Philipp Reiter prepares for the Salomon SkyRun

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter ©iancorless.comHow have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

 Philipp Retier has had a quite 2014 due to a problematic foot injury. The season started well with a multi day adventure at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and the iconic, Transvulcania. In June, running ground to a halt after running 100-miles in the charity D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Philipp is back on track now and I caught up with him as he prepares for the Salomon SkyRun in South Africa.

How have the last couple of months been from a racing perspective?

Unfortunately I have been injured for the whole summer from a community running event on the flat asphalt road and was not really able to run. I could not think about racing. To stay fit I was cycling quite a lot around my home town – MTB, road bike and cross-bike.
As you can imagine, it was very disappointing for me, but it is great to have a big (running) perspective now at the end of November with the Salomon SkyRun.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Do you have any targets between now and your trip to SA?

My studies at the university started in the beginning of October, so I have enough work trying to fit everything in my day; so no races are planned in preparation. I still feel more familiar to cycling than to running at the moment which I have to change in the next weeks.

How’s training going – have you done anything specific for SA?

I have already asked a few participants about the terrain and climate at the SkyRun and figured out that the weather is changing pretty fast – hot and very dry in the valleys, freezing cold and stormy on the ridges. For the cold I can prepare at home and for the hot maybe a few sauna-sessions should be good! As the terrain is very rocky and rough I will run more off-trail at home.

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Julia Bottger, Philipp Reiter and Ryan Sandes in Gran Canaria copyright Ian Corless

Maybe you have been brushing up on your navigation and looking at some maps?

Yes, indeed! I was asked to scout routes for a trailrunning stage race here in Germany, so I have done quite a lot of map work trying to find the best, fastest and most beautiful spots. I mainly run around with a map in my hands which could be similar in South Africa…

 

Are you intimidated by the navigation element of the SkyRun?

Should I? It is totally new for me not to “just” follow the marks in a race but that makes it more interesting. Then it’s not only fast legs and stong lungs to be in a good position but also your brain has to work much more! I am only a bit worried as I have no experience using the compass for navigation or a mobile GPS-device apart from my watch.

The course sounds extreme, particularly if the weather turns. Have you researched the course?

No, not really. I have only watched some videos from the last editions and they made the course and the race look quite tough. It’s not the heat or the cold alone that make me worried but the extreme fast changes of both. So the backpack will be more heavy than in a “normal” race as it’s quite a lot of stuff to carry…

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

A strong local contingent will be toeing the line… Iain Don Wauchope, AJ Calitz and so on… do you know much about them?

Yes, I have heared that they are really strong and apart form their fitness they are very familiar to the race route, the climate and the terrain. They know exactly where to find water, how to climb the barbed wired fences,… So, I will just thry to follow them.

Michael De Haast has put up a great price purse should somebody post a great time, is that an incentive for you?

Aaagh, that is a good question. I have read that it’s $10.000 for the first runner who goes under 12 hours! But I guess that is almost impossible and I know that my teammate Ryan Sandes, who is an excellent runner especially in that type of terrain, needed about 12:30h last year. So I am not sure if someone can beat that. It would be a great boost for my student wallet though.

Have you been to SA before?

No, unfortunately not. But one of my climbing friends was there last year for bouldering and he was so excited that he will come back next year. He showed me some pictures – just stunning!

What are you most looking forward to?

The huge untouched landscape, some wild animals you can only see in the zoo at home (giraffes, lions, elephants,…), get to know the SA culture and how it’s connected to the European colony many years ago. Eat the famous steaks. Go running on the table mountain and explore Cape Town – quite a few things to do… maybe I will need to stay?

“The Salomon SkyRun is something completely new. I have been running in the jungle of Costa Rica, the Rocky Mountains in the USA, scrambled in the French Alps and raced on dry Spain islands but it’s was all marked. I never had to care about choosing the best and fastest way, run with a map in my hands and think about not missing the next well to fill up my water bottles. To perform good in this SA adventure I will not only need power in my legs, strong lungs and mental force but also navigation skills and the ability to read the terrain to choose the best way. It’s much more about tactics and planning! – I can’t wait!” Philipp Reiter

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

Philipp Reiter at the finish of Trofeo Kima copyright Ian Corless

KILIAN JORNET – The Human Carabiner

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Kilian Jornet is defining our sport and in the process is setting new records and providing inspiration to thousands, if not millions of people. Just 12-months ago, I spoke to Kilian in Zermatt. It was just days after his incredible Matterhorn Summit where he set a new record for Cervinia-Matterhorn Summit-Cervinia beating the long standing Bruno Brunod record. Looking relaxed, Kilian joins me at a table and we chat. He looks lean and in the form of his life. The sky is blue and clouds are around the base of the Matterhorn. Looking up we pause and take it in.

Interview in Spanish HERE

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It really is an incredible mountain. I turn to Kilian and ask…

IC – Do you feel nostalgic Kilian, looking up at the Matterhorn and thinking back 12-months?

KJ – Yes, I have great feelings. I-year ago I climbed from Italy (Cervinia) and today I climbed it from Switzerland (Zermatt). I have many great friends in Cervinia and very soon it will be 150-years of the Matterhorn. So many great memories; It’s such a beautiful memory.

IC – Okay, so you have just thrown this on me. You climbed the Matterhorn this morning from Zermatt?

KJ – Yes (laughs) I am not racing Matterhorn Ultraks so it’s okay. I went this morning… I was thinking to myself, it’s great weather so I decided to go. Conditions are not good though. The mountain has much more snow and the ridge was pretty icy. I had no crampons, which was a big mistake. At the summit it was very windy. I thought I might take the quick way down to Zermatt…!

IC – People say the Matterhorn is harder from Switzerland side?

KJ – The Italians say it’s harder from Cervinia and the Swiss say it’s harder from Zermatt. (He laughs) Both routes are very similar. I prefer the Italian side, it’s a narrow ridge about 500m long and you can really run. From Switzerland you go straight to the summit. It’s really beautiful and maybe a little more complicated. For me though, the Italian side is more difficult.

IC – Did you time yourself?

KJ – Hotel to hotel was 7-hours. I had planned to go down to the Italian side and come back via the pass. But the conditions were very windy and I decided to come back on the Switzerland side. It had lots of snow all the way up. I can normally climb up in good conditions in 2.5hrs but today it was 4-hours.

IC – Not the perfect time for a FKT?

KJ – No, it was really dangerous. Normally I would see 100’s of people at the summit. Today it was just me and I saw 4-people on my way down. The weather would be okay for Mont-Blanc but not here; it’s much more complicated.

 

IC – I think it’s topical we are speaking mid season. I believe the Kilian Jornet today is a different person to 1-year ago. For me, you seem to be in perfect shape. I don’t think I have seen you so fit and strong. Would you agree?

KJ – This year I feel really well. I don’t know why? I started the season in Colorado in the winter doing plenty of high altitude meters. I was great in the ski season. It was my best season in regard to my condition. I was not tired after skiing so it was a big bonus. I have raced the same number of races but I seem to be recovering so much better. I am climbing more meters and doing fewer kilometres.

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IC – It’s not unusual for you to start your run season at Transvulcania La Palma on 4-5 days running. This year you did this. You had a great race placing 2nd behind Luis. You then went to Denali and followed this with running again becoming Skyrunning World Champion. In Denali, this is not ultra running. It’s Alpinism. So tell us, what was the experience like?

KJ – It was a hard experience and fun. The weather was bad in Alaska. We stayed 21-days in the glacier and we had 3 sunny days. Everyday was snowing but we did a great number of things. We travelled very light. We would go to 4000m camp and from here everyday we would do something… we did the west ridge and then ski, we did another ridge, then I did the record, the north summit and so on. It was really nice to see. It’s possible to do something everyday. It was really interesting. I think I was surprised to come back to Chamonix and perform so well. Really I was just going to use it as training for Hardrock. In the VK I surpassed my expectation, in the marathon I knew I could do well. I lost weight in Denali.

IC – Yes for sure. You lost weight and your legs seemed smaller. Did it feel unusual to be back in Chamonix feeling like a different person?

KJ – Yes, I had small legs. It is similar to after Alpinism. It’s good for going up but coming down it has its affects.

IC – Denali unlike the Matterhorn was very much about you going and doing it. We haven’t seen the new Summits film yet, so, what did Denali involve?

KJ – It’s Skimo. You go via the plane to Anchorage and then take anther small plane to the glacier. It’s snow all the way. We didn’t take run shoes. We just used skis everyday. We had planned to acclimatize but the weather cleared and I made an attempt on the 6th day. I may have not been adapted but I was still strong. If you stay at altitude you loose strength. I had good conditions for 3-hours but the last uphill section and all the downhill had bad conditions. It was snowing and foggy. I just hoped that I could complete the summit. I added more clothes and pushed on.

IC – How do you prepare for an event like this? Do you do extensive research beforehand on maps? You make it sound casual and matter of fact but I know it’s not.

KJ – You need to be really well prepared. It’s a dangerous mountain. I looked at maps and we planned ahead, not only for the record but other adventures. I made good preparation 2-weeks before. We did 3-days to base camp and did the west ridge and ski down. It was good to see the conditions, find out what the snow was like and see if I could ski fast from the summit. You need to open your mind.

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It was great to have a small team. We were 4-people: Seb Montaz, Jordi Tosas, Vivian Bruchez and me. It’s really quick to change plans and make decisions with a small set up. For example in 5-hours I decided to attempt the record. Everyone was ready; they all knew what they had to do. It was great. Also, the team had projects that each wanted to do. All 4 of us had aspirations to achieve things whilst in Alaska.

IC – That is what is so interesting about what you do. You have very experienced people with you. In particular, Seb, he’s a great mountaineer and cameraman. We often forget he is often doing what you are doing.

KJ – For sure. You either have a small team or a big team with multiple people, helicopters, and many cameramen. The problem is budget! For example, all our team can work independently and they can all film, even myself. I like this process. We all move in the mountain, they are happy alone and that is great. We all captured images of each other. 

IC – That is going to be great to see. You followed Denali with Hardrock 100.

KJ – Three years of waiting!

IC – Yes, you got the confirmation in 2013. We all had expectations and excitement. You were racing really strong competition, Adam Campbell, Joe Grant, Seb Chaigneau, Dakota Jones, Julien Chorier and so on. You had a remarkable day; you smashed the course record. I know from pervious chats that you wasted lots of time. What was the experience like, did it live up to expectations?

KJ – It’s a beautiful race. I have run several 100-mile races and this is the best. The ambiance, the course, the spirit, it was just amazing. I arrived 1-week before and I checked all the last 100km so that I was prepared. I knew I would be in this section at night. I didn’t know the early section; I didn’t check it at all. We all started together; Seb, Adam, Timmy, Dakota and Julien. We had a big group. I felt good from the beginning. Having said that, you always feel good early. It’s just moving. After 4-5 hours I wasn’t pushing but I was pulling away. I thought to myself, maybe I will have a good day but I wanted to be cautious for the latter stages of the race. So, I waited for Julien and then I ran to km 100 with him and then the night started. After this point, I knew the course so I decided to go. It could take 9-hours if I was feeling good. I hadn’t eaten much up to this point so from here I took energy from soup and burritos. It was also really bad weather with rain and storms. I was happy to take a little time in the aid stations.

Kilian ©jordisaragossa

IC – I think you were lucky and got ahead of the worst of the storms. For example Adam Campbell had a crazy time.

KJ – Yes, this is what can happen, Handies Peak is at 4800m and 30km between aid stations, so, you are on your own. If a storm comes they don’t stop the race. You need to know what to do. If you are afraid, you stop and find shelter until the storm passes. Runners need to think and that is a good thing. We all need to think what to carry and what to do.

IC – You had Frosty (Anna Frost) and Ricky Gates as pacers. What point did they pace you?

KJ – Ricky started at 100km for the first part of the night section from Sharman. He ran around 35-40km with me. In the second part it was crazy rain. We were so cold and wet. He stopped. I continued for 10-miles alone and then met Frosty for the last 10-miles.

IC – At any point did you have the course record in mind?

KJ – Yes, you have it in your mind but I don’t race for records. I like racing a great deal. I do lots of races. My priority was to win if possible and I was also thinking of the Dolomites 1-week later…

(Laughter)

KJ – I said okay, I am doing well but don’t try to get tired! I was 20-min ahead of the record and I knew that Kyle Skaggs exploded in the latter stages when he set the record. So, if I kept my pace I knew the record was possible.

IC – As winner, you are the only male with a guaranteed place for next year. Will you be back?

KJ – Yes, for sure as it alternates direction each year.

IC – The two races are different, lets forget next year. Given what you have learnt this year, if you went back in 2-years, with what you now know. Of course weather dependant. Do you think you could make big differences to the time?

KJ – Weather is crucial and of course the feelings. Some days you feel great, like a cloud. You can’t predict these days. I had one of these days at the Matterhorn and certainly Hardrock. For sure I could go faster. I stopped 56-minutes in aid stations.

IC – And you waited for Julien 20-mins? 

KJ – Yes, I think 1-hour quicker is possible should all things align.

IC – You came back from Hardrock and surprisingly raced at Dolomites Skyrace in the VK and SkyRace just days later.

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KJ – I was happy about the VK. I was feeling recovered but after 100-miles you need recovery. The VK was super good. I placed 8th which was great. It surprised me that I could push. It motivated me for the Sky race just 2-days later.

IC – Another great victory for you, amazing really!

KJ – Yes. Thanks

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IC – Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. It’s arguably one of ‘the’ key Skyraces. Do you have any plans or intentions for Kima?

KJ – It’s difficult to discuss plans. So many variables come into play. For example, I may do some mountaineering this week, which may mean I am tired. I have The Rut and Limone Extreme too this year. After a summer of rain when the sun comes out the snow tempts me, so, I can’t resist despite what races are on my calendar.

IC – I have to say, I was watching your posts about your runs this last week. Dakota and yourself doing big days in the mountains that have lasted 7-hours. With UTMB around the corner, didn’t Dakota make that mistake before?

(Laughter)

KJ – I have often done Mont-Blanc just days before UTMB. It has altitude, great training and it doesn’t take too much energy. Dakota is strong and talented. We did this with 10-days before UTMB. He will be fine. I sometimes think he thinks too much. He needs to just run… it will be interesting to see Tony, Iker, Tofol and all the rest. I think Iker will be good. Luis Alberto he will start strong but can he maintain it? Luis has one pace, hard! Maybe he will start slower. UTMB this year will be a great race.

IC – You have Aconcagua (Summits of my Life) left for this year, December yes?

KJ – Yes, I will start in November to do ski training and then I will go back to running for Aconcagua. I’m excited as it has a high summit of 7000m. It’s not technical but it’s a tough record.

IC – And the record?

KJ – I think there are a couple of records but I don’t know the times. (In 2000 Bruno Brunod, Pelissier and Meraldi climbed from Plaza de Mulas in 3-hours 40-minutes. Carlos Sa did 15:42 from National Park Horcones.)

KJ – I will go from the entrance and I will try to achieve both records. Also, Emelie Forsberg will try a female record too.

IC – Wow, nice! I guess Aconcagua will be more like the Matterhorn?

KJ – No, it’s easier. It’s rocky but not steep. The altitude is the big issue. You can get sick and have problems so the challenge is different.

IC – It doesn’t have the danger of the Matterhorn. Ultimately, you have Everest as the last big objective. Have you thought about this yet?

KJ – It’s completely different, it’s very high, 9000m. It’s very long and this is the biggest problem. It’s to go all this way without oxygen and fast. The route is technical. I will start on the north face to prepare. It’s quiet so I will have no problems with people. I will need to prepare. I will go in spring, autumn and maybe the following spring. As per usual with all mountains, any attempt will be weather dependant. I expect to have several attempts.

IC – If you achieve Everest and complete the Summit series, where do you go next? Your list is ticked off, do you think you will comeback to some races you have done before or do you think you will create a new sport, a combination of all your skill levels?

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

KJ – I have lots of projects. Today I climbed the Matterhorn, I looked around and suddenly projects appear. I think maybe I can go from here to here or in skiing I go down a steep line. It doesn’t need to be the highest or the longest. Nice mountains with not many people. I like this sport because of the beauty. I like aesthetic projects more than numbers. I have so many options to choose from.

IC – Do you think racing will still appeal?

KJ – Yes, I love racing. I love the ambiance. I also like it as training. I push I give it everything and you can’t do this alone, it’s boring. I will race for sure in skiing and maybe run less.

IC – Today I spoke to Marco De Gasperi, I took him back to ‘91’ when he was 16 and the formative days of Skyrunning. His first race!

KJ – Yes, it was Monte Rosa.

IC – Yes, Monte Rosa and he also did the VK. He reminded me of 2007 when you were 20 and you turned up at a race and placed 6th. He said you looked at him as though he was a hero. He now looks at you as the hero.

KJ – No, Marco is the hero.

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IC – 20+ years of Skyrunning. In the last 3-years Skyrunning has become bigger than ever and it continues to grow. Would you like to see the sport progress in anyway?

KJ – Every person is a carabiner. We all pass on and provide energy and it grows. The sport keeps the values of the beginning. However, it’s not just about distance, elevation and athletics. It’s about mountains and alpinism. More people are interested in being in the mountains, it’s not just about technical terrain, and we must look at what is around us too. The sport will grow for sure. We are seeing VK’s grow and longer races. I think in central Europe it will stay as it is but it will develop in other countries, for example the US. It’s important to grow and keep quality; we must keep the spirit.

IC – In ‘89’ when Marino Giacometti ran up Monte Rosa and came back down, it was pure mountain spirit. Up and down as fast as possible. I feel that Skyrunning is starting to go back to where it was 20-years ago. Maybe because we look at sport differently; but also you are providing a great influence. Do you think there is room for another sport outside of VK, Sky and Ultra within Skyrunning, maybe an extreme event?

KJ – Yes. I think an extreme sport would be a great idea. It has been done before as you say. It’s really important though to understand that this is mountaineering fast and not running.

IC – Alpinism without the clutter?

KJ – Yes, it’s not about being strong or fast it’s about how you climb! You need confidence and you need self-awareness. It’s another level. It will come as the sport grows but it is not for all. It’s not about kilometres it’s about mountain experience.

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IC – Kilian, once again thank you so much for your time and the inspiration.

KJ – Thank you for everything.

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Article ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

Please credit as and when appropriate when sharing

Thanks

I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.

Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)

Salomon Running

Seb Montaz

Jordi Saragossa

And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.

Transvulcania La Palma – Catch up videos

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Dreamteam Television have worked on Transvulcania La Palma for the last 3-years producing some great quality films allowing us to experience, one again… this iconic race on the island of La Palma.

The 2014 edition of the race won by Luis Alberto Hernando and Anna Frost will be screened on British TV on CH4 – 15th June at 06:40 and +1 TV.

If you missed out on 2013 and 2013 films, here is an opportunity to watch them.

Dreamteam Television archive all recordings so that you are able to watch past editions of many races HERE

Future broadcast dates are available HERE

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Fun on the trails in La Palma

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A real perk of what I do is having a few hours, a morning or even a day or two that will allow me some time for myself, to get out on the trails and explore a place or even a race route before or after an event.

To go to La Palma and not run would be sacrilege. I have run on trails and mountains all over the world, I wouldn’t be as bold or as confident to say that La Palma has the best but without doubt they are some of the best!

Looking at the Transvulcania La Palma route, the course makes so much sense; you start at the sea, you run up… up… up and up and then you drop back down like a bullet. It is pure Skyrunning, from sea, to summit to sea.

Combine this route with an ever-changing trail, spectacular views, spectacular cloud and incredible weather and you have a match made in heaven.

This year I extended my Transvulcania visit by a day, okay, maybe two and sneaked out for a couple of runs (hikes) to clear my mind, open my lungs and allow myself to feel alive again.

I love to follow races working hard as a photographer, writer and podcaster, but I also love to run… it’s not always easy to fit the latter in but I should! I should always find some time, some time to connect and find my own peace, my own karma and my own air.

This was even more important this year. It seems a haze; maybe it hasn’t even registered yet but just 1-hour after the start of the 2014 Transvulcania started, I was driving along the coastal road to my ‘spot’, a location I had found the previous day where I would take photos and I lost control of my car. I wasn’t going fast and no, despite a 3am start, I hadn’t fallen asleep at the wheel… the car twitched left, I turned right to compensate and before I knew it the car was exploding into a huge concrete block that stopped me going down a cliff.

Air backs everywhere, car in pieces, windscreen smashed, car broken, NO, wrecked and I walked away unharmed… Just a slightly sore nose from the impact of the driver’s air bag left me a memento for what had happened.

I was alive…

I think it’s actually taken till today, almost 1-week later for me to realize how lucky I was.

My work isn’t going to change, I love every hour, every minute, every second but I will, every now and again, stop… look around and find some time to get out on a trail and feel the karma and thank my lucky stars that I have an opportunity to carry on.

Thanks Nico and Val for helping me to escape on the trails of La Palma. It was needed, really needed.

Here are some images from the fun.

The Rise of Stephan Hugenschmidt

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Transvulcania La Palma, the inaugural Skyrunning event of the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series. It was always going to be a stacked field, so stacked that predicting a winner required an element of guesswork, faith, hope and some good old ultra thinking. It was no surprise to see Kilian Jornet duke it out with Luis Alberto Hernando and true to form, as in 2013, Sage Canaday repeated his 3rd place on the podium. However, who could have predicted the rise of Stephan Hugenschmidt?

Stephan should have been on my radar after his 8th place at the 2013 Skyrunning Matterhorn Ultraks, however, he slipped through. In retrospect it was a huge mistake! His Transvulcania 2014 performance has elevated him to a new level and he is now on the ‘one-to-watch’ list. No longer will he slip through the radar…

Stephan’s 2013 results

  • March – Trail du Petit Ballon : 3rd
  • July – Salomon 4-Trails : 2nd
  • July – Swiss Alpine Marathon : 3rd
  • August – Matterhorn Ultraks : 8th
  • September – Sardona Ultra Trail : 2nd
  • October – Ultra Trail del L’Argo Orta : 1st

Post Transvulcania, friend of Ta;lk Ultra and iancorless.com, Hendrik Auf’mkolk interviewed Stephan and kindly shared for all our benefit.

Dancing on a Volcano by ©Hendrik Auf’mkolk

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At Transvulcania this past weekend, Stephan Hugenschmidt ran to the top of the trail running world with a sensational 5th place showing. For insiders, this does not come as much of a surprise, however. The 27-year old German who lives and works in Switzerland already made his mark on the scene last year with top results at Swissalpine (3rd), Matterhorn-Ultraks (8th) and Sardona-Ultratrail (1st), among others. Salomon Germany picked him up for the 2014 season and during the team’s spring training camp he impressed his team mates with sparkling form. In the following interview, Stephan tells us how he got into the sport, why Transvulcania is only a snapshot, and what is next.

Stephan, congratulations on your fantastic race at Transvulcania! You definitely won’t be flying under the radar anymore in the future. Has it sunken in yet ?

Well, the response after Transvulcania was huge and I’m really happy for all the congratulations. But things will calm down in a few days. What remains are all the unforgettable impressions of the race and its unique landscape. But the cards will be reshuffled for the next race and then it does not really matter how I did at Transvulcania.

You ran a very constant, clever pace. How did you feel out there on the course? How did you witness the race play out?

As I always do in ultras I tried to listen to my body and find my rhythm. I did not let myself be deterred by the usual early speed of the other runners. And then there were all those spectacular views , the completely different terrain and the crazy spectators – things like that really motivate and help me get through the lows. The fact that I was able to consistently pass some of the international top stars, that surely inspired me as well…

As you said, the terrain and the climate on La Palma are very different from anything here in continental Europe. How did you prepare for the race?

By training in foul mid-european weather (laughs). The one-week training camp in Croatia in April with the Salomon Germany team definitely helped. But not in terms of heat-resistance. While we were there the cold and uncomfortable Bora winds were sweeping across Croatia.

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You already turned heads with a string of top results last year. How did you get into the sport? What fascinates you about trailrunning?

I would say I am a very passionate runner and I love being in the mountains. As a child I only spent a few weekends a year in the mountains – mostly with my dad. He passed his passion for running and the mountains on to me. Every now and then I would toe the line for a classic mountain run, but I never really felt comfortable with these all-out mountain sprints. Too short and somehow incomplete… I want to run in the mountains and over the mountains, not just up a mountain. I know trail running does not necessarily have to be in the mountains, but for me the two belong together.

What draws me to the sport is being out there running through the most beautiful landscapes. That’s so much better than running through the street canyons of a big city, isn’t it? Also, I am fascinated by the fact that besides a strong physical condition, you need a good technique.

How does your typical training week look like?

Most of my training happens on the weekends. I live in Uzwil, where it’s hilly, but not enough so for serious mountain running. So on the weekends I make the one-hour drive to the mountains as often as possible, mostly to the St. Gallen Rheintal region. That’s an ideal starting point, because you start very low (ca. 450 m above sea level) and can easily do 1.500 m of vertical at a stretch. My training runs in the mountains are between 30 and 45 km and normally contain more than 2.000 m of vertical gain.

During the week my training is rather unspectactular. I run my usual loops around Uzwil, which are between 10 and 15 k. They don’t contain any considerable climbs though.

Do you have a favorite workout or training ground?

My favorite place to train is in the mountains around the Pizol and the sorrounding Sardona region. The landscape there is simply fantastic!

What are your goals for this season? Where will you be racing next?

My next race will be Zugspitz Ultratrail at the end of June. My first 100k… I am also going to do Swissalpine K78 and Ultratrail del Lago d’Orta. If I remain injury-free, there will probably be more races added to the list, but nothing is fixed yet. Some day, I want to do the Transalpine-Run and, of course, UTMB.

Stephan, thanks for the interview and best of luck to you!

Thank you!

Originally published in German HERE

Uphill Secrets from the Pros – Trail Running Mag

Jul14 cover-1

Check out the latest edition of TRAIL RUNNING with an article and images by yours truly on running uphill.

It features Emelie Forsberg, Antonella Confortola, Erik Haugsnes, Florian Reichert, Tessa Hill and Stevie Kremer

www.trailrunningmag.co.uk

You can subscribe HERE

66_066-071_VK lm ahcm.pdf

WIN! Anna ‘Frosty’ Frosts signed Transvulcania T-Shirt

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To celebrate Anna FROSTY Frosts incredible comeback race and new course record at the 2014 Skyrunning Transvulcania La Palma, we have her own signed Transvulcania La Palma T-Shirt to give away.

©iancorless.com.IMG_7949Transvulcania14

Signed by Frosty the day after the race, this T-shirt will be available for 1-person who can provide the correct answer to the questions below:

  1. In what year did Frosty first win Transvulcania La Palma?
  2. What was her time in that year?
  3. What time did Frosty run in 2014?

You need to use the respond form to this post and only correct answers via this method will be added to a hat; the winner will be drawn on June 1st.

©iancorless.com.IMG_7941Transvulcania14

©iancorless.com.IMG_7951Transvulcania14

 

Transvulcania La Palma 2014 – Race Day Images

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all images ©iancorless.com

Purchase images HERE

Results HERE

 

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando – ESP adidas 6:55:41
  2. Kilian Jornet ESP Salomon 7:01:34
  3. Sage Canaday USA Hoka One One 7:11:39
  4. Tofol Castanyer ESP Salomon 7:23:56
  5. Stephan Hugenschmidt GER Salomon 7:27:10
  6. Tom Owens GBR Salomon 7:31:15
  7. Mauel Merillas ESP 7:34:55
  8. Timothy Olson USA The North Face 7:35:22
  9. Pablo Villa ESP Scott 7:36:12
  10. Dakota Jones USA Montrail 7:42:35

 

  1. Anna Frost NZL Salomon 8:10:41
  2. Maite Mayora ESP La Sportiva 8:20:29
  3. Uxue Fraile ESP Vibram 8:48:01
  4. Emma Roca ESP Compressport/ Buff 8:58:45
  5. Anne Lise Rousset FRA Team Race Land 9:10:29
  6. Jodee Adams-Moore USA Scott Sports 9:19:14
  7. Andrea Huser SUI 9:28:25
  8. Krissy Moehl USA Patagonia 9:29:00
  9. Frederica Boifava ITA Alpsation 9:41:32
  10. Alessandra Carlini ITA Salomon/ Agisko 9:47:25