A brutal run of 263 km with almost 30,000 m of ascent - why would anyone want to do that within a week? "What we do know about the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run," says Magdalena, "Maggy" Kalus (GER), "is that it’s one of the toughest multi-stage alpine races in the world." Anja Kaiser (GER), her running partner in the "You are an adventure story Salomon GORE-TEX" team says: "All we want to do is to cross the finishing line together and not have any injuries." That is easier said than done! In recent years, on average the "Drop-Out-Rate" has been 30 %. In other words, of the 300 teams that started the race, only about 200 teams have made it to day seven of the race. These include professional teams, amateur runners, mixed teams, young runners and older runners. The oldest female participant is 75 years old. It will be a monumental achievement if this accomplished athlete and her partner make it across the finishing line in Sulden am Ortler, after 263 km of sweat and toil. The two men who we’ll be watching closely as they race in the toughest category of all, the "Men’s" category, will also find the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run a formidable challenge. For Jamie Ramsay and Kev Foster (both from the UK) running has a very special meaning. Their team is called "Gore Adventure Runners" – and the name is remarkably appropriate seeing as they both embark on running adventures to get a break from their everyday lives. Jamie is a road runner and is used to running long distances on consecutive days. In 2015 he decided to stop doing what other people thought was good for him and to go his own way. He handed in his notice and set off to run a distance of over 17,000 km. Pushing a running stroller from beginning to end, he ran from Canada to Argentina, crossed 14 countries and wore out 17 pairs of shoes. Typically running 56 km a day, he traversed the Andes and crossed the Atacama Desert (700 km). Nevertheless, the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run has a special appeal for him:
It’s going to be completely different to anything I’ve ever done before. I’ve never faced the multiple challenges of a multi-day endurance event. And if there’s a race that fits the bill, it has to be the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run.
Jamie has been looking for adventure ever since he made that decision to change his life. He lives in a camper van and is "of no fixed abode". There are no prizes for guessing where he met Kev Foster (UK), his running partner. They met trail running. Kev commutes every Tuesday from Chamonix (F) to London. He leaves his cabin in the mountains on a quad bike and then drives to the airport. When he gets to London, he takes a bus and the underground. At nine o’clock sharp he’s sitting at his desk. Every Thursday he does the same trip in reverse. Asked "why" he does it, he says:
Running makes me feel free. I forget the stress of my everyday life and the pressure of work and can focus on what I want to do with my life. Chamonix is the perfect place for that.
It was Jamie who encouraged Kev to do the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run. They both agree that despite their experience it’s going to be a real challenge: "When you run at a major event, the mental aspect is incredibly important. We’ll also have to get our bodies used to the fact that there’s very little time to recuperate." Getting back to "Maggy" and Anja: they are both from Munich and will also be one of the 300 teams standing at the starting line in Fischen, in the Allgäu region of Germany. Their jobs are perfectly normal. Their lives, however, are anything but normal. They spend as much of their free time as possible looking for adventure. Maggy explains their fascination for adventure:
You never know whether an adventure will go as planned, it always involves a calculable risk.
The GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run is just the kind of adventure that Maggy and Anja are looking for. They both have tremendous respect for anyone who has managed to finish all seven stages of the race. Nevertheless, they have set themselves a clear goal: "For us amateur runners, the goal has to be to cross the finishing line within the allowed time and to do that without injury. Of course we’d like to be up at the front with the better runners, but we have to be realistic." At the "Elbrus World Race" they recently discovered for themselves just how brutal and unpredictable a race can be. Highly motivated and well prepared, they were hoping for a good result. However, that was not to be. Back pain and sudden nausea nearly forced them to give up. But that’s not part of their DNA. On Instagram they described themselves at the finish as "The Walking Dead". That’s exactly what makes these two athletes so special: they never lose their sense of humour or their ambition. They can push themselves hard but they also know their limits. And during the GORE-TEX Transalpine-Run they are very likely to reach their limits."Without proper preparation and the right equipment, it would be impossible to complete this incredibly tough run, especially as you have to keep up your performance for seven whole days," Anja says.
When you’re running in the mountains it’s vital that you have good shoes with a secure grip and, of course, the right clothing. You never know when the weather might change
The two teams agree on this point, trusting in the quality of GORE-TEX product solutions. If you want to learn more about our two teams have a look at full interview footage: [playlist type="video" ids="2752,2751,2753,2754"] Follow us on Facebook and Instagram