The IAU Trail World Championships took place in Connemara, Ireland on Saturday 9th July 2011. Athletes covered a total distance of 70km on a very tough course that encompassed mountains, grassland trails, compacted gravel trails, hard packed trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. Elite ultramarathon runners from every populated continent took part in the race, incuding over 120 athletes from the athletics federations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the USA. It was the first occasion an official world championships at trail running came to Ireland and the event was filmed for broadcast on Channel 4, Eurosport, Setanta and a host of other international channels. Race director and organiser Richard Donovan said "It was a fantastic day for everybody and the bonus good weather ensured that Connemara will be showcased to millions of people around the world in a way that the region has never been shown before. The aerial footage of elite ultramarathon runners moving at speed over difficult terrain is incredible." Adding to the day's success, the International Association of Ultra Runners awarded the Order of Merit to Richard and other organisers for the impeccable planning and execution of the event.