Country endurance races are becoming more popular each summer and have become a major tourist attraction, enhanced by the creation of a world-class circuit. explanations.
Always run longer, farther and higher. If every age displays its values and obsessions in a mathematical system, then we live in the age of ultra-precision railroads. Cut for our landscapes, the discipline combines distance (15 to 174 km), elevation difference and landscape change. It turns effort into an inner task, along with Mother Nature. Thus excess becomes responsible, transcendence is a return to the sources and this fusion of desires never ceases to mobilize followers.
In 2021, the Roman calendar had no less than 37 tracks. This spring marks the grand launch of UTMB World ChampionshipA global circuit that brings together enthusiasts from five continents 25 distinct tracks. These two limitations dictate the obvious: the trailer collection has become a major economic issue for our region.
“In 2009, we were the first in Switzerland. We had to clarify, create a desire, recalls Tiffin Arthur, co-chair of Trail Verbier Saint-Bernard (TVSB). And quickly, stores specializing in “running” made a large part of their sales by selling tracking equipment. Today there are five “ultras” [des parcours totalisant plus de 100 km] Only on the territory of the Valais. It’s a lot. Without getting into a circle, we were taking risks for our survival. But the municipality made it clear to us that it is keen on this event.
Organized in September, the event allows to extend the season and bring an occasional photo.
Bruno Hoegler, Director of Tourism and Conferences, Crans Montana
With reference to the calendar, TVSB revised upwards its ambitions for its first release under the UTMB license from July 8-10. As for the interest of the communes, there is no need to cross the planet to understand the springs. For example, Crans Montana created a trail dedicated to joining the UTMB and welcoming the trailhead caravan September 8-11, between the golf course and the White Circus. runners Wildstrobel (that’s its name) will run between the cantons of Bern and Valais.
Bruno Huggler, Director of Crans-Montana Tourism and Conventions sums up the many advantages of such an adventure: “Organized in September, the event makes it possible to extend the season and bring in the occasional. It is a panoramic asset that allows us to sell our values: nature, space and freedom of movement. Then, by 2023, we imagine a tourist version of Wildstrubel that allows nature-loving customers to complete the route in three days with the following baggage. Finally, don’t neglect an overnight stay. Today, Chamonix Week UTMB – TheMont Blanc Ultra Trail – It is the week with the highest added value in the municipality. It is amazing.”
Especially since the runners don’t travel alone and not just to race. “It often happens that athletes give themselves a course survey a few weeks in advance, explains Tevine Arthur. Family return to these same tracks to share some of the feelings they experienced while racing is common.
Globalization and regional interests
These benefits are in the medium term, Delphine Toro, for its part, struggles to measure. But the director of the Vallée de Joux sports center that organizes the famous named path On October 9, he insisted on the potential of this burgeoning community of effort: “At Sentier (VD), we tackle trail running and triathlon together, by organizing highly successful training sessions. These are two cousins’ specialties that don’t compete with each other and find affinity with us across Triathlon. XTerra [qui associe VTT et trail]. “
This pairing of trail running and triathlon is also at the heart of the UTMB World Series project, with American giants Ironman behind it – who now run several international tournaments. But does this globalization endanger the regional spirit of the current tracks? And what is the true tourism potential of these fierce athletes, who will jump from one achievement to another around the world? “Even if these circuits matter to us, we currently wish to preserve the local juvenile DNA,” Delphine Toro stated.
“Our contestants no longer stick to the caricature of a relentless start. They gladly open a good bottle.”
Thévin Arthur, co-chair of Trail Verbier Saint-Bernard
“The corridor is the perfect tool for highlighting the setting, which the team at Gruyere Trail Charmy, which continues July 16, notes Pierre-Alain Morard, director of the Friborg region. But we are a canton in the middle of the mountain and we gladly leave the show of discipline to the Valais mountains. I also admit that the link between running and gastronomy or local produce is not necessarily clear.
The note suggests skepticism: Dear newbies from resorts, is the epicurean super fan enough to become “too profitable”? “Discipline has become more democratic, and our riders no longer adhere to the relentless caricature of the beginning, Tiffin Arthur smiles. They gladly open a good bottle.” And in Crans Montana, can these AOC athletes match what golfers and alpine ski stars bring? “In terms of performance, it obviously has nothing to do with the Omega Masters. But trail running stands out as a more participatory event, and therefore more popular,” admits Bruno Hoogler, before qualifying: “You know, it takes time to get ahead of the run. In Oftentimes, these are the people who have the means.
Running on the trail seems popular but upscale, local and international, profitable in the short and medium term, illustrating its economic potential on the same contrast that makes its athletic success. And since the UTMB World Championships advertises “live” for certain stages, image acquisition can significantly increase advertising revenue. “Among the episodic elements, the media value is the most important,” emphasizes Bruno Hoegler. Tiffin Arthur talks about the ‘Tour de France effect’. In the world of free outdoor sports, we’ve never done better.
Matthew Eichmann He has been a journalist at the Sports Center since 2011. He specializes in tennis, and is the author at the end of the dream (Slatkin, 2014) and Act and think like Roger Federer (Editions de l’Opportun, 2021). He is also a German history and language teacher.