km-effort is calculated by adding the distance (in kilometers) and the hundredth of the positive elevation gain (in meters). 

There are 7 categories of trail running races, from XXS to XXL races. Each race category corresponds to a number of km-effort and a number of ITRA points. The following classification is used to categorize the effort involved:

Catégory ITRA Points Km-effort Approximate time of the winner (*)
XXS 0 0-24 1h
XS 1 25-44 1h30-2h30
S 2 45-74 2h30-5h
M 3 75-114 5h-8h
L 4 115-154 8h-12h
XL 5 155-209 12h-17h
XXL 6 >=210 17h

(*) Approximate time of a winner with an ITRA Performance Index of at least 830. Time given as an indication to assess the difficulty of the race category.