Organisers and participants – including a daredevil 82-year-old runner – had to overcome more challenges than usual at the third staging of the inov-8 Descent Race on the world’s most notorious ski slope.
Featuring an insanely steep gradient of 80%, the legendary Streif on the Hahnenkamm mountain in Kitzbühel, Austria is regarded as the toughest on the world cup ski circuit.
In this innovative event format, runners raced 350m down its fearsome slope, negotiating near-vertical blind drops as they went.
A 24 hour delay caused by storms pushed the event from Saturday to Sunday. Organisers and participants worked together as one team to ensure a successful, Covid-19 compliant event.
Runners from the UK, Italy, Germany and Austria individually slalomed their way down a course marked by red and blue ski flags. Many completed it twice, with their times added together to decide the final results.
To prove age really is no barrier, 82-year-old Austrian Hubert Zohrer took to the slope and ran the first heat in 2mins 15secs. Hubert, who left the second heat to the youngsters, said: “It was very steep but great fun.”
The winner, thanks to an incredibly fast first heat (53:88 secs), was Rene Claussnitzer, from Germany. Despite a fall in the second heat that resulted in a leg injury, Rene held on to win with a combined time of 1min 50.99secs. Second-placed Michele Roth was just 0.40secs behind, with Gregor Rom in third.
In the women’s race, Lisa Groll, winner of the inaugural event in 2018 and second last year, reclaimed top spot on the podium with a combined time of 2mins 44.86secs. Maria Magdalena Uberall took second place, with Veronika Schlogl in third.
The top-three in both the men’s and women’s races – plus the evergreen Hubert – all wore inov-8’s MUDCLAW G 260 V2 shoes with Graphene to get tougher grip on the downhill course.
The race was organised by Georg Uberall, an outdoor sports retailer from Kitzbuhel, who said: “It was a difficult weekend with the storm on Saturday, but thanks to the adaptability and commitment of everyone we were able to stage a brilliant race the following day.”
Lee Procter, Communications & Ambassadors Manager for inov-8, added: “Everyone got to grips with the tough course and demonstrated both skill and bravery to tame the world’s most notorious ski slope. There is no other race in the world quite like it!”The fourth inov-8 Descent Race will take place on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021. For entry details go to www.ueberall.cc/de/descent-race-kitzbuehel.html