The 2021 World Mountain Running Association World Cup will feature 16 races in eight countries ©WMRA

A total of 16 races in eight countries will make up the 2021 World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup series, it has been announced.

Some of the world’s most prestigious mountain races, including Switzerland’s Sierre-Zinal and Austria’s Grossglockner, once again form part of the series.

There are also some new additions to next year’s World Cup calendar.

La Monte'e du Nid d'Aigle, held under the shadow of the Mont Blanc in the French Alps, and two races in Poland’s historic Tatra mountain range are among the races that will make their WMRA World Cup debut.

Italy has more competitions than ever before, including the series finale in Chiavenna on October 10.

The World Cup will also travel to Spain for the first time in 2021 with two venues and four races.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 WMRA World Cup due to the coronavirus pandemic, the WMRA has promised to work closely with the organisers of each competition to try to ensure top-level racing opportunities for the world’s best mountain runners, with more than 10,000 athletes expected to take part in the series.

The series is due to open with the only event on the calendar outside Europe, the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw Valley in California in the United States.

There are due to be two races, a short uphill only race of 5.1 kilometres with 900 metres of ascent on June 18.

Then, two days later, the 26km race with 1,700m, which featured in the 2019 competition.

The new WMRA World Cup season is due to open with the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw Valley - the only event scheduled for outside Europe ©Broken Arrow Skyrace
The new WMRA World Cup season is due to open with the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw Valley - the only event scheduled for outside Europe ©Broken Arrow Skyrace

Next is a new race for the World Cup and the first of two visits to Poland.

The Tatra Race Run on June 26 is an event that is the second-longest mountain race of the series over 24km with 2,019m of up and down running.

The Grossglockner Berglauf in Heilenblut in Austria on July 11 will be the next classic mountain race in the series.

Runners are set to take on the 13km race with 1,265m of uphill and none down.

Another event is due to make its World Cup debut on July 17 with the La Montee du Nid d’Aigle in St Gervais in the shadow of Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

The race is over 19.5km with a 2,000m ascent up to Refuge du Nid d’Aigle, and just 100m of descent.

The series will return to Poland on July 24 for the Tatra Sky Marathon over 42km involving a 3,300m ascent and descent.

The Sierre-Zinal, one of the highlights of the season on July 31 will take place over 31km and 2,200m of ascent from Sierre to Zinal.

The series will move to the Czech Republic on August 15 for the Krkonossky Half Marathon, which has had to wait an extra year to debut in the World Cup because of its postponement this year due to COVID-19.

Taking place over 21km, the race will involve 1,200m of climbing.

Italy is scheduled to be the next destination for the Vertical Nasego and Trofeo Nasego.

On September 4 the short uphill race will take place, over a distance of 4.2km with 1,000m of ascent and the following day the classic mountain race will be contested over a 21.5km course with 1,336m of climbing.

The Canfranc-Canfranc, another event whose World Cup debut has been delayed, is due to take place on September 11 and 12.

Runners will have the choice between the 45km long mountain race with nearly 4,000m of climbing on the first day or the classic mountain race the next day with 1,195m of ascent.

The Trofeo Ciolo race in Italy on September 26 is the next stop.

This 11km event is unique because it does not take place in the mountains but instead is held along the stunning, jagged coastline in Gagliano del Capo in Puglia, but with 496m of short and sharp ascents it is still a real test.

The series returns to Spain on October 3 for the Zumaia Flysch Trail Mendi Maratoina, where there again will be two events.

There will be a long mountain race of 42km with 3,000m of ascent, and a classic mountain race of 14km with 425m of ascent.

The series is set to conclude on October 10 at the Kilometro Verticale Chiavenna-Lagunac, a race known as the “vertical race of the records” and, which at only 3.2km is the shortest event on the programme, but which features 1,000m in climbing.