Mountain Uphill: A Rest Day For Some, A Race To The Top For Others
From the longest stage to the shortest stage, and the halfway mark of the 15th edition of the Transalpine Run. The fifth stage Mountain Uphill is a chance for most teams to reset after the first gruelling days of the event. It's also a chance for the “mountain goats” amongst the pack to show-off their uphill skills, and possibly eat away at their deficit in the overall rankings, while individual and team bragging rights lay at stake. And with the deep blue Swiss skies overhead, the sunshine in Samnaun gloriously shining down, both runners and supporters enjoyed the party vibe at the upper station on Alp Trida presented by event partners Volkswagen R.
Best known for their strengths as uphill and technical mountain runners, Swiss Brothers Stefan and Martin Lustenberger of Team Willkommen im Sonnental made short work of the 7.8km trail to yet again dominate the stage, winning in 50:43, Stefan edging out his brother Martin by a mere 27 seconds to win the individual race in 50:16. Finishing just 3 minutes adrift, Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser of Team Salomon Running Schweiz secured second position in 53:23, handing Lombriser and Krebs a fifth and ninth position respectively in the individual race.
Completing the podium once again was Mike Baumgartner and Adrian Zurbrügg of Team Daniel Schürch Ag, finishing strongly just 1 minute further back in 54:33. Sebastian Hallmann, second place finisher in the 2018 Transalpine Run alongside partner Lukas Naegele, and currently running in the MIXED category alongside girlfriend Sandra Mastropietro for Team Clifbar, placed third in the individual race in 52:04.
Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann of Team Salomon Running Deutschland continued to showcase their world class ability in the WOMENS category, winning in 1:06:09, securing a tied third position in the individual race in the process. “We really see this as a team competition,” said Hegemann after crossing the line hand-in-hand. Adding additional comment, the 30 year old Spanheimer was complimentary to her partner: “We wanted to slow down, but Ida-Sophie had really good legs today!”
With the shorter distance an advantage for some, a disadvantage for others, Susi Lell and Marie-Luise Mühlhuber of Team Salomon Running, having fallen off the pace quite severly on stage stage 4, returned to the podium, finishing in second place sum 10 minutes behind Spanheimer and Hegemann in 1:16:49. The Russian duo of Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova of Team Blond Power, managing some powerful uphill running, claimed third place only 2 minutes behind in 1:12:01. Line honors in the women's individual race however belonged to current MIXED team leader Stephanie Kröll of Team Mountainshop Höhager in a blistering 1:04:31. "I have felt really good the past few days and today I just really accelerated," exclaimed Kröll
Another notable individual finish was MASTER WOMEN Sandra Schmid of Team Orthol Sport Perform – her and partner Pia Winkelblech currently third in the overall standings – who finished just seconds behind overall WOMENS leaders Spanheimer and Hegemann in 1:06:27.
From Samnaun (1841m) the runners trace the path of the Schergenbach river up to the Zeblasjoch mountain (2539m), where the first refreshment station of the day awaits. After passing the highest point of stage five, the Fuorcia Val Gronda (2752m), the route leads on to the Fimbernpass (2608m) and then down to Farola (1862m) and the second refreshment station. The final climb sees the athletes run all the way up to Fuorcia Champatsch (2730m), before traversing the Motta Naluns ski resort at 2442m to the third aid station and then descending to the finish in Scuol (1194m).
Start Time: 8:00am EST | Distance: 40.5 km | Vertical Ascent +2275m | Vertical Descent -2886m