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Advendure at the Grossglockner Ultra Trail 2018! Interview with Mr. Hubert Resch, head of the race!

Από 09 Μαΐου 2018

In July 2016, we participated in a new, exciting and tough ultra-trail race, the Grossglockner Ultra-Trail, which left us with the best impressions, both organizational and of course for its amazing route around the highest mountain of Austria. This year, Advendure returns to the “Black Mountain” and its trails, finding the race in its 4th year, with the addition of a new 75 km race, changes to the 119 km main ultra-trail race, lots of runners from more than 40 countries (and of course, from Greece), great names of the world stage of mountain running, but with the same passion and family atmosphere that the organization had when we first met it before a couple of years. Read today at Advendure, an exclusive interview of Mr. Hubert Resch, head of GGUT, which sheds light on all the information regarding this year's event (27-29 of July 2018), as well as the mountain running in general.


[Advendure]: When we visited Kaprun in 2016, we were impressed by the "warmth" and the family atmosphere that existed among all those who participated in the event, the volunteers, the region's businesses, and the tourism authorities that they were seeing the Grossglockner Ultra Trail as a chance to showcase the wider region. Now that the event has grown significantly, does this beautiful climate and enthusiasm remain? Does the wider region continue to embrace the race with the same passion?

[Hubert Resch]: GGUT is growing steadily and – in the last years – rapidly J Therefore, the organization is under permanent adaption and amendment which means still a challenge to us. For instance PR Team on the race weekend has grown to around 20 persons (incl. our GGUT-Studio, photographers, video, etc). However, our management team, it just got bigger a bit. In the management team we are now 9 friends working over the year and meeting on regular basis. In addition to our friendship, diversity is key: 3 out of 9 are woman and the age is from 29 to 62. And the spirit and fire in us remains, as well as the friends and family character of the race J.

The involvement of the regions is also growing constantly, also because they recognize that the trail community is really nice people. The main growth of the whole organization comes from locals and outsourcing, mostly to local companies.


[Advendure]: There are technical changes this year, with the start of the 119K race being rolled out an hour earlier (22.00), tightening the thresholds on the cut-off points, and also by adding a 75K race with 4,000m of positive altitude . Tell us about the philosophy of these changes, and also about the decision to add another very strong race to the GGUT 2018 bouquet.

[Hubert Resch]: 2018 welcomed a new race in the GGUT family, the Grossglockner Trail 75 k. Basically, the idea is to fill the gap between KKT 50 and GGUT 110. We recognized the goal of several runners to make the whole tour around Grossglockner once in their life, but the step from KTT 50 to GGUT 110 seems a bit large, so that GGT 75 could be an intermediate step to GGUT 110. On the other side, GGT 75 offers a great and beautiful challenge for experience runner with a too intense race agenda to run 110 k.

The rest of minor technical changes, a bit earlier starting time, and stricter cut-offs are continuous improvement. For the whole organization the 2nd night in very exposed territory at Kapruner Törl, 2.639 m and extreme technical terrain meant a risk for runners and organization, in particular under bad weather. Do you remember this part, Dimitrios? Thus, we planned cut-offs in a way that all runners have crossed this part when night falls and had to reduce them a bit in Kals and set further cut-offs in the 2nd part of the race. But the race is still open until Sunday 03 am and the overall available time is 29 hours which is in average in a line with similar races, like TDS. We also have analyzed the intermediate times in Kals and around 10 – 15 runners would have been affected if we have had that last year. That is the compromise we had to make. Still you have to be very well prepared when you want to make the whole tour.


[Advendure]: How is progress of the registration procedure to the races of the GGUT 2018 so far? Are there any world-class athletes who will run this year at the "Black Mountain"?

[Hubert Resch]: We have been growing every year and this year is the same. Based on current registrations we expect 1.500 runners from more than 40 nations, including a growing community from Greece J

The attraction of top runners is tremendous for us: You will meet international top stars like Gediminas Grinius, Pau Capel, Andrea Huser, Juliette Blanchet, Kristin Berglund, Peter Kienzl, Tom Farbmacher, Janosch Kowalczyk, Marjan Zupancic, Lukas Naegele, Sacha Devillaz, Petru Muntenasu and GGUT winners Markus Amon and Klaus Gösweiner.

Furthermore, titel sponsor DYNAFIT sends several top runners, inter alia Johanna Erhart (2 times winner Weissee Gletscherwelt), Markus Stock (2 times winner KTT 50 k), Michael Geisler and the two rookies Hannes Namberger und Maria Koller. Together with the Salomon athletes Sandra Koblmüller Matthias Baur, Markus Schoiswohl, and many more the "who is who" of Austrian and German top runners will be at one of the starting line.


[Advendure]: With the experience you gain so far, but also by listening to the hundreds of athletes who have finished the Grossglockner Ultra Trail, what are the difficult points in the races of the event and of the Grossglockner Trail 75K who makes a debut appearance this year?

[Hubert Resch]: The main challenge in all races remains the altitude, the high passes, steep and long climbs + downhills and the technical terrain. GGUT 110 runs for more than 70 % higher than 2.000 m, with 4 passes higher than 2.500 m. We therefore consider altitude acclimatization prior as key for the race. For the same percentage the trails run on very technical terrain. In addition to technical running experience keeping concentration and a strong will are essential. In any case, you should have experience in long distance trail running. As regards GGT 75 the race starts with a direct climb from 1300 m to 2800 m, so it will be important get over that without overpowering.


[Advendure]: "What the runners will never forget is the dusk and dawn of the sun up there - you will be impressed Dimitris!" … I almost “listened” to these words inside me when I was – back in 2016 - at the dawn of the day at the Untere Pfandlscharte pass at 2,663 meters altitude. I strongly remember the deep and warm wave of emotion and inner energy that I felt up there. Having run and also writing for the 110 K race, I personally know how impressive landscapes - like what I said - are out there. Which parts of the route are considered to be truly unique in terms of their beauty and the experiences that the athlete will experience from there?

[Hubert Resch]: Certainly the area from Untere Pfandlscharte (km 30) along Grossglockner to Kals (km 62) are extremely scenic. A second beauty is the Dorfertal (km 65) over Rudolfshütte to Kapruner Törl, from gentle slopes, over Dorfersee and Weissee into rogh high alpine territory with rocks and glaciers.


[Advendure]: In the last few years, many races have struggled to join major series, such as the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series and the Ultra-Trail® World Tour. You are following an autonomous course, with great success I would say. What do you think of these series of races that do not seem to be particularly touching you?

[Hubert Resch]: Thank you for the compliment J We are following all these developments closely and these series are very successful. We furthermore think that ITRA, although not a race series, is providing a very good work for our sport. Being part of a race series has advantages and disadvantages. To that end, we felt that remaining more independent fits better to us and Dynafit. And the tremendous field of international top runners proves that apparently we are not so wrong. But nothing is forever and we keep following these developments closely.


[Advendure]: From its very first edition, the Grossglockner Ultra Trail had Dynafit as a key sponsor, a company that we have seen from our participation in the race in 2016, but also knowing its philosophy - since it works closely for years with Advendure - is inspired by a similar way of approaching the mountains with you as far as ultra-trails are concerned. Tell us a few things about this collaboration.

[Hubert Resch]: We are very, very happy and proud to have Dynafit as a title sponsor and partner. We just have extended our cooperation until 2020 and intensified our cooperation. Part of it is that we have also extended the services for all our runners, e.g. with the nice starter gifts. Dynafit and GGUT fit perfectly together and we are growing together. Dynafit has also a clear focus on Grossglockner ULTRA-TRAIL; just recently they have presented their Grossglockner Ultra-Trail collection, which is a variety of high-end trail running must haves from tip to toe coming in 2019 - it is tremendous. This is a major step forward. But almost as important is that we constantly work on the improvement of the race together with their team, in particular Michael Költringer. For us this counts more and has more value than the overall sponsor payment according to our contract.


[Advendure]: For athletes who will make an early-bird registration, there are significant gifts, and so is the race-pack that we will receive with our bib-number at Kaprun. Give us an idea about the race benefits to the athletes, and also about any parallel events that will take place at the race weekend.

[Hubert Resch]: Dynafit provides a very nice Dynafit Vertical 4 back pack for starters of GGUT 110, GGT 75 and KTT 50 as a starter gift. Runners on GWT 30 receive stylish Dynafit sleeves. We provide our runners several goodies in addition for instance free entry for all runner into the spa of our partner Tauern Spa Kaprun.


[Advendure]: I remember from my participation in GGUT 2016 that I had a live-tracking device with me, since the 119K race had high and exposure passes, extensive snowfields and wide opening between the athletes. Will we have them this year? How can anyone from Greece watch the progress of the race?

[Hubert Resch]: Together with our timing partner we will provide a high end live tracking solution – Datasport Live Gold. We have developed and improved this tool significantly. What no one at the race or at home should miss is our GGUT Studio, 24 hours cut and moderated live reportage of the race on FB.


[Advendure]: From June 29 to July 1st, this year’s GGUT Trailrunning is also being organized, which is also combined with Dynafit product testing. What is the progress of participation in this camp? How do you see similar moves that combine camp training (and seminars) on racing routes?

[Hubert Resch]: Our GGUT camp is offered by our partner Sportalpen for the 2nd time this year and it is almost sold out. I think it provides a very good opportunity to learn from top runners like Markus Amon, to check the track of the race and finally to spend a nice weekend with friends. For us it is a nice complimentary service to our customers and friends, also for those who cannot join this year. Looking a bit into the future, there are further similar offers under planning and we are also considering to set-up GGUT 110 as permanent route together with the partners from the GGUT regions.


[Advendure]: You reached the 4th year of the Grossglockner Ultra Trail. Are you feeling close to what you had imagined for the race when you first started it? What is your vision of the future?

[Hubert Resch]: It is almost incredible but the figures of annual participants are in a line with what we planned 2014. If you set yourself a specific goal it is most likely that you will achieve it because it makes you act focused. Financially we stick to constantly investing in the quality of the event and this is also in plan. We have a clear vision for 2020: Our vision is to become Austria's greatest and most international trail running event and to be considered as a major race on the European scale. There is still something to do, but there is also a bit of time!




[Advendure]: There is no doubt that there is a tremendous worldwide rise of interest in mountain running and ultra-trail. What are your thoughts about the things happened in our sport, what are the possible dangers for races and athletes, and what trends do you see dominating in the future?

[Hubert Resch]: Huh, … we are very happy that the market is globally still growing. We and our partners from tourism are also happy to welcome so many international guests and show them some of Austria's most beautiful places. (65 % of the runners of the field come from abroad).

On the other side our area is environmentally sensitive, since most of the track runs through the national park Hohe Tauern. Thus, the growth of the race is limited and we do not want to create a mass event anyway.

We also recognize that the growth of tourism in the Alps will reach its peak one day, because there will be some point where the growth is not sustainable and the locals will not accept that any more. Look for instance at the discussion of limitation access to Venice or other hot spots. But there is still room for development, but we need to act sustainable and prudent and not to grow too fast or endless.


[Hubert Resch]: Thanks a lot for the interview and looking forward to seeing you in Kaprun J

[Advendure]: Thank you Mr. Resch for the great conversation and the information for this year’s edition of the Grossglockner Ultra Trail. See you in Kaprun!


Dimitrios Troupis

Photo ©: Grossglockner Ultra Trail, Wisthaler.com Photos, andifrank.com

Δημήτρης Τρουπής

Γεννήθηκε στο Ξυλόκαστρο Κορινθίας το 1969 και ζει στην Πάτρα τα τελευταία 30 χρόνια. Συμμετείχε στην συντακτική ομάδα του Adventure Zone από το 2009, ενώ μαζί με τον Τάκη Τσογκαράκη ίδρυσαν και "τρέχουν" το Advendure.  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 στην φύση μας βοηθά να ενισχύσουμε την περιβαλλοντική ευαισθητοποίηση μας.


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