“It’s come about so quickly but I’m really looking forward to it,” Those were the words of our regular contributor, Shona Thomson, when she popped into the runABC office last week ahead of her trip to the Alps to run the Gore-Tex Transalpine Race in late August.
The Gore-Tex Transalpine Race sounds amazing. Can you explain a little about the event?
The Gore-Tex Transalpine Race (TAR) is one of the most challenging and scenic trail runs in the world. It is an 8-day event, taking in four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy), covering 270km and 16,300m of ascent.
I’m extremely excited to have been invited on the ‘Gore Inside and Outside’ experience. I’ll be running the second stage of the race which traverses much of the famed Arlberg region, known to most for its world-class skiing. There is no doubt it’s a tough route. The day starts in Lech on extremely steep trails leading up to the summit of the Rüfikopf (2,339m). The second main climb of the day takes us to Valfagerjoch (2,543m) at the top of the world-renowned Valluga ski-run. From there, it’s a steep downhill into St. Anton to the finish.
Whilst I’m out in the region, I will also be visiting the Gore European Centre of Excellence in Feldkirchen- Westerham to learn more about Gore-Tex® and Windstopper® products.
How is the preparation going?
I spend a lot of time in London these days, which isn’t really the best place to train for the Alps! However, I’ve been up in Scotland quite a bit this summer. Where my parents live has no shortage of hills. I’ve been doing my best to get up and down these as much as I can, especially the locally known hill called ‘Cardiac Brae'!
My strategy for the race is to climb most of the really steep ascents and run the downhill sections. It won’t be speedy but I’ll give it a strong consistent effort.
Have you had to get any special trail running kit?
Both Gore Running Wear and Ellis Brigham have very kindly kitted me out for the race. It’s hard to know exactly what the weather will be like so Gore Running Wear have provided a selection of running wear for all eventualities. This includes an Air Lady GT Active Shell jacket, a Mythos 2 Windstopper Softshell jacket, an Essential Lady hoody, Essential Lady Tights, an Air Lady shirt and Innov8 Roclite 282 GTX trail shoes.
Ellis Brigham has kindly provided carbon collapsible Black Diamond poles and a Salomon Trail Running Pack.
What are you most looking forward to about the trip?
The scenery and views. I’ve skied in Austria in winter and it’s just beautiful. However, I’ve not had the opportunity to do any trail running there. The whole area is powder heaven in winter so I imagine it is trail paradise during summer.
Of course! Any challenge is always a little scary. I’m pretty sure there will be times when my legs will want to give way on the killing ascents but there is no point worrying about that now!
When do you go?
I fly out to Munich on 28 August. I’ll be back early in early September so I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes in my next runABC column.
If you would like to run the Gore-Tex Transalpine Race, you can find out more details at the event website. You can view the kit Shona will be taking at the Gore and Ellis Brigham websites.