The Transalpine Run
8 Days, 3 Countries, 2 Runners, 1 Goal
WHAT IS THE TRANSALPINE RACE
The GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run, one of the toughest and at the same time most spectacular trail run events in the world, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014.
Since its first performance in 2005 the run developed rapidly into one of the most significant stage runs worldwide, what is reflected in the top-class starter field as well as the strong media response. Runners from more than 40 nations provide yearly international atmosphere during the stages. The GORE-TEX®
The Transalpine is one of the toughest stage race in the world and, in 2014 took place between Germany many and Italy. In eights stages,350 two-person teams from more than 40 nations ran 293 km from Rulpolding (Germany) to Sexten (Italy) Covering 13,730 meters of difference in elevation. during the race runners will be battling body and mind, ride and emotional rollercoaster, and take in the beautiful Alps.
GETTING TO THE START
Trail running is challenging in itself but add alpine size mountains for 8 days through some of the most temperamental weather in Europe it's a good thing you know your team mate very well. Only in this situation I met Simon two days before this crazy race. spending 8 days of body punishing racing, uncomfortable sleeping locations and ... can test the oldest of relationships so meeting the person that you'll be spending this 8 days with so close to the big day could be very daunting. It turns out we got on like a house on fire. From the moment we met Simon had me in fits of laughter and the race would not have been the same with anyone else. Our goal was not to win the TransAlpine but just make it to the end and as we would find out the why its earned the title 'Europe's toughest stage race'.
FROM RUHPOLDING TO SEXTEN
I run for the experience rather than the results but this race tested me to the limits. It's a lot to take in when you're averaging distances of 37 km per day, but the views where spectacular! From day one we were graced with panoramic vistas almost the entire way from villages trapped in the 1800s to breathtaking Alpine passes and valleys tucked only for the true explorer to find.
Don't get me wrong it was tough, one of the toughest races I've ever done but worth every second. Without doubt the most beautiful route through Germany, Austria and Italy they could have chosen. The comradery of the race also made it stand out for me. There was a always someone to help keep you motivated and brave the high climbs, cold weather and brutal 5am wake-up. Some runners were in it to win it while others just wanted to cross the finish line but no matter the reason for starting, everyone was cheering you on to the end.
WHY THE WEATHER MATTERED
Make no mistake, this event was hard from the get go but with the worst weather the race organisers had ever come up against the first 5 days were hanging by a thread. Every morning there was a chance that the route would be changed or cancelled due to the treacherous weather, but in true trail runner fashion the moment we got the all clear to go wet muddy trainers were on even wetter mudder trails. The weather did take its tole on some of the team, breaking their spirit and then their bodies. Luckily for us we managed to keep a positive outlook and stayed focused on our goal... getting to the finish line. There were moments when having a team mate that you trust came in very handy and we got each other through some tough and trying moments.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Nutrition is super important when tackling an event of this size and the TAR team did not disappoint. Although they recommend you bring your own nutritional supplements the aid stations put most buffets restaurants to shame. Each station (at least 4 per stage) was stocked with the usual water, isotonic drinks tea, coffee, sliced oranges, watermelon and sugar gummies but in addition the aid station helps had soup, sandwiches, assorted cakes & cookies and dried fruit. For those that weren't up for the sweet there was handfuls of cold meats, assorted cheeses and salted tomatoes, celery & cucumber. There was no need to pack any thing extra at the start.
Both breakfast and dinner was a mass event with all racers, crew and staff dining on the local cuisine of the town in massive tents. Every meal was an event, some even had the had a local beer to help with the atmosphere.
IN THE END
This is not a race for everyone, you need a load of patience, an easy temperament, some good hill running shoes and the ability to weather the bad moments. However with the right training (which I will go into in a separate blog), a great partner (which I was lucky to have) and the right motivation to finish then this might just be the race for you.
Check out the story in pictures.