I would like mozart100 by UTMB® be included in the list of “Thousand Things You Need to Do before you Die” – An interview with Josef Mayerhofer!

Από 30 Απρ 2022
Photo copyright: Jan Hetfleisch Photo copyright: Jan Hetfleisch

Salzburg, the city of Mozart, is an amazing place. It uniquely combines architecture, culture, music, landscapes with beautiful forests, green valleys, paths, lakes and rivers, but for the last ten years also sports with the extremely popular and successful Mozart100 by UTMB®Advendure returns - after the pandemic season - as media partner to the anniversary year of the event, which is now part of the "by UTMB®" list of races, it has significant changes, but most importantly it has kept all those unique features that have made it so popular in the trail running community. Race Director, Josef Mayerhofer, talks to Advendure about this year's event and the Mozart100 by UTMB® in general.

 

[Advendure]: Tenth and anniversary edition of mozart100 on June 18th and let's start the interview with probably the most important addition to the event. It is now part of the UTMB® World Series! How did this partnership come about and what do you - as an organization - expect from this development? How do you generally view this development around UTMB®, which has certainly shaken things up on the mountain running and ultra-trail scene worldwide?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: Trail running has been booming internationally for the past fifteen years with a steep increase in runners and in events. The event market became very fragmented with an enormous offer of races. Ultra Trail World Tour was the first attempt to create a global brand apart from UTMB. It served its purpose as the first worldwide circuit for trail events but was having many deficits by its nature. When UTMB Group and IRONMAN Group joined forces in 2021, it became clear that it would result in creating a strong international brand and event series. UTMB World Series will eventually comprise more than 30 races around the globe. It certainly is exclusive as athletes can only qualify for UTMB Finals through one of these events. Trail runners can also rely on top quality organization, emblematic venues and outstanding experiences.

 

Photo copyright: Jan Hetfleisch

 

[Advendure]: mozart 100 by UTMB® continues to include 9 races, for all wishes and abilities of the athletes who will participate. However, we noticed some changes in the two biggest races of 100 & &73Km. Would you provide us some more insight on these changes and the mozart 100 by UTMB® race bouquet in general?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: We were always striving to offer a vast choice of distances in order to meet the needs of all levels of runners. mozart 100 with 105 kilometers is the flagship competition with 35% of all athletes. The changes for mozart 100 and mozart Ultra are owed to the denial of one landowner to let us use the paths and trails on her property. But altogether the entire course is very attractive and stunning.

 

Photo copyright: Jan Hetfleisch

 

[Advendure]: 10 years ago you started with 250 athletes and I remember in our conversations, during previous Advendure participations in the event, how passionate you were about growing mozart 100. With more than 2,000 athletes this year from 60 countries and with the "By UTMB®" brand added, do you consider that you are reaching your initial goals for the event? Is there room for more growth?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: I had a long term plan for the event from the beginning and it was clear to me that it would need around ten years to develop the event to a critical size. My sale of the business to IRONMAN Group was not primarily inspired by the financial gain but by the potential of the race that could only be realized with a strong partner. In my opinion we still have much room for further growth.

 

Photo copyright: Jasmin Walter

 

[Advendure]: mozart 100 was one of the few very popular races that took place in 2021 (in September instead of its usual date in June), during the pandemic period. What are your impressions from the race? Are you happy with the organization and participation of athletes in a difficult year? Are there still some hygiene measures in place in Austria or races are back in their usual state, as it was before the pandemic?
[Josef Mayerhofer]: The Covid-19 pandemic was a big setback for humanity in general and for business in particular. We were very happy that we could hold an event last year, even if numbers were down by 50% compared to a regular year. I still feel some hesitance with athletes to participate in races or to travel in general. In Austria, all restrictions have been lifted except the need to wear a face mask in some place. We do not expect any restrictions until autumn this year though we have learned that we cannot be sure of anything with this virus.

[Advendure]: For mozart 100by UTMB® looks to be a year with a very strong field of athletes. Can you give us some big names in mountain running and ultra-trail that will compete in the Salzburger Land?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: The field, especially with males, is super strong this year. In the mozart 100 competition, we have more than 15 athletes with a UTMB index higher than 800. Hannes Namberger from Germany, Andreu Aymerich from Spain, Tobias Dahl Fenre from Norway or Marián Priadka are just a few names in the elite field. The strongest women are Azara García from Spain and Louise Clifton from New Zealand. On top we have international top athletes in mozart Ultra or mozart Marathon. And we have attracted top road runners from Africa with their first attempts on the trails.

 

Photo copyright: Jasmin Walter

 

[Advendure]: Would you like to give us some data on the distribution of athletes in the 9 races of the event? Which countries "lead" in the number of participants?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: mozart 100 attracts about 35% of all participants, 20% are registered for mozart Marathon, the rest is pretty equally distributed over the other competitions. In terms of nationality Austrians account for 30% of all participants. Germany as the neighboring country is the biggest nation with 25%, UK 9% and then a strong participation of Czechs, Polish, French, Belgians and several other nations.

Photo copyright: Jasmin Walter

 

[Advendure]: At the level that mozart100 has reached, the sponsors, private or public, and the support of the society of Salzburg and the surrounding areas is very important. Could you tell us a little about your main supporters?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: UTMB World Series has attracted three big sponsors, HOKA, Wahoo and Dacia in Europe. On top we can rely on the financial support of our local partners SalzburgerLand, the City of Salzburg and the Stiegl brewery.

 

Photo copyright: Jan Hetfleisch

 

[Advendure]: As the years go by, do you notice an increase of the local community interest for the event? Does the mozart 100 race success result in an increase of the locals’ interest for mountain running in general? Do you see more athletes training through the year on the trails of the race and visit SalzburgerLand for that reason?

[Josef Mayerhofer]: Austrians are not early adopters or followers in all areas of live. But trail running has attracted more and more local athletes in the past years. I am sure that our event has contributed to that development as well. For example, the Austrian champion in road marathon a few years ago will be on the start line of mozart 100 for the first time.

 

Photo copyright: Birgit Kramer

 

[Advendure]: Give us 3 reasons why an athlete should choose mozart 100 by UTMB®, compared to the dozens of races that take place during spring and summer in Europe. Especially if he/she comes from Greece .. 

[Josef Mayerhofer]: There is no other race but mozart 100 by UTMB® that finishes in the heart of an internationally renowned city. The event menu offers competitions for the everybody’s taste. The hospitality at our race is a key experience for everybody, our recommendation rate is more than 90%. And for Greeks in particular it certainly is cooler in Salzburg than in Greece at the point of time.

 

[Advendure]: What is your vision for the future of mozart 100?
[Josef Mayerhofer]: I would like mozart 100 by UTMB® be included in the list of “Thousand Things You Need to Do before you Die”.

 

Dimitrios Troupis

Δημήτρης Τρουπής

Κατάγεται από το Ξυλόκαστρο Κορινθίας και ζει μόνιμα στην Πάτρα. Συμμετείχε στην συντακτική ομάδα του Adventure Zone από το 2009, ενώ μαζί με τον Τάκη Τσογκαράκη ίδρυσαν και "τρέχουν" το Advendure.  Το τρέξιμο στα μονοπάτια των βουνών και η μεταφορά εικόνων και συναισθημάτων μέσα από τα άρθρα του αποτελεί αναπόσπαστο κομμάτι της ζωής του. Παθιάζεται με τους αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος, υπεραντοχής και  περιπέτειας. Έχει πολλές συμμετοχές και διακρίσεις σε αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος όλων των αποστάσεων, με έμφαση στους αγώνες ultra trail.  Θεωρεί ότι το τρέξιμο και η πεζοπορία στη φύση είναι μια εσωτερική ανάγκη του ανθρώπου, μας φέρνει πιο κοντά σε αυτήν και μας κάνει να αγαπήσουμε περισσότερο το περιβάλλον.

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