Insight UpdateNews

Trail100 Andorra by UTMB launches the Women Step Up

Trail100 Andorra by UTMB launched last March, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the WOMEN STEP UP program, an initiative that wants to give voice to women trailrunners, accompany and empower them to inspire future generations. 

Throughout the remaining season and until the Trail100 Andorra by UTMB race in 2025, the program will bring together participating female athletes from all over the world to share their experiences within trail running. The purpose is to promote women’s sport in all its versions, both in practice and participation in competitive events. Women Step Up will be divided into two large phases that will have a double objective: on the one hand, to give the athletes a voice to explain their story and their concerns and, on the other, to accompany them during the training process for the race day with help of professionals of the sector. The Trail100 Andorra by UTMB team states that “we have a responsibility to change the way women are represented, not only in sport, but also in life”. 

PHASE 1: The first phase of this Women Step Up aims to listen to and understand women trailrunners through Focus Groups and was launched in March. The purpose of each meeting is to meet those female athletes that will be participating in Trail100 Andorra by UTMB, both for the 2024 and 2025 editions. 

The first Focus Group took place on Monday, March 18, where the athletes who this year are participating in the Trail100 Andorra by UTMB, from June 14 to 16, had the opportunity to meet part of the team that is behind the project, as well as professionals in the sector and personal trainers like Anna Comet. The big topics of debate dealt with individual milestones when running in the mountains, especially how athletes should manage the barriers that society imposes on them. 

Sandra Blas, amateur trail runner and geologist by profession, claimed that “sometimes it is difficult to reconcile the mother life with the training that I plan to do, especially if women around look badly at me if I leave my son with the babysitter because I have to do a trail session”. Other taboo topics were put on the table, in this case focused mainly on hormonal health and sports practice. One of them, Judit Guix, a club trail runner and gynecologist, stated that “it is still difficult for us, among women who run, to talk about why sometimes our menstrual cycle is altered when we put our body to the maximum”.  

Although there are still many standards associated with the practice of trail running, programs like this one bring us closer and closer to gender equality in socio-sporting contexts in which it often goes unnoticed. According to Anna Comet in this first meeting, “twenty years ago it was very difficult to find professional colleagues at the starting line of the races I went to, there were very few of us”. Now we can affirm that women’s trail running is becoming higher every day, but there are still some standards that do not allow us to advance for the simple fact of feeling insecure when it comes to going running alone or having to prioritize motherhood over an important training 

PHASE 2: The second phase of the program seeks to help and empower women who want to participate in any of the editions of Trail100 Andorra by UTMB starting in September 2024. In this part, the team will work hand in hand with professionals from the sector to guide the athletes and accompany them when it comes to setting new horizons and, most importantly, achieving them. 

Women participation in Trail100 Andorra by UTMB 

Mountain races commonly known as trail running have seen a fairly notable increase in athletes lately. An increase in athletes that has also been positively reflected in female participation. According to data from Trail100 Andorra by UTMB, in 2022 the total number of women registered was 21%. In the Trail10K, they represented the majority of those registered with 62%; 32% ran the Trail 20K, 14% the Trail 50K and, finally, 10% opted for the longest distance, the Ultra 105K. Data that confirms the increase in female participation and demonstrates in most cases that any distance is suitable for any type of athlete. 

All these figures highlight the progression of women’s sport in terms of participation, but there is still a long way to go if we want to achieve gender equality on the starting lines of mountain races. We refer to data that identifies fundamental issues such as problems of insecurity when running in the mountain alone or the great debate on family conciliation, especially in cases in which the female athlete is a mother. A whole series of topics that the organization hopes to address soon. 

Women Step Up can only indicate one thing: we are on the right path, but we must continue to raise standards so that races are equally accessible to everyone in the world. You can follow the program through Trail100 Andora by UTMB social networks, where they will publish the next steps. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button