*  Respect for

The practice of trail-running can entail risks and the search for performance and/or pleasure on no account justifies the distortion of one’s, more or less long term, good health.

Each runner will be particularly vigilant so as not to take any doping product and not to resort to the abusive use of self-medication. They must take care not to exceed their limits to the point of affecting their physical or moral integrity.

FAQ Performance Index and scoring

ITRA’s performance index

What is the ITRA performance index?

The ITRA performance index is intended to provide a tool for evaluating the speed level of trail runners. In particular, the performance index can be used for comparing the speed of runners around the world, including athletes who may never have run in the same event.

The index corresponds to the potential speed of each runner on a scale of 1000 points. The value obtained is termed the "score". It is not an index of evenness.

The performance index is regularly updated.

Is the way in which the Index of Performance is calculated changing?

In response to the wishes of the ITRA community and with a view to continuing to improve the tools provided, the way in which ITRA calculates the Performance Index is under constant review.   The latest major update (May 2019) sees the introduction of a phased (degressive) reduction in the value of a result over time: the older the result (within a period of 36 months), the less its weighting in calculating the Performance Index.   As a result of this latest update, the Performance Index is much more dynamic and can evolve, and the resulting rankings are a better reflection of immediate reality.

To what level corresponds the performance index?

Does the ITRA’s Performance Index mix results of short and long distance races ?

Yes and no. Actually, there are several Performance Indexes :
  • The general index: based on a weighted mean of the 5 best results for each runner over the previous 36 months, regardless of the race category. This index takes into account results on 30km races as well as Ultra-Trails.
  • The index by category: the principle is the same as that of the general index but the calculation (weighted mean) is made for each category of trail running races.
As part of the rewriting of Article 252 of the IAAF Competition Rules, defining the trail, ITRA has changed the trail running races categories according to the chart availaible here.
In addition to the general index, for each of these categories, a Performance Index is specifically calculated and allows to have a specific classification for each type of trail. This Performance Index is displayed in your runner’s profile available on the following link: https://itra.run/community

    What are the consequences of the change of trail running categories on the Performance Index (March 2018)?

    The General Performance Index remains strictly unchanged.

    However, the Performance Index by category is improved. Indeed, the index by category was made until March 2018 on the basis of too wide categories. For example, the category "Trail ultra XL" gathered very different races (100km races as well as 100-mile and very technical races). The new categories are much more homogeneous and the Performance Index by category will therefore be much more reliable (for both long and short distance races).

    Which races are included in the performance index?

    This performance index is calculated using all the trail races which publish an official ranking. Priority is given to ITRA races, i.e. races which are shown in the ITRA calendar and the results of which are published by the organiser.  No other event will be used except in the event of special circumstances determined by ITRA.

    With reference of the definition of trail as defined by the ITRA, this index takes in to account all those races in open country which have a minimum distance on asphalt and which take place in total or semi self-sufficiency.

    How is the performance index calculated and over what period?

    The performance index is calculated from the weighted mean of the 5 best results achieved by a runner over the previous 36 months (for the general index or the index by category). In the case where a runner does not have a sufficient number of races, a tapered statistical calculation allows extrapolation of theoretical results of the missing races, and hence the calculation of the runner’s performance index. One single race can therefore be sufficient for a runner to appear in the performance index.

    This period of 36 months is long enough to permit reliable statistical calculations. Furthermore, in the case of an injured runner, they still appear in the performance index due to their previous performances.

    The fact that the mean used is weighted makes it impossible for an individual runner to calculate his performance index. The calculation is more complex than simply finding the average of the 5 best scores ((score 1 + score 2 + … score 5) divided by 5).

    Does an earlier result have the same weighting as a more recent one within the period of 36 months?

    No.  In the latest update (May 2019), the calculation of the Performance Index includes an element of degressivity - the older the result, the less its weighting in calculating an Performance Index. Each result taken into account in calculating the Performance Index (general or by category) is now assigned a coefficient in accordance with the date of the race.  For the first 12 months after a race, a result is given its full weighting in the calculation.  After the first 12 months, the weighting of the result is progressively reduced.  Using a negative coefficient that decreases every six months, the result still counts but its weighting in the calculation is reduced.

    Is there a difference, in terms of the phased reduction in the weighting of a result, between the general Performance Index and that calculated for each trail category?

    Yes and no. In absolute terms, the principle of a negative coefficient that allows the weighting of a result to decrease over remains unchanged.  However, there are a few differences :
    • For the general performance index, the rate of decrease for the period will remain the same whatever the length of the races.
    • For the performance index by category, however, the rate of decrease goes up according to the category of trail; the lower the category in terms of effort/km, the faster the decrease in the weighting of a result.  Why this additional factor? Simply because for any given period, an ultra-runner will run far fewer races than a short-distance runner, who will consequently have more results.

    Is the rating of my result going to change every six months?

    No.  The result, as it appears in a runner's record does not change. The negative coefficient is applied only in calculating the Performance Index.

    Why do some races not appear in my record?

    The races that do not appear are those for which we have not received results from the organiser.

    Occasionally, for the sake of expediency, ITRA may enter some results manually but in all other cases results must be forwarded by the race organisers.

    A runner who notices that a race in which the runner has taken part is not shown in the ITRA calendar or list of results can contact the organiser to request that the results be submitted.  In order to do so, before the organiser can upload the results he must create an Organiser Space (if he has not already done so) and input details of the race. This process is an entirely free service (and is independent of the course evaluation).

    Why is the "General" index often better than an index by category?

    The general index is calculated on the weighted average of the 5 best results, a mix of categories, while the category index is calculated on the best results of the category. For a versatile runner, often their best 5 races will be spread across several different categories, which therefore gives them a better result in the general index than they would have for each category.

    Is the performance index mixed?

    The performance index calculation applied is the same for men and for women. It is therefore possible to the compare the performances of men with those of women.

    For all that concerns the performance index, is it advantageous to be a member of the ITRA?

    All members of the ITRA (see subscriptions organisers, associations, brands or runners & sympathisers at 5 Euros) have a member’s account. To consult the performance index it is necessary to identify oneself (click on “My account”, then give your login and password), it is then possible to consult runners’ complete results, as well as the full results of each race. Being a member of the ITRA also allows the consultation of previous year’s performance indexes.

    ITRA scoring

    What is the ITRA score?

    For each race listed in your runner's record a score is given.  This score represents an "evaluation" of your performance in the race in question, the highest possible score being 1000.  The various scores given to a runner are used to calculate the runner's performance index (general or by trail category).

    How is my score for each race calculated?

    The score for each race is calculated from the distance and the elevation profile, as input by the race organiser. Where race organisers have requested an ITRA evaluation of their events, we use the data obtained following the evaluation (see the ITRA procedure for trail race evaluation).  If not, we use the data supplied by the organiser.

    The distance is "smoothed" using an empirical formula, expressed approximately as "the distance expressed in kilometers + a hundredth of the ascent/descent expressed in meters".

    Using this "smoothed" distance, each result (time) is then compared with a theoretical best possible performance, determined by reference to multiple world records and corresponding to a maximum score of 1000 points. Thus, in a first calculation step, the score associated with a result is in the form of a number of points representing a ratio between the runner's time and the theoretical best possible performance.

    In a second calculation step, and in order to take into account the specificities on trail related to the route and to the race conditions, we apply a coefficient of readjustment. It is calculated in so that the average of the ITRA scores gained by all the riders at the finish line multiplied by this coefficient is equal to the average of the ITRA ratings of the riders at the start.

    The calculation of each cotation of each runner on each race is strictly independent of the categories. A single algorithm is used, whatever the runner (first or last) or the race (long or short, technical or easy).

    The calculation of a score does not take the ranking into account.

    Is the technicality of the race taken into account when calculating the quotation?

    Yes, we take into account the technicality of the race as well as other factors that can affect the speed.

    Nevertheless, as it is impossible to define objectively the technicality of a race, we have opted for an indirect method, based on the statistical analysis of the largest possible sample of runners who have participated in the race and of which we have recorded, in our database, their cotation on similar races. This statistical analysis allows us to determine a correction coefficient that applies and correct the score.

    Thus, at equal performance level, a runner’s cotation will be the same on a very technical race or on a race that took place under with a very bad weather (race necessarily slower) or on a very fast race.

    This method has two major advantages: we can take into account any factor influencing the race time (especially the technicity and the weather conditions) and it allows to improve continually the quality of the database.

    Is the same score given to a runner for each similar race?

    No. The score is not the same since it relates to the performance of a runner for a specific race in specific conditions and will therefore depend on the distance and elevation profile of a race as well as on the coefficient of correction.

    Two races may be advertised with the same distance and the same elevation profile yet, in reality, differ considerably (condition; the technical difficulty of the course; the relationship of elevation gain to distance (4 x 1000 m or 8 x 500m) etc.). A statistical coefficient of correction makes allowance for these less obvious differences, which explains why two runners respectively running races that are different yet have the same advertised characteristics (distance and elevation profile) can achieve similar times but be given different scores.

    Is a score calculated for each race?

    Yes for a majority of cases. Filing the results is a free service but the race organiser must respect the format required.

    Exceptions:  no score is calculated for "vertical KM" races or for races with too many stages or for which the number of effort points (distance + (elevation profile/100)) is less than 20.

    If the data in the result file are not accurate enough or if the number of finishers is too low, for some cases, the ITRA score might not be calculated.

    The score for a race in which I took part has changed.  Is that normal?

    Yes, the calculation of the scores can be modified and may be subject to adjustment consequent upon the receipt of additional information (conditions, route changes not communicated to us by the organiser, ...).  However, such adjustments are infrequent.

    Why is my score listed as "To come"?

    This indicates that the result has been entered into our database but that the score is still being calculated. Dependent upon the number of results to be processed, the updating and calculation of scores may take a little while.

    What is the finisher Criteria ? logo critère finisher

    The Finisher criteria is calculated according to the limited time authorised by the organizer and concerns more particularly the slowest runners.
    It gives the Performance Index required to be able to finish the race within the time limit. By comparing the Finisher criteria to their own Performance Index, each runner will be able to judge their ability to finish the race within the time limit.

    What is the Mountain Level ? logo critère montagne

    The Mountain level distinguishes the "Mountain" difficulty of a race on a 1 to 12 scale. We base our evaluation on impartial values as the percentage of slope, the longest continual ascent and the average altitude of the course.