The Golden Trail Series is a series of races with different formats, designed to celebrate and grow trail running. The series has events across the globe, all with the same goals, including supporting athletes in their quest to become professionals and making trail running a must-see event on TV.
In the last 15 or 20 years, the popularity of trail running has increased exponentially. As there was no crossover between all the smaller race circuits around the world, it became increasingly difficult to track and compare top athletes, because they very often never competed in the same races, or even on the same continent.
In 2018, the Golden Trail World Series was launched to offset this problem, and to ensure the best runners from around the world could compete against each other, on some of the most scenic and tough trails across the globe. All the races are between 21 and 42 kilometres, making them accessible to all runners, not just extreme ultra-runners.
As the series has grown, so too have their partners. Salomon has been a sponsor since the beginning, and in 2022 Suunto, Sidas, and Tailwind were all added as additional sponsors.
The format of the series takes runners all over the world, competing in some of the most beautiful and challenging terrains the organizers could find. The 2022 qualifying races were held in Spain, France, Norway, and Switzerland and two races in the United States of America.
The Grand Final race is a 5-day stage race, held on the Island of Madeira, Portugal.
To be invited to the final race, runners accumulate points from races in the series. The top 30 finishers of each qualifying race receive points. 1st place gets 100 points, down to 4 points for 30th. The top 30 runners after the 6 qualifying races get invited to the race. If a runner wants to go but didn’t reach the top 30, he or she can enter the open category (at their own expense).
In the event of a tie, the tie-breaker system involves using the runners’ best finishing places.
The prizes offered in the Golden Trail Series are quite substantial, with a total of over €300,000 offered throughout the entire series. Winners of any of the qualifying races receive €3,000, and 2nd to 10th also receive prizes of €1,500 to €200.
The winners of the Golden Trail World Series will receive €15,000, as well as prizes of €10,000 to €1,000 for the 2nd to 10th place finishers, both in the men’s and women’s categories.
The Final Race – 5-Day Stage Event
The final event is set up with a points system very similar to how the series is set up. Finishers from 1st to 30th will receive points, and the winner will be the runners (male and female) with the most cumulative points, including the results of their best 3 qualifier races. This ensures that the winner will be someone who has competed in as many races as possible.
There are also daily stage awards handed out for:
- Stage Winner
- Stage Best Climber
- Stage Best Downhiller
- Stage Best Sprinter
1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers will also receive a golden ticket into the 2023 race series.
The National Series is a larger set of events, taking place in even more countries across the globe. This allows more runners to experience the Golden Trail Series, without having to enter one of the World Series races.
Each national series is designed to highlight the country’s best races and best runners. Each series consists of 2 to 5 races, followed by a national finale, culminating in a Golden Trail National Series Grand Final, featuring the best runners of the whole National Series.
The top 3 men and women of the Grand Final are invited to participate in 3 of the international races of the Golden Trail World Series the following year.