Into St. Anton on Day 2
Cloudy skies over Lech am Arlberg greeted the runners on stage two of the 15th edition of the Transalpine Run as they readied themselves ahead of the journey to the famous Austrian ski town of St Anton am Arlberg. At 27.7km, stage two is one of the shorter stages of the race, but certainly not a walk in the proverbial park.
A challenging section would be the steep ascent along the Valfagehr river up to the third aid station at the Ulmer Hütte, one of the highest points along the route at 2253m, and the second time runners would surpass the 2000m mark. And with the technical descent into the town of St. Anton am Arlberg, it was a chance for the strong downhill runners to make a move on their fellow competitors as they sought to close the gap on the overall standings.
Maintaining their lead in the Men’s category, by more than 4 minutes, brothers Stefan and Martin Lustenberg of Team Willkommen im Sonnental crossed the finish line in 3:12:12. Enjoying a great run, and showing off their technical running skills, Mike Baumgartner and Adrin Zurbrügg of Team Daniel Schürch Ag, fourth placed finishers from the stage before, finished in 3:14:34 to secure second position, ahead of Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser of Team Salomon Running Schweiz who finished third in a time of 3:15:50.
Stage two rendered no change to the WOMENS category, as it was once again Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann of Team Salomon Running Deutschland who managed to win in a time of 3:51:13. An untimely fall after the second aid station however had left Spanheimer scratching to recover and maintain focus: "I was glad that I put on long running pants in the morning. As a result, skin abrasions were limited. Two friendly runners also helped me to get back up the rock. Without them I would not have made it." In addition, it was a much stronger finish for Susi Lell and Marie-Luise Mühlhuber of Team Salomon Running who were less than 2 minutes off the pace, finishing second in 3:52:39 thanks to an impressive descent in the closing 3 kilometres, leaving them only 12 minutes off first position of the overall standings. Although slower today, Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova of Team Blond Power maintained their third position finishing a further 31 minutes off the pace in 4:23:22.
It was yet another strong finish by Stephanie Kröll and Martin Kaschmann of Team Mountainshop Höhager, who took the stage win in the MIXED category in a time of 3:56:01, more than 15 minutes ahead of fellow Team Mountainshop Höhager members Patric Höhager and Christina Sautner, who finished in a time of 4:11:59. Rounding out the top three saw podium newcomers Mathias Galler and Kathrin Schichtl enjoying the spotlight, as some sustained running would see them finish third in 4:16:37.
Yet again, the performance of the day was witnessed in the SENIOR MASTER MEN category, however it was the turn of Italians Anton Steiner and Oswald Wenin of Team Stilfserjoch Stevio Marathon – having succumb to health issues on stage one – who won the stage 12 minutes ahead of overall leaders Anton Philipp and Seppi Neuhauser of Team Kleinwalsertal – Sport Kessler, and in an impressive 4th overall. When questioned about the race to the top position on the podium, Steiner briefly commented: “We can do it, we're feeling strong again.”
The end of stage two in St. Anton also saw the closing curtain come down on the RUN2 event, and the experience of sum 300 runners who all enjoyed a sample of what it's like to cross the Alps.
It was once again the two Austrians, Rene Mair and Lukas Kocher of Team TrailMotion Tirol powered by Imst Tourismus, who showed off their Alpine experience, winning the stage and taking the overall victory in the MENS category in a total time of 8:36:46, and comfortably edging out German duo Micha Tobias Grimmert and Micha Florian Förderer of Team Exkern Racing Team who finished in a total time of 8:55:24. Commenting on their victory, Kocher guaranteed their return to the full Transalpine Run “In 2020 we will be back at the Transalpine Run for eight days, definitely!"
Salzburg's exceptional athlete David Wallmann and his partner Kerstin Tossmann could not be stopped in the MIXED category, winning in an impressive time of 9:10:51. In the WOMENS category, the Austrians Johanna Eiter and Cornelia Falkner of Team Ötztal Trailrunning dominated in an overall time of 12:55:36.
Stage three will see the competitors leave St. Anton, and the Inn river, behind them and head up into the Putzenwald forest and on to the highest point of the day at 2051m. The route continues via the Walcherhöhe (1940m), skirting the peaks of the Schindlekopf and Malatschkopf mountains, into the Nessleralm ski resort. Following a descent to the first refreshment station in Pettneu (1187m), the athletes follow the path of the Rosanna river to Schnann, below the Blankaspitze runners continue to Flirsch (1217m) before a final climb of around 600 vertical metres leads to the Strenger Skihütte hut (1850m) where the second refreshment station awaits. From here the route continues via the Grinner Skihütte to Piano (856m) where the last food station is situated before reaching the finish line for stage three in the town of Landeck (809m).
Distance: 39,2 km | Vertical Ascent +1968m | Vertical Descent -2479m
For stage two and overall results, please click here
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