An Emotional Finish in Sulden/Ortler Italy
Persistence, raw emotion, team spirit and camaraderie, these are the foundations of one of the greatest tests of human endurance, the Transalpine Run. Celebrating its 15th anniversary as one of Europe's leading multi-stage races, this eight-stage, 273km journey spanning four countries from Oberstdorf (Germany) to Sulden am Ortler (Italy), certainly lived up to its reputation once again, as competitors from more than thirty countries attempted to traverse the stunning peaks and valleys of the Alps.
With a week of up and down weather conditions, including heavy downpours and snowfall, it meant that alternate route options were adopted on a few stages to ensure runner safety was of the utmost priority. This had no effect on the overall quality of the trails that the competitors would experience however, as Race Director Martin Hafenmair continued to focus on a true alpine experience for everyone.
As the stages unfolded, dominant performances began to emerge in all categories, none more so evident than in the WOMENS, MENS and MIXED races. And with the final stage from Prad am Stilfserjoch to Sulden am Ortler having been changed to a shorter route due to deep snow on the Tabarettascharte ridge, it seemed the race had all but been won on stage seven.
Not leaving anything to chance, yet building upon their extensive lead, Swiss brothers Stefan and Martin Lustenberger of Team Willkommen Im Sonnental continued to push until the end, winning the stage and securing the overall MENS title in 28:28:47, more than one hour ahead of nearest rivals Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser of Team Salomon Running Schweiz who finished in 29:49:56. “We just can not believe we did it.” said an ecstatic Stefan.
“This is definitely the most important victory in our career!” Chiming in on his brother's comments, Stefan admitted that he was glad it was over: "We always had the competition in our minds. And for the last two days, one of the tendons in my foot has really started to hurt.” Finishing in third overall, and having also enjoyed the podium on all stages, were Mike Baumgartner and Adrian Zurbrügg of Team Daniel Schürch Ag who finished in 30:18:46, Zurbrügg repeating his 2017 result.
In the WOMENS race, it seemed nothing could stop the German duo of Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann of Team Salomon Running Deutschland, who after a slow start on the final stage, managed to comfortably take line honors in 4:01:49 and the overall win in 35:50:57, amassing a massive four hours and two minutes over Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova of Team Blond Power who finished in second in 39:53:27.
“We really enjoyed ourselves this week,” said Hegemann. “To win at my first attempt of this race, alongside such a great team mate, is really incredible, I can't believe it!” Triathletes Lisa Marie Wilmsmann and Ricarda Ida Günner of Team Racing Aloha – Endless Local, this their maiden attempt at a multi-day trail running event, secured an emphatic third place overall finishing in 40:27:48.
In the MIXED category, it was an emotional Stephanie Kröll and Martin Kaschmann of Team Mountainshop Hörhager, having enjoyed a flawless race from start to finish, who presented a master class in the misty, cold conditions to edge out fellow Team Mountainshop Hörhager members Patric Hörhager and Christina Sautner by 9 minutes, taking the overall victory by one hour and forty minutes in 35:21:37. Despite the eight consecutive stage wins, it was an up and down affair for Kröll: “I was completely broken out there, but it was great and I'm so happy!” Rounding out the podium position was Mathias Galler and Kathrin Schichtl of Team Lauftreff Hohenems, finishing in 38:59:04.
It was however in the SENIOR MASTER category, podium positions changed as regularly as the weather, where the duel between Transalpine Run veterans Anton Philipp and Seppi Neuhauser of Team Kleinwalsertal – Sport Kessler and Italians Anton Steiner and Oswald Wenin of Team Stilfserjoch Stelvio Marathon remained a tightly fought battle throughout this years race. In the end however, taking their 5th stage win in the process, it would be Philipp and Neuhauser coming up trumps, winning in 32:02:14, sum 26 minutes ahead of Steiner and Wenin who finished in 32:27:30. Remaining one of the Transalpine Run's greatest sons, and eight time previous winner of the race, Thomas Miksch, alongside Team Sportbuck.com – S/LAB partner Stefan Lang, rounded out the podium in 34:36:12.
Of the three hundred teams that started the race in Oberstdorf, two hundred and sixty five remained at the finish in Sulden am Ortler, some teams forced to disband over the week leaving only single runners to battle it out alone for much of the race. The Transalpine Run however remains one of the pinnacle events on the team racing calendar, no doubt continuing to attract many runners back as the race enters a new era.
“Fifteen years of Transalpine Run means fifteen years of positive emotions and incredible memories,” mused Plan B Event's CEO Heinrich Albrecht on the race's milestone. “For me the inspiration will always lie in what the runners have achieved over these years. And I think this is something that our staff and even newcomers to the event also draw huge encouragement from. Seeing competitors arrive at the final finish line year after year is what it's all about.”
The 2020 Transalpine Run will take place from 29th August to 5th September.
1. Stefan and Martin Lustenberger | Team Willkommen Im Sonnental 28:28:47
2. Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser | Team Salomon Running Schweiz 29:49:56
3. Mike Baumgartner and Adrian Zurbrügg | Team Daniel Schürch Ag 30:18:46
1. Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann | Team Salomon Running Deutschland 35:50:57
2. Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova | Team Blond Power 39:53:27
3. Lisa Marie Wilmsmann and Ricarda Ida Günner | Team Racing Aloha – Endless Local 40:27:48
1. Stephanie Kröll and Martin Kaschmann | Team Mountainshop Hörhager 35:21:37
2. Patric Hörhager and Christina Sautner | Team Mountainshop Hörhager 1 37:04:19
3. Mathias Galler and Kathrin Schichtl | Team Lauftreff Hohenems 38:59:04
1. Lord Jens Kramer and Irene Senfter | Team Sulden 37:28:11
2. Klemens Huemer and Angelika Huemer-Toff | Team Huto Racers 37:57:34
3. Henrik Lange and Bianca Meyer | Team Running Company Powered By Salming 38:43:56
1. Wolfgang Sieder and Andreas Helfenberger | Team STW Lausbuben 33:41:31
2. Ken Sutor and Mark Davies | Team Dragon Slayers 34:29:40
3. Tell Wollert and Steven Günther | Team Dresdner Laufsportladen – Salming 36:31:45
1. Sandra Schmid - Pia Winkelblech Team Orthomol Sport Perform Team 40:23:25
2. Rene Unser - Carrie Karsgaard | Team Salomon Canada 41:48:26
3. Andrea Schmitzberger and Andrea Zogsberger | Team LG Innviertel Trailrunner Girls
1. Anton Philipp and Seppi Neuhauser | Team Kleinwalsertal – Sport Kessler 32:02:14
2. Anton Steiner and Oswald Wenin | Team Stilfserjoch Stelvio Marathon 32:27:30
3. Thomas Miksch and Stefan Lang | Team Sportbuck.com – S/LAB 34:36:12
For comprehensive stage and overall results, please visit this page.