The 10th edition of the trail running event Matterhorn Ultraks in Zermatt was a special one for the SCOTT team. The weekend started already on Friday morning with the “Extreme” race (25km, 2876m D+), and it was exactly that… extreme! Due to heavy rain and wind, the race started with one hour delay and the course had to be redirected, as it was too dangerous for the runners to go up to the mountain ridges. SCOTT athlete Iris Pessey, coming in 3rd last year, pushed hard and did not let the rain, wind or technical terrain throw her off her game. She reached the finish after 3 hours and 8 minutes in 2nd place.
After an afternoon of rest, Iris also participated in the Vertinight on Friday evening. A vertical race (6.3km, 1000m D+) by night from Zermatt to Schwarzsee, where she finished again in 2nd place. In the men’s race, SCOTT athletes Fred Tranchand and Stephan Wenk added to the count of podiums with a 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Saturday morning started with a clear view onto the Matterhorn, beautifully lit by the sun. At 7:00am it was time for Jo Meek, Kristina Madsen, Alex Nichols and Cody Lind to tackle the “Sky” race (49km, 3600m D+). Already after the first big climb from Zermatt to Gornergrat at 3130m, Alex was in the lead with Cody only 3 minutes behind. For the middle section, the two black and yellow athletes kept the pace equal, but then from kilometer 35, Alex still had the legs to push hard for the last uphill and really crushed the final downhill to the finish line, taking 1st place in 5 hours and 18 minutes. Cody Lind finished 3rd in 5 hours and 40 minutes.
In the women’s race, Jo Meek and Kristina Madsen managed fantastic performances with a 6th and 21st place overall respectively.
Kristina said: “The only thing hurting after this race are my cheeks from constantly smiling. It was such a beautiful and fun race. I may be back next year!”
After finishing on the podium in the Vertinight, SCOTT athlete Stephan Wenk, started the next morning in the Mountain race (32km, 2000m D+). For a long time, he was challenged by Enock Kipkemboi from the Breaveheart Runners Team. But his experience in these types of races made the difference, crossing the finish line in 1st place, after 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Our Kenyan athletes experienced Zermatt, and a trail running race, for the first time with impressive results. For some of the Braveheart Runners it was not only their first trail race, but also their first time in Europe. Three members of the team made the trip to Switzerland from Kenya and were rewarded with glorious conditions in the Mountain and Active races. Close finishes made for some exciting racing.
On Saturday, Enock Kipkemboi and Sarah Jerop took on the Mountain race (32km, 2000M D+). After a fast start, Enock took the lead ahead of fellow SCOTT athlete, Stephan Wenk. He held his lead until the 4th checkpoint and highest point of the course (Schwarzsee) where he began to tire. Enock made it to the finish line just 19 seconds behind second place after 2 hours 55 minutes and 58 seconds of running. It was a great result for him and bodes well for the future. Sarah similarly started hard and took an early lead. After a tough climb at Schwarzsee and coming into Stafelalp she was 2 minutes down on the leader. However, she descended the mountain well but couldn’t quite catch first place, finishing in 2nd place, 22 seconds behind in 3 hours 48 minutes and 10 seconds.
Sunday was the day of the “Active” race (19.5km, 1150m D+). Daisy Jepkosgei started strong and stayed in a podium spot until a moment where she took a wrong turn and 4th place passed her and went into 3rd. Daisy did her best to close the gap but unfortunately couldn’t and finished 18 seconds behind in 1:44:44.
With two podium finishes and a very close one for Daisy, the team performed exceptionally well and it was great to have them in Switzerland at a SCOTT sponsored event.
Alistair Davidson, Founder of the Braveheart Runners, said: “The team thrived in the mountains and were in awe of the Matterhorn. It is so special to have the support of SCOTT to bring these athletes to experience European trail racing.”