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Südtirol Ultrarace
Extreme running race along the high mountain trail

Thaler and Fister create a new first: Two winners at the Südtirol Ultra Skyrace 2019

Bolzano, 27 July 2019 - the extreme mountain run along the horseshoe shaped Hufeisen tour in the Sarntal Alps has been taking place since July 2013. But two athletes cutting the finishing ribbon at the same time after 122 kilometres and 7554 metres of ascent, has not happened in any of the six previous years. Not until this Saturday, when Josef Thaler from Val d’Ultimo and Gerald “Sancho” Fister from Finkenstein in Austria shared this triumph in one of the most demanding trail runs in the world. 

The two completed the Hufeisen tour in an amazing 17:43.00 hours, and with that in the second fastest time ever for the Südtirol Ultra Skyrace. To beat the track record of Daniel Jung from Naturno (17:34.37), Josef Thaler and Gerald Fister would have had to be some 8 1/2 minutes faster. But even without a new best time, the two extreme athletes were extremely satisfied. “I am overjoyed. This race here is extremely technical. We started with a very high speed and really fought each other over the distance. Five kilometres before the finish, Josef [Thaler, editor’s note] and I then decided to arrive together. We could have continued our duel, but that might have handed the victory to another athlete”, Gerald Fister said in the finish. He was the first non-South Tyrolean to win the renowned Südtirol Ultra Skyrace.

Josef Thaler, on the other hand, followed in the footsteps of record winners Alexander Rabensteiner from Chiusa (4 victories) and Daniel Jung (2). “I did not reckon with this victory, although I had taken great care to prepare for this competition. I am at home in the mountains and I know how to move well in this terrain. In a flat marathon race I don’t think I would have had any chance of making the finish, it’s just not my thing. Running in front of your own family and friends is always really special, and it also makes it difficult. This win is definitely the most important one in my career to date”, Thaler, who lives in S. Valburga in Val d'Ultimo, told the waiting journalists.

Bosatelli in a strong third place

For a long time, it looked as though Oliviero Bosatelli could triumph in this year’s Südtirol Ultra Skyrace. In the section between Rifugio Kesselberg and San Genesio his two strongest opponents caught up with him, and the man from Bergamo finally finished in third place. A result that made the fire-fighter very happy: “It is sad that the first leg is run during the night and we don’t see anything of the wonderful panorama. And of course, I’m unhappy that I missed out on catching up with the two winners. But a third place is a brilliant result in a technical race like this. All praise is due to the organizers. The route is perfectly marked - it is almost impossible to go wrong.”

The best German extreme athlete, Matthias Dippacher (from Oy-Mittelberg), finished in fifth place - with the same time as South Tyrolean Josef Blasbichler. A further top favourite, South Tyrolean Peter Kienzl, had to give up after stomach complaints.

Wermescher first non-South Tyrolean to win

The women's victory went to the Hungarian Ildiko Wermescher, who lives in Landsberg am Lech and who won in 22:02.52 hours. The 54-year-old is the first non-South Tyrolean to win the Südtirol Ultra Skyrace. “It was extremely hard work today, although the conditions were really good. The route is unique”, Wermescher said. She had already finished second last year and had improved her time by 27 minutes this year. Second was Sarentino local athlete Regina Spieß, third was Julia Fatton from Switzerland.

Südtirol Skyrace: Depaoli fastest among the men - Kessler narrowly misses track record

Mattia Depaoli from Trentino was unbeatable on the 69-kilometre distance with 3930 metres of altitude differential. In his third year, the athlete from Altopiano di Vigolana, who finished third two years ago, won in 7:32.53 minutes. The podium was completed by Christian Stuffer from Val Gardena (7:43.22) and Oliver Helmboldt from Germany (7:50.31).

The women’s race was like a thriller. The fact that Julia Kessler would win the day was already apparent in Sarentino, when, having completed 42 kilometres, she tackled the remaining 27 kilometres without stopping at the refreshment station. In the end she won in 8:38.51 minutes - but missed the track record of Daniela Ömus from Germany from 2017 by more than 6 minutes. Irene Senfter (Lana) and Kerstin Dusch from Switzerland finished second and third.

Südtirol Sky Marathon: Perkmann and Thaler set new track records

On the marathon distance with 2863 meters of elevation gain, everything was set for an epic triathlon between two-times winner Daniel Rohringer from Austria, track record holder Andreas Reiterer from Avelengo and Hannes Perkmann from Sarentino. But while Rohringer and Reiterer had to give up due to injury, Perkmann raced on towards his home village as if on rail tracks. Below Forcella di Sarentino he suffered from serious cramps. However, the 26 year-old recovered relatively quickly and was the first participant in the South Tyrolean Sky Marathon to remain below the 4-hour mark in 3:58.05 hours. His ascent from the Bolzano basin to the Corno del Renon, which he completed in 2:00.02 hours, was sensational. Second place went to the former Norwegian biathlete Kristian Aalerud (4:32.14), Georg Widmann from Tramino finished third (4:33.25).

There was also a new track record in the women’s category: With a time of 5:08.38 Edeltraud Thaler virtually destroyed the previous record. For the Grand Dame of the South Tyrolean mountain run it was already the second victory in a row in the Südtirol Sky Marathon. Anna Clipet from Karlsruhe and Maria Kemenater, Ultra-Skyrace winner of 2017, will stand next to Thaler on the podium at the award ceremony on Sunday.

Südtirol Sky Trail: Brugger wins nail-biting final - Gräber undercut best mark

When two people argue, the third usually rejoices. It was not different at the Südtirol Sky Trail, Thomas Holzmann (San Genesio) and Armin Gögele (Tesimo) set the pace on the ascent to the stone cairns. Then Hans Rudi Brugger, the former captain of FC Südtirol, began his race to catch up. In San Genesio he overtook Gögele, a few hundred meters before the finish he passed Holzmann, who then increased his speed even more and ended up forcing Brugger to a sprint to the finish. In the end, the 38-year-old finished three seconds before Holzmann in 2:16.53 hours; Gögele finished third.

The third track record of the weekend was set by Anna Gräber. The athlete from Perca mastered the 27 kilometres and 1067 vertical metres from Sarentino to Bolzano in 2:36.56 hours. Elena Tomè from Trentino finished second, more than 20 minutes behind the winner, while Sophie Beringer from Zeillern, Austria, came in third.

More than 850 registered athletes had already set a new record for the number of participants in the run-up to the 7th edition of the Südtirol Ultra Skyrace. The extreme mountain race along the Hufeisen tour in the Sarntal Alps is organised by the amateur sports association of the same name. The organising committee is supported by partners Sportler, Dynafit and Raiffeisen. 

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