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SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail


Farbmacher Will Attempt to Defend Zugspitz Ultratrail Title

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Kelvin Trautman

Thomas Farbmacher

Never in the history of the SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail powered by LEDLENSER has a reigning champion attempted to defend his title – until now. Spain’s Miguel Heras (2011), France‘s Julien Chorier (2012) and the three German athletes Philipp Reiter (2013), Stephan Hugenschmidt (2014) and Michael Arend (2016) have all passed up the opportunity to claim back-to-back wins since the first edition of Germany’s largest trail running event in 2011.

Now, however, Austria’s Thomas Farbmacher plans to write history by doing exactly that. Last year’s winner from the province of Tyrol will be on the start line on 17 June 2017 as he bids to successfully defend the title he won in 2016. However, Farbmacher is keen to take the pressure off his shoulders. “I want to make it through to the finish and give my best. A lot of things can happen in a 100km run,” he comments. His tip for runners taking part in the ZUT? “Make sure you are well rested going into the race, don’t go out too fast and manage your energy well.”

Germany’s biggest trail running event, the SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail powered by LEDLENSER, is set to take things up to the next level at its 7th edition to be held between 16 and 18 June 2017. A total of 2,347 athletes from 49 countries have already registered to take on the legendary trails around the peaks of the Zugspitz Massif and das Wetterstein Mountains. Never in the history of the SALOMON Zugspitz Ultratrail powered by LEDLENSER, which started out in 2011 with 700 runners from 25 nations, has the field been as large and diverse. An interesting development is the increase in the number of women taking part. Though the majority of the runners are still men (1,789), almost a quarter (557) of those registered for 2017 are women. The ZUT is also becoming more international – the host country Germany still provides the largest contingent of runners (1618), but this year the Netherlands comes in second (162) ahead of Austria (78).

As in the previous year there will once again be five categories starting in five different locations and all ending in the village of Grainau. The sporting highlight will be the 100km Ultratrail (5,412 vertical metres, start 07:15 in Grainau) with Thomas Farbmacher as defending champion. A total of 509 runners have signed up for this toughest of challenges. 188 trail runners will be taking on the Supertrail XL (81.4 kilometres and 4,131 vertical metres) starting at 08:00 in Ehrwald, Austria. For the first time the German Championships DUV in the category “Trail” will be held over this distance in 2017. The Supertrail (62.8 kilometres and 2,923 vertical metres) is a distance which is becoming ever more popular. This year will see 433 athletes take to the start in Leutasch-Weidach at 09:00. However, the favourite distance remains the 39.3km Basetrail XL with 1,896 vertical metres of ascent – 595 runners have signed up for this category starting at 10:00 in Mittenwald. The second-most popular distance is the Basetrail (24.9km and 1,595 vertical metres) with 557 athletes opting for this short but tough distance which begins at 10:30 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Interview with Thomas Farbmacher

On 17 June the 7th edition of the ZUT will take place. At the same time it is a premiere, because for the first time in the history of the race the reigning champion will be on the start line to try to defend his title over 100km. What is your motivation to achieve something nobody else has done before you?

Thomas Farbmacher: “Defending my title is not the reason why I have come back to the ZUT. Instead, it is the chance to come back to a place where I have experienced so many great moments. Of course I am delighted that I will be wearing start number 1. In 2017 I have the same aim as I did going into the race in 2016: I want to make it through to the finish and give my best. We will see where I end up finishing, but that is not the most important thing. A lot can happen in a 100km run. Everything has to go perfectly in order to win.”

Last year’s victory came as a surprise. In 2017 you will be the focus of much attention on the start line in Grainau. What is that like for you? Can you deal with this kind of pressure?

“Yes, of course. I am very good at dealing with that kind of pressure – because I don’t put myself under any pressure. Why? After all, I just need to do what I do all year anyway: run!”

Back to the ZUT. What is so special about this run? Is it the fabulous landscape, the course or simply the combination of both?

“I love the ZUT because it has everything: great scenery, technical uphill and downhill sections, flat sections, lot of nice people, a great atmosphere and in particular excellent organisation by the team from PLAN B.”

What is the best way to run the ZUT without pushing too hard? Do you try to dictate the race from the front or do you prefer to hang back and see how things develop?

“Normally I prefer to wait and see. I like to start slowly and manage my energy well, but in 2017 I will take a few more risks.”

Where do you see your own strengths and weaknesses? The technical sections, downhill sections or the easier sections where it’s all about running hard?

“My strengths definitely lie more in the downhill sections and the easier running sections, but I have been training hard to improve my skills on the steep climbs.”

How did you train over winter? Where were you and which other sports did you do? What is your training plan between now and the event?

“From November to January I just do ski touring (approx. 150,000 vertical metres). During this time I don‘t do much running because where I live in Hopfgarten there is so much snow that it wouldn’t really be possible. Preparing for the ZUT, I run around 80-100km and 5000 vertical metres a week. Four weeks before the ZUT I took part in a training race, the Schwarzachtrail, with 47km and 2700 vertical metres. In the week before the ZUT I take a break so that I am fit and ready for the event.”

When did the trail running season start for you?

“The trail running season starts as soon as the snow has melted and the trails are accessible. I normally do my first race in May, but this year things were different. My first event of the season was the Transgrancanaria (125km, 8,000 vertical metres) on 24 February. However, it was a very tough race for me because I had so few kilometres of training in my legs. In the end my head was stronger than my legs and I made it through to the finish in a time of 15:51 hours, coming 28th in a field of 900 starters.”

Do you have any tips for people running the ZUT

 “When it comes to the race itself, my tip would be to not go off too fast and to manage your energy well.”

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