Innsbruck: The perfect Trailrunning getaway
Innsbruck is, with almost 150.000 inhabitants, the capital city of the austrian state Tyrol and Austria’s fifth biggest town. With it’s perfect location right at the river Inn and surrounded by the high mountains of the Nordkette, which are part of the Karwendelgebirge seperating Bavaria in Germany and Tyrol in Austria, it is a very well known destination for outdoor lovers of all kind. Next to biking, climbing and classic hiking, it it also an interesting location for trailrunners.
Innsbruck is the venue of the yearly season opener for trailrunning in the Alps, the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival. In 2016 we ran the K25 Trail Half-marathon here and had a great time – this year we took the challenge to open our trail season with the K42 Marathontrail. 🙂
The trails around Innsbruck range from easy, relatively plain cart tracks to very technical, alpine paths up to over 2000 meters. It’s possible to start right from the city centre, or one can take the Hungerburg- and/or Nordkettenbahn to already start at a higher altitude. All the options offer great trails and views, with the panorama getting better the higher you get.
Due to the heavy snowfalls in the middle of April, all the routes of the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival had to be redirected to a lower altitude level on a REAL last-minute basis. Even the night before the race it was snowing and the orga-team of the IATF did an awsesome job: We didn’t get lost on 42K – and that means the marks were highly sufficient. 😉
K42 Marathontrail @ Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival 2017
After running several trail races und ultratrails in 2016, like the Hochkönigman and the Grossglockner Ultratrail, we decided to set the GORE-TEX Transalpine Run as our big trailrunning target in 2017. Although we only started running and training in mid March, we decided to run the marathon distance at IATF this year to see where we stand…
The IATF 2016 was a big success already, but this year over 1.400 runners are attending the event, making the IATF one of the biggest trailrunning events in the Alps. There are five distances (K15, 25, 42, 65 und 85) on offer and we are running the Trailmarathon with 42km and about 1300 altitude meters. The start of the K42 is where the K25 finishes and both together build a loop, the K65 distance – so this year we’re completing the loop with the second and longer part starting at Natterer See and finishing in the heart of Innsbruck at the Landestheatervorplatz.
As last year, the weather on raceday is just perfect and shuttle buses take us from the city centre to Natterer See, where a second race briefing (The first one was the evening before at the festival area) is hold. We meet some old friends from our Obstacle Racing Team Munich Elite Warriors at the start and as “The Eye of the Tiger” rings out, we’re off on the course.
The first 7k of the route are almost all downhill, which is perfect to warm up and to arouse your body for the upcoming challenge. And: It simply feels good to make meters without a lot of effort. 😉
The first checkpoint and food and drink station is called Bierstindl and makes us think about beer and brezn, but as we’re only around 8k in the race and not very exhausted, we pass by the first stop. The next 10k take us out of the city and over a slightly elevated and never steep hill to Ampass, where the second checkpoint is waiting for us. This section of the course comes up with some lovely forest trails and a very playful route, of which almost all parts are “runable”. As we’re no trained runners, we really struggle to run for longer distances, or above that we struggle to run steep or longer uphills, but the trails here are very welcoming for us. In Ampass we refill our water and take a little longer break to enjoy some oranges and cheese.
As last year, the checkpoints have plenty of snacks and even many different drinks to choose from. We go with Coke and apple spitzer in our hydra-bottles – into the (for us) hardest section of the course. Between Ampass and Hall and all the way from Thaur to Rechenhof, the course is almost all uphill and on a lot of concrete. Most of it is still runable and not steep, but at this point we start to feel our legs and the little training we had this year…
Nevertheless we know there is only one way to finish – and that’s the way UP!
Looooong 10k and “the road to recovery”
At least there are more than many checkpoints on this section of the route, where the K15 trail experience meets our path. We have to slow down a lot, but try to continue with a steady pace and keep on running the flat or downhill parts. The finish is near and the last 6k are all downhill again. Pushed by the 15k frontrunners that pass us with high speed, we mobilise our reserves and run down the serpentines towards the Inn. In more and more places people are cheering and motivating the runners and the last 2k along the river the leg pain is temporarily gone. To finish in the place where it all started last year, feels just great. Hundreds of people are in the festival area and at the finish line and after 5 hours and 34 minutes, even we are done. 🙂
For today we’re done, but after the race is before the next race – and next weekend the Garda Trentino Trail is waiting for us. Tomorrow is restday and we decide to stay another day in Innsbruck to attend the pasta party and price giving ceremony in the evening and to stretch our legs during a stroll around the city the next day. Thankfully we stay in a hotel only 600 meters from the festival area, where they even have a SPA and massages, which we gladly make use of the day after. 🙂
At aDLER’s Hotel Innsbruck you are not only right in the centre, but also have breathtaking views over the city and its surrounding mountains not only during breakfast and dinner, but also from your room.
The next day is just walking around, relaxing and taking many breaths of fresh air in the lovely old town of Innsbruck. We know the city quite well, but it’s always nice to explore some more corners of the capital of Tyrol. 🙂 The Innsbrucker Hofgarten is very welcoming with its fresh and green grass and from here we just gaze at the snow-covered mountains we ran around yesterday.
All in all we had a perfect trailrunning weekend and the start into the season couldn’t have been better.
Thanks so much INNSBRUCK, we will definitely be back in 2018! 🙂
We also took a nice little video which you can find on our brand new YOUTUBE-Channel, have fun watching: