Image credit: Siya Ndzimande/Jan Hetfleisch

2,000 participants from 60 nations were at the start line of the tenth edition of the mozart 100 by UTMB® last weekend.

The bright sunshine and great views of the Salzkammergut were welcome, but the heat also made running along the trails a huge challenge.

For those running the 105 kilometre event, the race began at 5:00am on Salzburg’s Kapitelplatz at the foot of Hohensalzburg Fortress. The beautiful trails with around 5,000 metres in altitude led the runners via Hinterwinkel and along the Fuschlsee, up to the Zwölferhorn, after that via St-Gilgen to the Schafbergalm and from there back via Fuschl am See to Salzburg with the finish line on Kapitelplatz.

The mozart 100 race was an exciting head-to-head race with several lead changes during the run. In the end, Janosch Kowalczyk (GER) crossed the finish line on the Kapitelplatz in Salzburg as the winner after 9:36.09.

After the race he said: “I prepared for the mozart 100 for six months. It was a very demanding race, the heat made running even more challenging, so I divided the race tactically in such a way that I held back a bitat the beginning because I knew that the last few kilometres would be very tough. I really enjoyed the trails, it was a great course with many highlights and I am very happy about my victory.”

Andreu Simon Aymerich (ESP) led the race for a long time and was able to gain a seven-minute lead during the competition. He finished second in 9:44.59. “I definitely wanted to win, but I’ve had a few difficult weeks and I’m initially very happy that I was able to start an ultra trail run again. It was a beautiful course and I’m happy that things are eventually getting better again and I‘m also happy with my second place here at the mozart 100.”

Former Austrian national marathon champion from 2015, Karl Aumayer, finished 21st in his first ultra trail run and drew a very positive balance after his debut: “After the second big climb after the Schafberg, I was able to pick up speed again until Fuschl at 75km, but then I realized that I was entering an area that I simply didn’t know, so the last kilometres became quite hard. It was a great event, big compliments to everyone involved, everything from the marking of the course to the organization at the aid stations was perfect, and the course is just beautiful anyway. It was hot, but when you can enjoy the view of the Salzkammergut from the peaks, you are happy to accept the temperatures.”

German ultra runner Florian Neuschwander finished 24th in his third ultra trail event. “My goal was not to run too fast at the beginning and then to step on the gas from kilometre 75 in Fuschl and just to finish, so that I could get the Running Stones for the UTMB® World Series Finals. I managed to do that and I am very satisfied. I definitely see room for improvement, of course I’m taking a rest for now, but I’m planning to run another race in the UTMB® World Series in the fall.”

Ten times 100 km -Reinhold Schager (AUT) was at the starting line of the mozart 100 by UTMB for the tenth time this year: “That was the hottest race I have experienced in all ten years of mozart 100, and also the toughest. But I thought to myself, ‘This is my tenth race, I just have to get to the finish’ and, as in every year, I met great fellow racers on the track, we supported each other and this sense of community is, of course, together with the great nature of the Salzburg region, one reason why I start here every year”.

For the women, Azara Garcia de los Salmones (ESP) started as the top favourite over the 105 km of the mozart 100 and more than lived up to this role. After 12:00.28 she finished 27th overall, leaving her female competitors behind by over 45 minutes.

“I am very happy about my victory, the day was like something out of a picture book. It was a wonderful run, it was also very hard, the last 20 kilometres demanded everything from me, but the routes were fantastic and I’m happy that I was able to get everything out of myself and glad to have started here in Salzburg. The race fits perfectly into my running calendar, and shows me that I am well on track for the UTMB World Series Finals in Charmonix in August.”

In the 75 kilometre mozart Ultra, starting in Fuschl am See, the two Brits Harry Jones and George Foster dominated the men’s race and fought head-to-head until the end, After 75km Jones won with a time of 7:08.42 and a lead of six minutes over Foster. After the race, Jones said: “Not only was it really tough for me physically, this time it was mostly mental for me knowing all along that George Foster was breathing down my neck. Before the last climb I knew that if I wanted to win today I had to give it my all. I’m glad I did it and I will remember this race for a long time.”

George Foster said after his run: “The heat made the race very tiring, I was hoping all along that Harry Jones wouldn’t know that I was so close behind him and that I might be able to overtake him in the end. It was clear to me from the start that Harry was a strong competitor, I’m very happy with my second place and had a great race in front of this beautiful backdrop, which I really enjoyed.”

At the women’s mozart Ultra race, Marta Molist(ESP), won the race in 8:11.39. She didn’t give her competitors the slightest chance, only four men were faster than her on the 75 km through the Salzburger Land, and so she finished fifth overall in the mozart Ultra at the Kapitelplatz.

“It was a very difficult race, the weather was very hot. The track was great and, above all, very spectator-friendly, my whole family was able to give me great support in so many places along the course, which helped me a lot,” said Molist after her race.