We did it! Running uphill & trail running is one of the things I love most about running (I´m still more of a cycling girl …).
One late night last fall while watching a video of last year´s Grossglockner Berglauf, I suggested to Roland to register for this tough uphill challenge: 12,9 km trail running ascending 1500 m from Heiligenblut to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs Höhe.
“What a stupid idea – why am I doing this to myself?” – my thoughts in the starting area – just until the DJ played “Highway to hell” … reminding me of our Transalp Challenge experience 2 years ago – And as soon as we started running, my focus shifted to the beautiful nature in Austria´s Nationalpark and I started looking forward to crossing the finish line with my favourite running mate.
The first 6km of the race were well known to us – the day before, we explored the first part of the route (at least the first 6km and a third of the 1500 meters to climb): the route is starting easy on 1 km of flat asphalt road, ascending quickly through couple of switchbacks, first on asphalt, then on a steep gravel path taking you up to Sattelalm and the first food station – 4,6k and 400 meters of climbing done!
The next 2 kms are first flat and slightly downhill, passing Bricciuskapelle (don´t forget to wash you eyes with the water coming from the spring just below this little chapel named after Saint Briccius – it´s said to strengthen your eye-sight) and further on to a beautiful waterfall “Leiterfall”. This is where it gets really steep for the first time – you start climbing over rocks & roots (partly on all fours) towards the next pit stop – Trogalm at 1874 m (another 200 meters of climbing done … just 900 to go …).
Continuing on a nice little trail, slightly up & down, then some more climbing up to “Margaritzenstausee” – a barrier lake collecting melting water from the Pasterze, Grossglockner´s glacier tongue. That´s when I thought – ok, just around the lake, then the last steps up to the finish line … well, not quite: first another climb over a small “hill” – another 0,3 kms climbing 100 meters over rocks.
Running down and along the little lakes called “Sanderseen” – sandy/rocky beaches in the middle of the Alps at about 2100 meter of altitude. We could already hear the cheering of the crowds from the finish line … still another 3 kms and 300 altimeters to run.
Around the corner of the little dam we could see the crowds at the finish line for the first time – approaching the final pit stop, literally 300 meters below the finish line – 1 km of steep & rocky steps left … accompanied by the cheering of the crowds, the speaker at the finish line, great music from the DJ we fought our way up the “wall” … ouch, that hurt …
A little chat with the speaker about 200 meters before the finish line – then another “sprint” (at least it felt like that after crawling up the steps) and YESSSSSS … crossing the line with a smile – what a great run!!!
A big applause to the perfectly organised event – want to mention that even if we came among the last 25 finishers. The food stations at the finish line was still well stocked, they offered a hot soup, sandwiches, teas, a warming plaid and a lot of cheering people! Can only recommend this uphill challenge, it´s a world-class event in an unique landscape – overlooked by Austria´s highest peak Grossglockner at 3798m.
Check out the complete profile of the run & GPS Data for dowload:
PS: Join us at next year´s Grossglocknerlauf? Register here – hurry up, it´s quickly sold out!