UPDATED: Trans Alpine Run Preview
The 7th GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run heys underway this Saturday, and includes some interesting pairings, including Team inov8 UK duo Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds…
Plan B event release
The race has been sold out for a while and a highly motivated field of two-person teams will embark on one of the most spectacular trail running events in the global race circuit. Breaking with routine, this year’s eight-day-long race showcases three new, consecutive stages before resorting back to tried and tested trails over the High Divide and to the finish line in Italy.
Right off the start, the first stage leading out of Oberstdorf, Germany, has seen a complete overhaul. Rather than following the beaten track of previous years, the new course takes aim for Hirschegg, Austria this time around. The cumulative vertical gain of 1.806 m over a distance of 27.20 km should provide the right warm-up for the ensuing seven stages, each of which a tough challenge by itself.
Race director Wolfgang Pohl is clearly exulted:
“The 2011 edition of the GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run, racks up a distance of 273 km and 15,436 m of cumulative ascent and arguably will be the most challenging course along the Western route from Oberstdorf, Germany, to Latsch, Italy, to date”.
While tried and tested stages between the Austrian resort Galtür and the finish line in Italy’s Val Venosta, remain unmodified from previous events; racers will face new and formidable challenges early on in the week on all but new, choice trails.
Pohl, CEO of Vivalpin, the agency in charge of race routing since Day One in the event’s history, would know:
“The 2nd stage is likely the hardest we’ve come up with in all these years – packing no less than 53 km and 2,481 m of ascent. The 3rd stage shouldn’t come any easier, though, testing many racers’ limits over a whopping distance of 43 km and a vertical gain of 2,672m. The scenery should make up for the hardships, though, as the ‘Wormser High Trail’ ranks as one of the most beautiful trails in this central part of the Alps”.
However, racers can’t expect much of a respite on the 4th or 7th race days either with 35 and 40 km of trail running, respectively. The latter stage sports the scenic but infamous Rappenscharte – a mountain saddle reaching 3,012 m in elevation, with a precipitous boulder field on one side and a screaming scree slope on the other.
The week’s only reprieve – if only on account of somewhat lesser climbs – may be the 5th day Scuol hill sprint (6.19 km, 936 m vertical), the 6th stage through mystical Uina Canyon, and the ultimate 8th stage to the finish line.
In year one after Tom Owens/Andrew Symonds – the two Brits had been dominating the last two years winning in impressive manner – there is one British and one French-German team with great chances of winning the 2011 Transalpine-Run.
#1 contender might be Joseph Symonds. Andrew’s two years younger but not less talented brother will enter the eight-day-long race with Lennox Jethro, a several-time Scottish Athletic Hill Running Champion, as Team Inov-8 Goretex Footwear.
There main rivals would be #2 contenders for the title, Julien Chorier of France and his Team Salomon International mate Philipp Reiter. At 20 years of age, the Bad Reichenhall resident must be the best trail running talent in Germany at this time as he has claimed several noteworthy victories in his Vertical race career so far such as the second rank at the inaugural Salomon 4-Trails.
30-years-old Chorier secured victory at this year’s Hardrock Hundred Endurance Race as well as the Ultra-Technitrail de Tiranges. In addition, the father of two placed second at he Signes Trail Méounes-Belgentiere.
But there are even more teams with high hopes for a podium finish like Thomas Geisenberger and Tobias Brack from Team TSV Buchberg Haglöfs-Gore as well as Austria’s David Kolditz and Sasa Savuljesko from Team Westpoint.
While the top teams in the men’s classifier have to keep an eye on several other racer duos, a battle of three looms on the ladies’ side.
Besides Nannette Mereles and Cassey Shepard of Californian Team Cassey and No No, who are both 45+, two German duos are counted among the favorites.
Above all, it’s Gitti Schiebel, a two-time Transalpine-Run runner-up (2005 and 2008) and here Team Mountain Heroes Salomon mate Simone Philipp who raise justifiable hopes for a top-3 result.
Furthermore, third ranked athlete of this year’s Salomon 4-Trails, Stefanie Felgenhauer and Kathirn Höfler from Team Craft Woman will also enter the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run.