adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships
adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships
Press Release 22 June 2018
At 5:00 pm on Friday, June 22nd, 74 teams and 98 individual runners took part in the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships Prologue in Gastein/SalzburgerLand. More than 20 countries were represented and the runners swarmed across the valley and up the mountain side despite inclement weather from start to finish. The race was forced to be shortened as at the peak of Stubnerkogel mountain, the temperature dropped to nearly freezing and the winds gusted mercilessly. Italian, Martin Dematteis took home the first place prize but with finish times between 1:23 and 1:30, team adidas INFINITE TRAILS finished as the top group. This means that the favorites coming into the Championships will start first on Sunday.
As a cool wind swept through Bad Hofgastein, the 300+ runners of the first ever aIT Prologue crowded towards the starting line in the Alpen Arena. Several of the top teams pressed their way to the front of the line and the “elite men’s team” and eventual winning group made up of Timothy Olson, Dmitry Miyaev and Luis Alberto Hernando were prominent.
This “elite team” has been widely considered as favorites for the World Championships but had some stiff competition from the other adidas athletes as well as plenty of pros and amateurs from all over the world during the Vertical Open.
At the first aid station, Kongresszentrum in Bad Gastein after 7.8 km, there were two clear leaders. American, Joshua Eberley and Spaniard, Luis Alberto Hernando (both adidas TERREX athletes). They established a blistering pace during the flat portion of the run - nearly 8 km in just over 28 minutes - and didn’t seem inclined to slow down. Michelle Maier (Team aIT Global) was the leading lady, crossing this point in 32:42.
As the leaders approached the second and final aid station at Altböckstein, Eberley and Hernando were joined up front by Swiss runner, Werner Marti (Team aIT multi-mix) Lou Tao (Team adidas China) and Martin Dematteis. This final stop before the finish line was after 12 km and 1,000 vm of running and the top five runners managed it in under 45 minutes. Dmitry Mityaev at this point snuck into the top ten and his teammate, Timothy Olson, trailed five minutes behind as the leading runners started their steep vertical climb.
As the runners fought through a progressively colder route, the top-ten was represented by nine different countries. A few of the leaders were those only participating in the Vertical Openand not in the World Championships and the top of this group was Martin Dematteis. The veteran runner and adidas TERREX team member had only recently dropped out of the Championships due to an illness suffered by his teammate and brother, Bernard. He and Josh Eberley raced neck and neck while Luis Alberto Hernando was just steps behind as they headed towards the peak.
With bad weather conditions in mind, the race director decided on short notice that he would be forced to not allow competitors to run over the Stubnerkogel bridge and that they would have to end the Prologue in a different location than originally planned. The total distance was changed to 15.5 kilometers and the finish line was moved to the Stubnerkogel mid-station.
The goal was shortened but the final point was reached first by the Italian, Dematteis after just over one hour and 20 minutes. He reacted as he reached the finish line:
“I ran very fast in the flat portion so in the vertical part I was a little tired but it was Okay. I enjoyed myself and for me it was easy because I do not run Sunday. I am happy and today I dedicate this win to my twin brother who was sick and could not be here,”
The elite men’s team of Mityaev, Hernando and Olson (Team aIT) all managed to finish in the top-20, were the best trio of the day and will be the first in line to start the World Championships on Sunday.
Timothy Olson had this to say after he crossed the finish line:
“The race was really flat at the beginning but then it started to go uphill and I was just starting to feel good when it ended. I always feel better as the race goes on so it was a bit disappointing when it ended early but it’s all good and it’s on to Sunday.”
For the female runners, the elite women’s team (aIT Global) of Ekaterina Mityaeva, Michelle Maier and Alexandra Hauser, were dominant. In the female category Maier and Hauser finished first and second respectively and Mityaeva finished seventh easing them into the first place spot in their category and sixth place overall.
The Global team did have some good competition from Team aIT Gails Gone Wild, made up up Abigail Levene, Abigail Mitchell and Lena Kropf. Mitchell finished 6th, Levene 11th and their partner came in 29th as their team finished at 20th overall and second in the female category.
Abby Levene was a little disappointed that they cut the race short but felt good about her performance overall.
“I was a bit bummed that they cut the race short because I was just starting to feel good. The run started really flat and then boom it went up in a steep incline, something much tougher than I usually experience in the states. But then it got to be really runnable which is why I am a bit disappointed. I still really enjoyed it.”
The top of the mixed category was team aIT Alpen, with two men - Adrian Niski and Marcel Höche and one woman,Deborah Chiarello. Their team was placed seventh overall and they will have a good starting time on Sunday after a very nice Prologue.
The best amateur trio of the night was German team Gamsbock 1 who finished with an average time of 1:36. They finished in the top-ten at eighth place and will be a group to pay close attention to on Sunday.
All in all, there was a bit of bad luck that due to weather the race was forced to be shortened but despite that, the evening went off without a hitch and everyone made it safely to the after party. The teams which were expected to do well didn’t let us down and the order is now set for the lineup on Sunday. The first ever adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships Prologue - the Vertical Open - is in the books and now we have two long days to wait until we know who will be crowned as victors of the team relay trail running World Championships.