New UTMB qualifying standards and Running Stones


The qualifying standards for UTMB have recently changed. This is what the changes are and what they mean for Tarawera and Ultra-Trail Australia runners.

It’s good news for Tarawera and UTA runners – and we are happy that more runners in our part of the world will get the chance to run UTMB, CCC and other races.

The current entry system was creaking at the seams and the large number of points (15) required to qualify for UTMB meant that runners had to complete three pretty tough trail ultra races in two years. Typically, this would be two 100-mile runs and a moderate 100k just to qualify. Or, otherwise three substantially vertical 100k’s. For comparison, the 2019 Ultra-Trail Australia 100k and Tarawera 102k were 4 points and the Tarawera 100 miler was 6 points.

Imagine finishing the Tarawera 102k and UTA 100k this year and then the Tarawera 100-miler in February 2020 and still falling short of qualifying for UTMB. It’s been frustrating for organisers and physically tough on potential entrants. Thankfully, the new system makes qualification more achievable.

The 2020 UTMB® Mont-Blanc will implementation of a new lowered scale of qualifying points and the implementation of a more flexible lottery.


Now – you can qualify for UTMB with 10 points over 2 years.  You could run either the Tarawera or UTA 100k distance and back it up with a 100-miler finish and you’ll be in.  You still have to put your name in the lottery and hope that you’re lucky. Here is where it gets interesting….

Running Stones

In addition to the lottery, which will continue to exist, and in order to allow for as many runners as possible to one day be eligible to enter the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, the organization will introduce a parallel system offering faster access to its races, starting from January 2020 (i.e. this will kick into effect for Tarawera 2020).

This latter system will be based on the concept of the “Running Stones”, which will only be awarded to the Finishers of a limited number of races.

Running Stones will be recorded on a database. Once they have gained the requested number of running stones, runners will get a direct entry for the UTMB® Mont-Blanc race of their choice without having to go through the lottery.

From January 2020, it will be possible to collect Running Stones by participating in:
– By UTMB®” events (Gaoligong, Ushuaia, Oman, etc.)
– The 2020 Ultra-Trail World Tour events. This includes the Tarawera 102k.

How many Running Stones do you need to enter the UTMB races without having to go through the lottery?

running stones utmb

For UTMB races, 1 ITRA point = 1 Running Stone. You need 18 Running Stones to enter UTMB. At the outset, collecting 18 Running Stones is harder to qualify than the 10 ITRA points (you are right), but there are two bonuses.

1. Running Stones expire after 4 years. Running Stones gained in 2020 can be traded for entry to a 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 UTMB Mont-Blanc race of their choice. i.e you get two years longer than the current qualification window.

2. You can enter many races offering Running Stones over four years and still qualify. Rather than having to enter two ‘tough races’ in two years you could choose to enter five easier races in four years and still get in.

3. Running stones allow direct entry without having to go through the lottery.

4. You can trade-in your running stones to improve your odds in the lottery – if you wish.

 Full details are here on the UTMB website.

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