The tenth edition of the Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB took place this weekend and proved to be a race to remember, with stunning blue skies showcasing the alpine event in all its glory. Shen Jiasheng, (CHN) stormed to victory in the iconic E101 race, smashing the course record in the process while Katharina Hartmuth (SUI) had the dream race to take the tape as first female.
With the E101 race kicking off at 0400am on Saturday morning, a train of headtorches lit up the mountain trails as runners headed out from the world-famous mountain village of Grindelwald, straight uphill towards Große Scheidegg. As the sun rose, things started to heat up in both challenge and temperature as runners pushed on to tackle some of the most breathtaking mountains in the area, including the Faulhorn at 2,681m.
Elite runner, Jiasheng seemed to be taking it all in his stride however, as he ticked off the 6,700m of ascent in a blistering speed to cross the line with a new course record of 10:44:38. Speaking about the course, he said: “The scenery is very beautiful, with trails, pastures, and high mountains as well as intense climbs and difficult downhill routes. There is no doubt that this is an outdoor paradise that you should not miss!”
With his next race being the CCC at UTMB Mont-Blanc in August, this victory meant a lot to the Chinese athlete. He added, “I am delighted with the win here and this experience will be an unforgettable one for me. I ran very well in this race and controlled my mind and running rhythm well. This win has really helped with my confidence going into upcoming competitions.”
While Swiss athlete, Jean-Philippe Tschumi was unable to defend his title this time round, he shaved 15 minutes off his 2019 time, crossing the line in second place in 11:05:04 before embracing Jiasheng at the finish line. Yun Yanqiao (CHN) rounded out the podium in 11:35:28.
In the Women’s field, it was a heartbreaking start to the race for Swiss athlete, Kathrin Götz who was forced to pull up shortly after the start with a calf injury. With Götz being one of the favourites to win, the female race was now wide open. British athlete, Emma Pooley looked set to take the title until a fall in the latter part of the course slowed down her progress.
It was Swiss athlete, Katharina Hartmuth who was first to hit the red carpet and come out on top after putting together a perfectly executed race, finishing in 13:37:20.
As a previous volunteer at the race, it was a special day for Hartmuth. She said, “A dream come true. Taking the win at Eiger was just amazing and totally unexpected. Being able to race on one of the most incredible courses on a wonderful day just made me super happy. Thank you to the organisers, to all the volunteers and people cheering along the way – you were amazing.”
Pooley also commended Hartmuth after the race adding, “One of the things that made this a fun experience is the generous support of so many lovely volunteers at the aid stations, the amazing mountain panoramas and the kind and sympathetic encouragement from every runner who passed me. This is especially true for Katharina whose awesome victory was well deserved. This is trail running solidarity at its best.”
With six courses taking place over the weekend, including a new 250km team challenge, there was the perfect mix of competition and camaraderie between athletes as they all came together to take-in everything this bucket-list race has to offer.
The 50km Female winner, Rosanna Buchauer summed it up perfectly. She said, “I have wanted to race the Eiger Ultra for two years and 2022 was finally my chance to come to Grindelwald. The race went really well for me, and I had one of those rare flow days where everything comes together. I took some deep breathes of joy at the summit of Faulhorn where some of my family were waiting, and then loved the downhill and run towards Burglauene where more of my family were waiting and cheering.”
She added, “The last few kilometres were hard, and I had to give it my all but running on the red carpet and crossing the finish line as first woman was very special to me. I absolutely loved the entire weekend thanks to the perfect organisation, very helpful and nice supporters, and charming vibes at the village. Thank you!”
Hungary’s Eszter Csillag was second with Germany’s Daniela Oemus in third. The men’s 50km winner was Anthony Felber of France, with Leonard Mitrica (ROM) and Ramon Manetsch (SUI) in third.
View the full results from the Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB here.