WMRA has joined with ITRA in an agreement with IAAF ©WMRA/Twitter

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) have partnered to host the IAAF World Trail and Mountain Running Championships in 2021.

The ITRA and WMRA have joined with the global governing body of athletics to announce a new World Championship event.

The ITRA and WMRA will now become official technical partners of the IAAF and will work with the International Association of Ultrarunning to develop, expand and promote trail and mountain running around the world.

The unique partnership is claimed to be a key milestone in bringing all forms of running under one athletics umbrella.

Currently, the ITRA and WMRA hold annual World Championships but this will become biennial under the new agreement with IAAF.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: "Running is the most natural thing in the world and we want to encourage people around the world to run in whatever environment they most enjoy.

"As the global federation, it is our ambition to bring all runners together under one umbrella and this process will reach a significant milestone in 2021 when we will host the first combined IAAF Trail and Mountain Running World Championships.

"It is new and exciting territory for us, and we look forward to offering new opportunities for distance runners to compete in the spectacular settings and on the challenging courses that traditional mountain and trail events offer."

IAAF President Sebastian Coe welcomed the partnership ©Getty Images
IAAF President Sebastian Coe welcomed the partnership ©Getty Images

The sentiment was echoed by both the ITRA and WMRA.

"We are excited to be part of a great initiative where we are able to bring the world's top mountain and trail runners together at one event," said WMRA President Jonathan Wyatt.

ITRA President Michel Poletti added: "Trail running is a booming discipline around the world that deserves international recognition for the elites who represent it.

"That's why the partnership project with the IAAF is a great step forward for our sport.

"It is a way to combine the expertise and skills of each and to share our own experience.

"The organisation of the IAAF World Trail and Mountain Running Championships with the WMRA also promises a bright future, where each discipline can assert its identity and raise the values we share: authenticity, respect and fair-play."