Born in July 2013, the ITRA (International Trail Running Association) aims to give a voice to parties involved in trail running in order to promote its strong values, its diversity, the safety of races and the health of runners, as well as to further the development of trail running and ensure a constructive dialogue between the national and international bodies with an interest in the sport.

Discover Trail Running

Do you want to explore your abilities in the great outdoors? Trail running is a sport that takes place amid nature, and with respect for the environment, a sense of humility, shared community, and a strong sense of sports ethics. Trail running benefits from a definition that is shared internationally by all participants.

Trail Racing: An off-road experience

A trail race is a pedestrian competition open to everyone, which takes place in a natural environment, with the minimum possible of paved roads (20% maximum). The course can range from a few kilometers for short distances all the way to 80 kilometers and beyond for ultra-trail races. 

Mountains or forests, countryside or desert, this endurance race takes place on naturally variable terrain, including very often significant climbs and descents, which result in elevation gain and loss between the start and finish line. The distance isn’t the only thing that matters! Together, the unique features of the terrain and the relationship between distance and elevation changes all work together to create the overall level of difficulty for a given race.

This sport, which became popular in the mid-1990s, has been recognized by as an official athletics discipline by the World Athletics and ITRA has been nominated World Athletics technical partner for the development of Trail Running. Discover more here

Listening to oneself and one's environment

Born of the pleasure of running amid nature, trail running is above all a communion with our environment. The runner, liberated from the trappings of our modern world, practices his or her sport amid a demanding environment for both mind and body. As a physical and mental challenge, trail running encourages each of us to explore our capabilities with an abiding sense of humility, in contact with both wild and fragile spaces. While trail running, we pay attention to our senses, without just focusing on performance. In these moments, we can also work develop our physical and mental abilities. In the end, what ultimately drives us as runners, after all, is to simply to cross the finish line. 

Authenticity, humility, fair play, equality, respect, and teamwork make trail running a sport with a strong sense of shared values that form the basis of ITRA’s charter.

Difficulty level

When it comes to trail racing, there is something for everyone! ITRA categorizes trail races according to their level of difficulty.

Knowing the difficulty of a trail race allows runners to select the race that best suits their needs as well as to prepare for it to the best of their ability.
ITRA race evaluation provides runners and organizers with a consistent measure all around the world.
ITRA uses a validated method to calculate the level of difficulty of a race and this method is based on the notion of ‘Km-effort’.
The total “Km-effort” of a race are calculated by taking into account both the distance and the elevation gain as follows:



1km = 1 Km-effort 


+100m vertical meters = 1 Km-effort

Based on the number of Km-effort, each race is then classified according with its level of difficulty with ITRA Points ranging from 0 to 6 as follows:


ITRA Points



0 - 24


25 - 44


45 - 74


75 - 114


115 - 154


155 - 209




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