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The Spirit of the Dolomites: Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Lavaredo (LUT) holds a special place in the hearts of all Italian trail runners. It is the most famous race in the Dolomites in one of the most famous places in the Dolomites: Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

We sat down with Simone Brogioni and Cristina Murgia, the two minds behind the event since its beginning. Since 2007, they managed to grow the event by adding races, increasing its competitiveness, and showcasing the uniqueness of the Dolomites.

simone brugioni cristina murgia
Simone and Cristina

In a recent survey we conducted among 900 Italian trail runners, Lavaredo Ultra Trail (LUT) was listed as one of the most inspiring races. In your opinion, why?

Much of the credit goes to the Dolomites, which attract and fascinate athletes worldwide. The Lavaredo was born in 2007, so there is also an element of "historicity," since the first ultra trails were born in that year. And then the passion that we and our wonderful volunteers put into organizing this event from the very beginning. 

Few Italian competitions attract a field of international participants and are known worldwide. What factors have led to this growth beyond national borders?

Yes, from the very beginning, we set our goal to become an international event, aware of the potential of the location. The location is the main factor that led to our fame abroad, along with the promotion that we carried out from the very beginning, focusing a lot on social media but also the on-site presence at other international events. 

In 2015 LUT had 750 participants, two years later more than double that number. What happened in those two years that made the race take off?

Those were the years of Lavaredo's consolidation, with the race's move from Auronzo di Cadore to Cortina d'Ampezzo and the affiliation with the Ultra Trail World Tour, which at the time included the 10 most iconic trail events in the world. The growth has been exponential every year, from 6,800 pre-registered in 2019, we went to over 14,000 in 2024. Keep in mind that 200 athletes participated in the first edition, almost all of them Italians.

trail runner lavaredo ultra trail

Scrolling through the results since 2010, no Italian has ever won LUT (120k), and the top positions are dominated by foreign athletes. Will the first Italian winner come soon?

The LUT 120K rankings reflect what the values of the athletes are in the international arena, and on the long races unfortunately Italy still struggles a bit. In recent years we have been rooting for Andreas Reiterer, from Team La Sportiva, but he has yet to have any luck. This year we hope that he can finally conquer the first step of the podium.

In 2022, the 10k race was added. What are the next innovations to come?

In 2024 we will keep the same format, with races from 10K to 120K, Wednesday through Sunday. Since we cannot increase the number of runners due to issues of logistics and crowded trails, we are focusing on the quality of the event and its sustainability. In these fields, there is always room for improvement. 

As race organizers, how do you rate the state of trail running in Italy?

Having seen and participated in several trail events around the world, we would like to say that the level of organizations in Italy is very high, especially regarding safety and respect for the environment. Although the numbers have increased dramatically, the organizers are always careful, and their passion is felt by the participants, who behave accordingly. So at the moment we still consider ourselves lucky to have a community of trail runners respecting the rules, the environment, and fellow runners. This should not be taken for granted, especially if you look at other sports. In short, the famous "trail spirit" still endures.


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