Dynafit Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021 | © PLAN B event company GmbH | Photographer: Andi Frank

04 Oct. 2021 · News | Summer Activities

DYNAFIT Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021

This year's DYNAFIT Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R started about a month ago in Hirschegg. From 04 - 11 September about 300 teams mastered the 7 stages from Hirschegg to Prad am Stilfser Joch. Our Kleinwalsertal athletes David Kögler and Daniel Jochum decided to participate in the RUN2 - a shorter version of the TAR. They mastered the first two stages from Hirschegg to St Anton am Arlberg with 150 other teams. David Kögler tells us why the preparation fell a little short and how they nevertheless achieved an outstanding result.

Dynafit Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021 | © PLAN B event company GmbH | Photographer: Andi Frank

Preparation? What is that?

The myth of the Transalpine Run. The western route of this legendary running event has often run through Kleinwalsertal. Many strong Walser runners have taken on this challenge in past years and mastered it with flying colors. When my sponsor Dynafit invited me to this event that starts right in front of my doorstep, it was quickly clear "da giits hüür kei Uusred mee" (there is no excuse anymore).

One person who knows the Transalpine Run very well is my best buddy, great cousin and coach Daniel Jochum. Accordingly, the question of a suitable team partner wasn’t hard. For me as a ski mountaineer, the preparation for the winter season starts in September. It quickly became clear that the load of 8 days of TAR would not fit into the training schedule. As my team partner was expecting the birth of his first child a few days before the start, we decide on the slimmed down, but no less enjoyable version - the two-day RUN2.

In the past months, my training was mainly limited to hiking and climbing in the Western Alps. Daniel also had a lot on his agenda with the birth of his child and his daily work. For both of us probably not the best basis for a trail running event that stretches over 92.1 km and about 3,500 m difference in elevation. But this did not dampen our motivation and we were really excited for the two race days!

Dynafit Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021 | © PLAN B event company GmbH | Photographer: Klaus Fengler

Day 1: And off we go!

Since the run literally takes place on our doorstep in Hirschegg, we leisurely stroll to the start on Saturday morning. About 300 Teams of the original TAR started already one hour before us. After some small talk with friends and our mayor, the alphorn players play "d'Hirschegger" in the most beautiful way. At 10:00 am the starting signal falls for us.

At a moderate pace the course leads along the Breitach towards Mittelberg/ Gemstelboden. Due to the shouts of the spectators along the course, the route to the Gemstelpass is easy for us. With a last view of our beautiful home valley, we continue towards Hohalp. The southwest face of the Widderstein looks down on us and the shepherd at the Hohalp asks with a smile on his face "pressierts eib Buaba?" (are you in a hurry, boys?).

A little later we catch up with the teams that started ahead of us. For overtaking on the downhill section towards Tannberg we needed to be very focused. Here at the Tannberg, I always imagine how our ancestors found their way into the valley of the Breitach about 700 years ago. Did they also sweat like we do today?! 😄

David Kögler & Daniel Jochum at Dynafit Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021 | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus

In the feeding zone at the Saloberbahn valley station, our Däda (fathers) are waiting with fresh drinks. A short downhill follows before the next long, blisteringly hot climb to the Mohnenfluhsattel. Daniel is starting to struggle from the past days between the delivery room and the daily work routine. Since we have known each other for 28 years (well, our entire lives), I know how capable he is of suffering and push him on. He suffers, but he fights! Fortunately, I have a good day and feel great. After a few salt tablets, gels, and a battle cry or two, we reach the saddle and face our destination for the day - Lech am Arlberg. After a last downhill we can win the first stage of the RUN2 with a lead of almost 35 minutes.

 

Since Lech, like Kleinwalsertal, is a Walser settlement, we feel a bit at home there. Many familiar faces that we know through music festivals and sports greet us at the finish line. Christiane Jochum, a Kleinwalsertal native who has "emigrated" to Lech, organizes a nice place for us to stay. Now it's time to eat, drink and regenerate... because there is still stage 2 to come. 😁

David Kögler & Daniel Jochum at Dynafit Transalpine Run powered by Volkswagen R 2021 | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen

Day 2: To the finish line!

The alarm clock rings at 05:45 am. Our legs feel a little bit heavy as we head towards the start zone. Our destination for the day is St Anton am Arlberg. In the first start block and the first row we can avoid the crowds of the runners. At 8:00 am we start directly into the first ascent - 800 hm up the Rüfikopf. We quickly find our rhythm and take it easy.

From the Rüfikopf, the first rays of sunshine accompany us on the descent to Zürs. From here our view sweeps over the Arlberg, the Tannberg and over to the Verwall Mountains. The Widderstein is also still clearly visible and seems to be watching us closely. Arrived at the feeding zone, the beverage flasks are changed, before it goes in the copied terrain in the direction of Alpe Rauz. Now it gets steep again!

A long ascent to the Ulmer hut follows. Just like the day before Daniel has to fight, I still feel fresh. We pass the next feeding zone, as we start the downhill to St Christoph with full vigor. As we run towards our destination and hear the loudspeaker announcements in St Anton, all efforts are forgotten. We cross the finish line arm in arm and are warmly welcomed as winners of the RUN2. A short interview, shaking hands, and then the longed-for finisher beer.

We sit down in the deck chair, reflect on the last two days and are almost a bit wistful that it is over for us. But knowingly after TAR is before TAR! 😉

Tour Rund um den Widderstein | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Dominik Berchtold

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