Salomon is set to kick off its Golden Trail Series – a new trail running race series concept commencing May 2018.
The series will combine five of the most iconic short-distance trail races on the planet into a dream tour for both athletes and fans. The prize pool of over $100,000 will be shared equally among the overall top 10 men and women at a lavish Grand Final. Each of the top 10 will travel with a friend or partner of their choice for a trip of a lifetime. The Grand Final will also act as a stage for the twenty athletes to support a cause they are passionate about.
After the final race of the series (the Ring of Steall in Scotland), an overall ranking will define the top 10 men and women based on their three best results in the five races. Those top 10 will be invited to the Grand Final where the men’s and women’s Golden Trail champions will be decided. Athletes do not need to run all five races to qualify for the Grand Final.
“Each of the top 10 final athletes will be able to compete in the Grand Final race for a charitable cause they choose to support,” said Greg Vollet, Salomon Running global sports marketing manager. “This allows each athlete to have a voice in the trail running community. For the five qualifying races, the competition will be intense and at the highest level as the athletes compete for a top-10 spot. We want the Grand Final to be different, giving the athletes a chance to support a cause that means something to them.”
2018 Golden Trail Series Races will consist of the following events:
- Zegama – Spain
- Mont Blanc Marathon – France
- Sierre-Zinal – Switzerland
- Pikes Peak – U.S.
- Ring of Steall – Scotland
- Grand Final – Otter Trail – South Africa
“We chose the Golden Trail Series races because they are the most exciting races to follow where the winners aren’t decided until the very end,” Vollet said. “It will be five legendary races full of adventure, emotion and competition, each celebrating a key component of the spirit of trail running. Zegama has the best fans, Mont Blanc Marathon has the best scenery, Sierre-Zinal is the fastest, Pikes Peak has the altitude and Ring of Steall is very technical. So this is the best of the best.”
Beyond the Golden Trail Series concept and prize money model, the series will also adopt a groundbreaking athlete health and anti-doping program. Each of the races in the series will implement the QUARTZ Event program – athletesfortransparency.org – which aims to strengthen the athlete’s medical supervision before and during the competition.
“If, on one hand, we offer a big prize money, we want to make sure to have honest athletes competing for the love of trail running,” Vollet said. “The strictest anti-doping in world sport will be experienced at all the events. Blood, capillary, saliva and urine will all will be tested and compared at all the races as a real longitudinal control for the top-10 athletes. To make it even more stringent we will not accept any corticoid TUE for any of our races.”
The series format was created to promote professional trail runners as the world-class athletes that they are, to acknowledge the fans as an essential ingredient in the sport and to showcase and protect awe-inspiring nature and environments.
Lead photo by Jordi Saragossa; photo and video courtesy Salomon