UTMB® for the Planet: A great success for the first edition!

September 4, 2020

UTMB® for the Planet, the digital and unifying initiative launched after the cancellation of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, has come to a close. From July 20 to August 30, UTMB® for the Planet provided the global community of trail runners with an innovative way to interact remotely and to take on new challenges in the absence of an event. The initiative, which was supported by WWF France, has been hailed a great success with runners from all over the world coming together to take part in the 4 Virtual Races and a dozen Partner Challenges, with 17,385 participations from no less than 106 countries.

Through UTMB® for the Planet, the runners and the organisation have also come together to protect our planet by supporting WWF France. Thanks to the combined efforts of the runners and UTMB® Group pledging to triple the donations made by participants, together they have raised 45,000 Euros.

In addition to the option to make a donation to WWF France, the runners also made a commitment to preserve the environment when participating in the UTMB® for the Planet Virtual Races by adhering to a charter of good conduct.
Incredibly, despite the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, an additional 50,000 Euros had been raised for WWF France by runners who had planned to participate in the race. In total, therefore, nearly 100,000 Euros will be donated to WWF France in 2020 thanks to the generosity of the runners and the involvement of UTMB® Group. The funds collected will mainly be used to finance two WWF France programs; namely the Alpine ecosystem preservation program and the Lynx Boréal preservation program. UTMB® for the Planet was a natural extension of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc and WWF France partnership which has been in place since 2019, and together they share the common objective of reconciling trail running activities with the environmental challenges of the territories.

Among the 17,385 participations in UTMB® for the Planet were many elites including Pau Capell (ES), Gabriel Rueda (AR), Lou Clifton (AS), Ludovic Pommeret (FR), Kaori Niwa (JP) and Shen Jiasheng (CH). In total, 69,552 activities have been recorded across the world, amounting to 818,284km run – equivalent to 20 times around the earth – and 23,297,873 meters of positive elevation – or 4,843 times the ascent of Mont-Blanc.

Catherine Poletti, President of UTMB® Group, commented: “With this new digital platform, ‘UTMB® for the Planet’ which has been specially adapted to our discipline, we offered a new way of interacting with our community. With the cancellation of the event on site, we were keen to offer a digital and united alternative that responds to current challenges
Digital has enabled each runner to participate remotely, directly from home, while remaining connected to the global trail community and respecting the restrictions related to Covid. It is also a solution to allow everyone to set a goal and continue to practice our sport, wherever they are.
“As for the solidarity aspect of the Virtual Races, it is an extension of our eco-responsible actions that we have undertaken for several years on the event. We are pleased that several partners got involved by providing new challenges for the participants each week. Of course, we will now maintain this tool at a Group level as it clearly meets the expectations of our runners and us as organisers,
” Poletti concluded.

Key info

  • 106 nationalities represented
    17,385 participations including 77% from outside of France
    Top 10 nationalities:
    France 1,973 (22.94%)
    Malaysia 598 (6.95%)
    United Kingdom 393 (4.57%)
    Spain 380 (4.42%)
    Brazil 338 (3.93%)
    Iran 312 (3.63%)
    Japan 263 (3.06%)
    Colombia 253 (2.94%)
    Italy 218 (2.54%)
    Indonesia 212 (2.47%)
    Note: The presence of Malaysia, Brazil, Iran, Colombia and Indonesia in the 10 best represented nationalities for the first time.
  • 53% new fans
    The majority of UTMB® for the Planet participants were new to the UTMB® community, with 4,567 runners recently joining.
  • 18% female
    Normally, 15% of the participants across UTMB® Mont-Blanc races are women. Through UTMB® for the Planet that has increased to 18%, with 3,175 female participations in all of the Virtual Races and Partner Challenges.
  • 2 challenges per participant
    On average, the runners have completed 2 Challenges / Virtual Races during their participation in UTMB® for the Planet. The average run corresponded to an activity of 11.8km and 335m +, reflecting the accessibility of UTMB® for the Planet which the Group set out to achieve.

Watch the UTMB® for the Planet movie here

© UTMB® Group – Visualiser l’infographie UTMB® for the Planet ici

UTMB® for the Planet

A digital and united initiative, UTMB® for the Planet allowed runners to participate in a virtual UTMB® by recording their activities from wherever they are on the planet. In addition to the Virtual Races, runners could also enter several exclusive Challenges which have been supported by partners of UTMB®.

The digital platform integrated a real time ranking that was live from July 20th to August 30th. In order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to participate and experience the joys of trail running, participants were able to complete their chosen distance over several runs or in one go. The classification also took into account the kilometre-effort.

Participation in the UTMB® for the Planet Virtual Races was free, but runners were given the opportunity to make a donation to WWF France. When a Virtual Race was completed, participants unlocked an exclusive Finisher badge. Runners who chose to support WWF France also received an exclusive virtual bib.