In 2018, the best short-distance trail runners on the planet convened to race head-to-head at five of the most prestigious trail races on the calendar as part of the inaugural Golden Trail Series. The top 10 men and women in the season-long points standings earned a spot in the Grand Final at the Otter Trail race in South Africa, where a highly competitive battle among the sport’s best ensued.

Golden Trail Series stands out in the modern sports world respecting unique values like parity, equity, transparency and honesty. The races have been chosen to highlight the most iconic events in the sport today. The series aims to promote professional trail runners as the world-class athletes that they are, to showcase and protect the awe-inspiring nature and environments where we play and compete, and to acknowledge the amazing, passionate fans as an essential ingredient in the sport. Each of the six races in the series has been specifically selected because of the scenery, challenge, history and atmosphere that they offer to both the runners and to the public. These are the races that every runner wants to experience and some of the first written on any runner’s bucket list.



In 2019, the Golden Trail Series becomes the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) with the creation of the Golden Trail National Series (GTNS) in France and Spain. The GTWS will once again feature those five most iconic races, but with a new sixth grand race added to the list: the Dolomyths Run in the spectacular Italian Dolomites. The Grand Final will be staged in 2019 at the Annapurna Trail Marathon in Nepal, a race that reaches an altitude of 4,122 meters.

The 2019 Golden Trail World Series is likely to attract even more elite athletes than the 2018 version, with a number of the top runners returning and several rising young stars expressing interest in taking part. When the 2018 Golden Trail Series concluded in mid-October with the Grand Final at the Otter Trail in South Africa, it was Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik and New Zealand’s Ruth Croft who had earned the right to be called Golden Trail Series champions.



Along the way, there were a number of standout performances. Among them, three convincing wins at Marathon du Mont Blanc, Sierre-Zinal and Ring of Steall by Spanish trail-running star Kilian Jornet following his comeback from a broken leg. At Pikes Peak in Colorado, American Megan Kimmel broke a 37-year-old course record in winning the women’s race. And, at the Grand Final in South Africa, Polish newcomer Bartlomiej Przedwojewski and England’s Holly Page broke the men’s and women’s course records on their way to defining victories. With an influx of young talent coming onto the scene, the 2019 Golden Trail Series figures to have more outstanding performances in the sport’s biggest races.

Having six races, plus the final, will let the young generation come to the three shorter races—the 22km Dolomites Skyrace, the 32km Sierre-Zinal race and the 29km Ring of Steall—if they prefer. More mature runners may choose to focus on the three marathon-distance races. Then, when the top-10 men and women meet in the Grand Final it should make for an exciting conclusion.





The schedule for the 2019 Golden Trail World Series will include Zegama in Spain’s Basque Country, known as “The Basque Fever;” the Marathon du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France, known as “The Roller Coaster;” Dolomyths Run, known as “The Couloir Of Hell;” Sierre-Zinal in the Swiss Alps known as “The Fast and Furious;” Pikes Peak in Colorado, known as “The Impossible Record;” and the Ring of Steall Skyrace in the Scottish Highlands, known as “The Scottish Vertigo.”


Also worth noting is that the Pikes Peak Marathon will be held on the weekend of August 24-25, one week later than normal. For the elite participants of the Golden Trail Series, this will make it easier to participate in both Sierre-Zinal and Pikes Peak, which were held only seven days apart in previous years.



The elites will need to participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a  trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final in Nepal. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final.

The inaugural season of the Golden Trail Series was a huge success, with many of the sport’s top runners participating in the races. That brought the level of competition to new heights. In 2019, the GTWS hopes to spread the sport to a larger audience, which will benefit those closest to it—the athletes, media, brands and the trail running community as a whole.