Frequently Asked Questions

Consult our extensive list of Q&A’s

Photo Credit: Smarna Gora


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the World Mountain Running Association?

The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) is responsible for the organisation of off road World Championship races, under 18 races, masters World Championships and a World Cup series for athletes over varied distances but always in elevated terrain.  

It has been governing the sport since 1984 when it was first formed (initially called ICMR). 

What is the World Mountain Running Ranking?

The World Ranking is a transparent and easy to understand classification system providing athletes, race organisers, sponsors and any interested off road running fan information about who are the best mountain runners at any time. 

Every runner who competes in a ranking race gains a rank.  It’s a free service for runners and and races are not charged to be included in the ranking. It is an easy way to compare performances and results and see the best Mountain runners and the best races!

The points weighting is very simple and rewards the mountain races of high quality with a category weighting. WMRA publishes the points and race classifications to give a clear and simple understanding about the ranking without complicated and hard to interpret formulas. See the Calculations page to understand the points system.

The current World Ranking is a rolling 365 day ranking of an athletes results over the past year. This makes it easy to see who are the best runners that have the best recent results. A best ranking within the past year is shown for every athlete as well as a best ever life time ranking.

An historical calendar rank for each athlete will also be provided where it is possible to see an athletes highest ranking over a calendar year (1 January – 31 December).

A powerful search feature allows you to find any result of a ranking race, athlete, country or year.

The races currently used to form the World Ranking for Mountain Running can be found in the Race Directory.

A ranking for Mountain Races run by the World Mountain Running Association will give the confidence that it represents the core values of Mountain Running and the Athletes, races and fans that participate.

What is a mountain race?

For the purpose of the World Ranking the sport of  Mountain Running can be defined as:  

Mountain running is a discipline recognised by World Athletics where a mountain race will usually be held mostly on trails and involves significant amounts of elevation change (50 metres / km minimum)  over a distance that is usually up to 42.2km.’

What is mountain running?
Mountain running is a discipline recognized by World Athletics that is held mostly on trails and involves significant amounts of elevation changes (gain or loss). Mountain races, with the exception of some races that are held on a paved surface, which is acceptable when there are large elevation changes on the course, usually take place on natural terrain, in various kinds of environments, and are traditionally divided into “uphill” and “up and down” races. The definition of mountain running overlaps with that of trail running in most cases, however, there are a few important differences to highlight for mountain races:
– Mountain races are a distance is up to 42.2km in most cases
– Mountain races have a minimum elevation gain of 50m/km on average
– At mountain races runners are usually not required to carry any kind of equipment regarding food, drinks or clothing
–  At mountain races using walking / ski poles are not allowed
What does a rolling ranking mean?

Rolling ranking means that for every new day the days points from 1 year before will ‘roll’ off and be cancelled.  So the points are updated automatically live every day and roll on continuously.

How is the current ranking calculated?

On any day you look at the ‘Current World Ranking’ it calculates the points for any athlete from the current day to 364 days in the past.  A race that happened 365 days ago will no longer be considered in the Current World Ranking calculation.  This means that athletes with top rankings are the ones that are the best at the time you look at the ranking classification.

What is the difference between the Current World Ranking / Best Ranking (past 12 months) / Best Lifetime Ranking

Current World Ranking = Your rolling 365 day ranking based on taking all the results during the past year.  This number will go up and down based on results compared to other runners.

Best Ranking (past 12 months) = The best rank achieved during the past 365 days. So it will show your top ranking during the past 1 year and change on the day when you that top ranking was reached is 365 old.

Best Lifetime Ranking = Best ever World Mountain Running ranking achieved.

Calendar Year Ranking = For every year the athletes rank based on 1 January to 31 December is calculated and shown under each of those years.

What is the difference between the Current Ranking and Calendar Year Ranking?

The Current World Ranking takes into account the past 365 days from today’s date.  

The Calendar Year Ranking runs from 1 January – 31 December in any year and is calculated on 31 December of every year.  It is the total number of points an athlete has accumulated over that period of time ranked against all other athletes.

During the current year your calendar year ranking will not show points until the year has finished on 31 December.  

You can look back to a year in the past to see the top ranked athletes during each calendar year giving an  historical record of Calendar Year Rankings of who were the best mountain running athletes for each preceding year.

How can I upload a picture or my social media links to my athlete profile page?

Please use the form on the Contact Us page for uploading your profile photo and social media links. Select ‘Athlete’ from the reason for contact drop down menu.

Please read the Privacy Page for terms of use when supplying photos or links. 

What if I see an error in the ranking?

Please use the Contact Us page to inform the ranking secretary.  Select ‘Disputes’ from the reason for contact drop down menu.

What is the ranking used for and why?

To show with a transparent system of simple points weighting who are the top athletes specific to the best mountain races in the World.  This provides:

  1. National federations with a clear performance index and classification for team selections
  2. Sponsors to assess athletes performances.
  3. Highlighting the best mountain running races specific to the sport of Mountain Running.
  4. Athletes to present their performances with an easy to understand system.
  5. An historical record of top ranked athletes
  6. Complete race results history in one convenient location.
How often is it updated?

New races are added to the database as soon as results are available and the ranking updates live automatically.

Why do i have points that are less than whole numbers?

Every result that a runner makes gains a value so every runner will have a unique World Ranking even if they do not feature in the higher positions that gain whole number points.

What happens if a runner has a positive anti doping violation? Or is disqualified from the sport?

During the suspended period points will be cancelled for that athlete.  This includes suspensions that determine an athletes results are to be retroactively excluded.  

When they are permitted to return to the sport they will be able to gain ranking points again.

If an athlete is suspended but competes in races outside a sanctioned race series that is still included in the ranking then the WMRA will exclude also those race points.  Please use the Contact Us form for any disputes.  

How can I look at past years and historical rankings for any athlete?

Every athlete has a profile page and you can view their race results from each year by clicking on the year (eg: 2019) to see their list of races run and results.  This will also show the athletes best calendar year rank of that year (1 January – 31 December for each year).

Their historical rankings are shown as Best Lifetime Ranking.

How can I advertise here on the WMRA World Ranking for Mountain Running site?

Please use the Contact Us form and select ‘Advertising’ from the reason for contact drop down menu.

I am a race organiser, how can i get my race added the to World Ranking for Mountain Running?

Please use the Contact Us page to email the ranking secretary and include your website address and details about the race distance(s) and elevation(s) + links to the past 3 years of senior runner race results (women and men) from your race.  

The ranking secretary / ranking council is responsible for selecting suitable race candidates.

Thanks for your interest!

What are the races that are included in the ranking?

See the Race Directory page for the full list of races from each year.  Or you can use the Search engine to find specific races / races in a country. 

I am a race organiser. How much does it cost to have my race included in the WMRA World Ranking?

The WMRA want to have the top mountain races in the ranking and without any bias of favouritism that could come from payment.  This goes together with the philosophy of the points weighting based on Championship status of the event or elite level.  Therefore the ranking is free for races to enter but will be selected based on quality by the ranking secretary. See Transparency for further details. 

Please use the Contact Us form for enquiries.  

How are races selected for the World Mountain Running Ranking?

The WMRA ranking secretary / ranking council will use the following parameters for including races that are specific to the Mountain Running discipline:

  1. National/Area/World Mountain Championships are included.
  2. The Mountain Running World Cup.
  3. Other global series mountain races that fit with the criteria below.
  4. Other associated mountain races that fit with the criteria below.

Criteria for selecting other races (items 3 and 4) are that it respects the philosophy of the sport of mountain running and so details such as the terrain, race distance, elevation gain/loss, number of participants, quality of the top runners will be considered.

For the purpose of the World Ranking the sport of  Mountain Running can be defined as:  ‘Mountain running is a discipline recognised by World Athletics and a mountain race is usually held mostly on trails and involves significant amounts of elevation change over a distance that is usually up to 42.2km.’

See Series and Categories to see the way points are weighted.

What happens if I am away from the sport for a long time, do I lose all my ranking points?

If you are away from the sport for a long time your Current Ranking will go down but your athlete profile page shows your best ever lifetime ranking as well as your best ranking during the past 12 months.  

With more races and results your ranking will go up.

Is a mountain race always a trail race and a trail race always a mountain race?
In most cases it is BUT not always! There are a few notable exceptions where a trail race would not be considered a mountain race and vice versa.
Usually (with some exceptions) mountain races are distances up to and including the marathon (42.2km) and will always have significant elevation changes included.  Shorter races without significant elevation change will be trail races.    
Examples of mountain races that are not considered trail races: Mount Washington Road Race / Bormio-Stelvio because they are raced on the road and do have a significant elevation change.
Some examples of mountain races that are also trail races: Sierre-Zinal / Pikes Peak Marathon.
Examples of trail races that would not be considered mountain races because the elevation changes per kilometre are less than we would include are: Western States 100miles / JFK 50miler and the distances are much longer than a marathon.
What is the difference between trail and mountain running?
The governing body of World Athletics recognizes one discipline called Mountain and Trail Running.
Traditionally, mountain running involves significant elevation changes and is held over distances up to the marathon distance or 42.2km. It can also be performed on paved roads when the course involves a significant elevation gain. Trail running is held mostly on trails (the sections of paved surface are limited to a maximum of 25% of the total course) without limits over the distance or elevation change.
For those interested in learning more about the definition of trail and mountain running and their technical details, please see World Athletics Competitions Page and Rule 251 (link)

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