• Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui wins the men's marathon athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships London 2017

Mountain Running

How it works

The philosophy of mountain running, is based on the time factor, how to reach the finish taking the defined way as fast as possible. Mountain races take place over an infinite variety of distance, ascent, descent and terrain. Distances range from short 15-minute sprints to long several hour treks, and there are courses that suit every ability and age group, and are designed to eliminate danger. Equipment is not allowed, so back bags, sticks, ropes, compass or similar equipment are not allowed. IAAF rule 250.10 defines the distances and heights for men, women, and juniors for both uphill only and uphill/downhill courses.


Mountain running is a worldwide sport and a discipline of Athletics. The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) was born in 1984 as the International Committee of Mountain Running (ICMR). In 1985, it first staged ‘the World Trophy’, attracting entries from more than 30 countries. In 2002, the IAAF Congress officially recognised it as an International Competition as defined by IAAF Rule 1 and in 2009 the name was changed to the Mountain Running World Championships, with nowadays more than 40 nations taking part. Four Mountain Running Area Continental Championships (Africa, Europe, North America, South America) are held every year, plus Commonwealth Championships and Balkan Championships. WMRA annually stages a Long Distance Challenge, a Youth International Cup and a Grand Prix, while a World Masters Mountain Running Championships is organised together with the WMA.

Did you know

Many races in the Alpine region take place in ski resorts where there are high-level facilities and ski lifts for transport down. Here the races start in the resort and finish at a high level – called ‘uphill only’ races. In many other regions interest in mountain running centres on the mountain village or town where the race starts and finishes, usually there are no high level facilities – these are referred to as ‘uphill/downhill’ races. There are also races that have considerable descent but finish at a high level – a mixture of both of the above courses.

Gold standard

Jonathan Wyatt won six World Championship individual titles: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and one silver medal (2006). All the races were uphill races except 2005 in Wellington when he won an up and down race, on home soil. He won also one silver medal (2005) and two bronze medals (1999 and 2000) as member of New Zealand team. In total, he won 9 medals: 6 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze. Wyatt also won the Grand Prix series and the Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge.