The UTMB World Series Finals is just around the corner and the KAT100, set in the Kitzbühel Alps in Tyrol, Austria, represents one of the last stops before the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) takes place in a month’s time.
Six races are set to take place, with five offering UTMB Running Stones to competitors. The showpiece event is the 100 Mile race, which has 9,820m of elevation gain across over 170km of Alpine trail.
Stern looks to step up
Christian Stern and Esther Fellhofer will be carrying the Austrian flags on August 3 in their home race, with both looking to claim the 100 Miles title at the KAT100.
For Stern, the race will be his latest opportunity to make the jump the 100-mile category. He has a string of podium finishes in races in his home nation, and will look to clinch another famous win on home soil.
“After two failed attempts, I finally want to finish a 100-mile race and I am really looking forward to getting to know the Kitzbühel Alps better,” he said in the build-up to the race.
“My preparation going into this race was satisfactory and my goal is to get a fixed starting place for the UTMB World Series Finals in 2024.”
He will face tough competition from Italy’s Alexander Rabensteiner, who won the 100 Mile race at KAT100 in 2019.
“I am looking forward to returning and competing in the KAT100 again after four years,” he explained.
I hope to have a great day and to also enjoy the scenery around the course.
“My preparation went very well, but as ever with the 100-mile distance there can be a minor or major crisis.
“My goal is to reach the finish line healthy and in a good mood.”
Fellhofer braving busy schedule
Whilst the KAT100 might be new to the UTMB World Series, the race has plenty of history as Fellhofer knows well.
Last year she won the women’s race and came second overall in the KAT100 92km Endurance Trail, and now she’s looking to step back up to the bigger distance event, having won this event in 2021.
That comes despite her recent victory in the Ultra 105K at Trail 100 Andorra by UTMB, while she is also set to compete at the UTMB World Series finals too.
“The main reason I chose to race between Andorra and the UTMB World Series Finals was because these are my home mountains where I used to train, and I really like this region for trail running,” she explained.
“This event has been part of my race calendar for three years and I am really looking forward to the first uphill to Wildseeloder and the sunrise on Kitzbühler Horn.
“The main goal is to finish, and it would be even better if I can finish faster than I did in 2021.”
Shorter distances offer serious challenge
The KAT100 also offers a number of shorter distance races, with the 92km KAT100 Endurance Trail on August 3 a highlight.
Jiasheng Shen leads the name of international runners in attendance, having recently finished fourth at the Western States 100 Endurance Run on his 100-mile debut. Norway’s Anders Kjaerevik, Italy’s Riccardo Montani and Spaniard Cristofer Clemente Mora will all be near the top of the race, while German Ida-Sophie Hegemann is the favourite in the women’s category.
Meanwhile, Bartlomiej Przedwojewski is favoured for the 48.2km Marathon Trail on August 5, which has 3,220m of elevation gain.
There are also two team races, with the Ekiden 2 and Ekiden 4 seeing runners take on the 100 Mile route in those respective numbers.
You can follow the KAT100 by UTMB live HERE.