Masters Mountain Running Competitions
In our next athlete article Kasie Enman gives us the lowdown on Masters mountain running championships, and how they can inspire runners in various age groups.
While the spotlight often shines brightest on the top podium at championship mountain and trail events, there are quite a few additional opportunities for competitions within the competition. Masters championships, age group prize categories, and friendly rivalries with those in a similar stage of life as yourself can be fun and motivating. I am just starting to learn what masters age group competition is all about, and thought I would share some of what I found. Please add your own recommendations in the comments!
Simon Gutierrez, comparing the experience between competing in the open and masters Mountain Running World Championships: “I was fortunate to be able to attend both Championships and was always in awe with the comradeship, encouragement and will of the athletes. Age is not a limiting factor, as far as being able to enjoy the sport of Mountain running.”
A “Masters” athlete is defined as 35+ years at the World Mountain Championship, or 40+ years at some regional competitions, including my home country, the US. Categories are often split into 5 year increments so your 45th, 50th, 55th and so on, so a birthday becomes a reason to celebrate gaining a new advantage as the youngest in your age group! My experience so far has been that masters competition is very welcoming while still providing a high level of competition. The biggest limitations may be a lack of funding for races requiring international travel and an overall shortage of mountain and trail races that make a point to recognize the upper age groups.
Dave Dunham: “I love that the championships are run in five year age groups. It is so much fun to compete head to head with my peers. Although we’ve all grown older the competitive fires still burn fiercely. We may not be as fast as our halcyon days but still enjoy getting out there and testing our limits.”
Masters Competition Resources
This annual event features different start times for each 5 year age category, making for some exciting head to head competition. This event also features team competitions, with the top 3 for each nation scoring points - a motivating element and chance to represent your country.
Awards top 3 in 5 year age groups for 40 and beyond. Multiple race opportunities across multiple disciplines throughout the year. The masters competitions are usually held in combination with the open competition, with everyone wearing their age on a back bib number so you know who to target.
Oversees the biannual European Masters Mountain Running Championship; the European Master Mountain Running, Trail Running, Nordic Walking (EMMTRC) Championship; and the European Masters Off Road Championships.
Comprehensive site for global masters competition.
Photos credit Dave Dunham from the 2014 World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Telfes.