Next up in the 2022 UTMB World Series is one of the most demanding but spectacular events on the calendar, the Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB based at Grindelwald in Switzerland on 13-17 of July which has been a major feature of European trail running since its launch in 2013.
With six courses including a new 250km team challenge – the E250 UNESCO Jungfrau-Aletsch Trail with 20,000 meters of ascent which has been introduced for this 10th anniversary year – these races are set against the imposing and majestic north face of the Eiger in spectacular mountainous scenery featuring rustic valleys and the largest connected glaciated area in the Alps.
For individual competitors and runners competing as couples, the E101 Ultra Trail, features stunning panoramic views but also some tough climbing with 6,700 meters of ascent. Among those toeing the startline will be the celebrated Swiss female athlete Kathrin Goetz who won this event in both 2018 and 2019 and for whom this is very much a home race.
“I always look forward to going to Grindelwald for the Eiger Ultra Trail,” she said this week. “It’s a race that’s very close to where I live; I know the course well now and the atmosphere there is always great.”
The winner of the La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB in 2019, Goetz would love to complete a hatrick of wins at Grindelwald, but her build-up has been far from easy. After finishing third at the Madeira Island Ultra Trail at the end of April, she came down with Covid-19 which derailed her training for nearly two months.
“I could not train in the usual way,” she explained. “Then a fortnight ago, I suffered a muscle injury in my calf, which prevented me from running again. Now I hope that I can still benefit a little from my base (training) from the spring and the bike workouts. I am looking forward to the race.”
Also competing in the women’s E101 Ultra Trail race is China’s Xiang Fuzhao, and the UK’s Emma Pooley. In the men’s race, an exceptionally strong turn-out of Chinese runners including Shen Jiasheng, Yun Yanqiao, Canhua Luo and Zhao Jiaju and likely to be vying for podium places. The Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB also features races over 52km, 36km and 16km, and a fun “Trail Surprise” with a route only revealed three days before the start, offering something for all ages and levels of experience.