About Mountain Running
Mountain Running Courses

Mountain races take place over an infinite variety of distance, ascent, descent and terrain and it is what makes the sport so fascinating. There are courses to be found that suit every ability and age group.
Mountain races cover the whole range of distances and difficulty from short 15-minute sprints to long several hour treks over many mountain paths.

Many races in the Alpine region take place in ski resorts where there are high-level facilities and ski lifts for transport down. Here the races start in the resort and finish at a high level – called uphill only races. In many other regions interest in the event centres on the mountain village or town where the race starts and finishes, usually there are no high level facilities – there are referred to as uphill/downhill races. These races often consist of more than one lap and are especially suited to regions where the mountains are small and could better be described as hills.

There are also races that have considerable descent but finish at a high level – a mixture of both of the above courses.
All mountain races take place on terrain that is very variable, normally utilising established walking tracks. The course is marked so that all competitors follow the same route. Some countries (Gt.Britain for example) allow runners to choose their own route between check points so there is an element of orienteering skills required in these races.
Championship courses have closely defined parameters which must be observed. IAAF rule 250.10 defines the distances and heights for men, women, and juniors for both uphill only and uphill/downhill courses. These are a useful reference when preparing selection races for a championship event.
 
International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF)
History
Mountain Running -
Athletics or Mountaineering
or Orienteering?

Mountain Running Courses
What makes a Mountain Runner