Trail World Championships: Are the cut off times fair and achievable?

The cut off times of the World Trail Championships in Penyagolosa, Castellon, are probably the hottest topic right now among the runners and their official teams, after the technical meeting in which the organizers announced they will not be increased. 

The main pain point is that the first cut off time is in Useres, at km 31 (with about 1529 accumulated elevation), where runners have to arrive in maximum 4 hours. This time limit seems too tight for many of the athletes, especially for women.

In the technical meeting held by the organizers on Friday morning, they explained that the first cut off was increased to 4h from 3h 45min exactly for this reason. However, the 15 minutes difference doesn’t make things much easier, according to most runners and their teams.

There have been several complaints about this and most of the arguments were that the time difference between the estimated arrival time of the first runners and the cut off time is too little. For example, according to IUA, the first man is expected to arrive in Useres after about 2h 34min, and the first woman in slightly under 3h. This means that the difference between the first runner and the last one allowed to pass the cut off is just 1h 26min.

Also, this difference between the estimated arrival of the first runner and the cut off is at about 85% in the finish line, but only a bit over 50% in Useres.

The International Ultrarunning Association’s argument was that the runners who can’t make it to Useres in less than 4h will definitely not be able to finish the entire race in the 15h time limit.

The second intermediary cut off time is in Atzeneta (40.6km), after 5h 30 min, and the third is at Vistabella (62km), after 10h.


Other news

Some other details shared in the technical meeting:

  • The race will be 1 km longer because the finish is close to a natural park
  • The weather seems good so the mandatory equipment doesn’t include the fully waterproof jacket, and the runners can go with a light windstopper
  • There will be live tracking information about the runners from several points along the route, not just from the aid and control stations.


Read more details about the Romanian team running in the TWC and get the links to track them live during the race.

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