Organizers of the UTMB World Series—billed as the world’s ultimate trail-running circuit—say they have committed to supporting mothers and their partners by introducing a new pregnancy policy that will apply to UTMB World Series events in the 2023 season.
The policy (which includes deferral and priority entry guidelines for athletes who are pregnant, athletes with a partner who is pregnant and athletes who are adopting or birthing via surrogacy) encourages runners to return to the trails in a safe way and within a timeframe that is consideration of individual circumstances following birth.
For events with an entry lottery, including UTMB Mont-Blanc, Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB and Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB, the policy states women will be given a full refund and priority entry to be used within five years for races in the 50K, 100K and 100M categories, and within two years for 20K races.
For all other events, the policy allows for women who become pregnant after registration to defer their entry for up to two years for the same race, or receive a full refund.
Partners of pregnant women as well as parents who are adopting or birthing via surrogacy will have the option to defer their entry for up to two years or receive a full refund.
Organizers say the policy was created following a lengthy consultation process, which included gathering expertise from sports and medical professionals, the Pro Trail Runners Association, and athletes such as Sophie Powerwho made headlines in 2018 when a photo of her breastfeeding midway through UTMB went viral.
“I’m delighted that UTMB World Series is launching a world-leading pregnancy deferral policy that supports all women to return to racing when they are ready,” said Power, founder of SheRACES. “At SheRACES we look forward to continuing to work with UTMB World Series going forward, sharing our insights to ensure more women from all backgrounds participate in these iconic events.”
UTMB World Series organizers say the new policy comes as part of an effort to encourage more women into the sport and to build on UTMB Group’s commitment to equal opportunities. In line with the actions put in place in previous years, in 2023, male and female elite athletes will be equally represented on the start line of all three UTMB World Series Finals races at the sports pinnacle event UTMB Mont-Blanc, thanks to the new sports system, which sections elite athletes qualify through a series of events throughout the year.
UTMB World Series adds it also remains committed to equal media coverage and representation on communication platforms including UTMB Live, as well as equal prize money for male and female athletes.
UTMB is one of several prominent races—including Western States, the London Marathon and the Calgary Marathon—to have recently introduced policies aimed at supporting mothers and pregnant athletes.