It has long been no secret that the sport of running is enjoying ever-increasing popularity worldwide. While at the beginning of the 2000s it was mainly city marathons that captivated the athletes, the urban ambience has recently been replaced by the open countryside. No wonder, then, that trail runs are currently very popular and are springing up like mushrooms around the globe. A new trail will also be available in South Tyrol next summer when the Ratschings Mountain Trail takes place on Sunday, 27 June 2021.

Plans for a new mountain run had been in the famous drawer of Ratschings amateur sports club for a long time. Last summer, an idea finally turned into a concrete project. OC boss Hanspeter Schölzhorn and his dedicated team spent weeks thinking, studying and planning until the key data of the new event were determined, which is to attract as many athletes as possible to the hiking area of Ratschings on Sunday, 27 June 2021 and thus right on time for the start of the summer season.

One thing is particularly close to the organisers’ hearts: The Ratschings Mountain Trail will be a running event for everyone. With a length of 17.7 kilometres and an altitude difference of 950 metres, the route is easily manageable by all reasonably well-prepared athletes. For those who still find the distance too long, the trail novelty in Ratschings also offers the opportunity to compete in a team of two. “We do not want a trail run that is only intended for professionals or extreme athletes. We want to open our hiking area to a broad, sporty public”, explains Hanspeter Schölzhorn.

A varied route

The start of the Ratschings Mountain Trail is located in the immediate vicinity of the valley station of the ski area. Afterwards, the participants run on an asphalt side road (about 1.2 km), then continue on wide paths with a moderate gradient until the end of the valley. In Flading, at km 5, the runners leave the bottom of the valley behind them and the ascent to the Klammalm must be mastered. “At the beginning, the route follows an old access road, then it goes into more alpine terrain and you quickly gain altitude. Above the tree line, a special highlight of the race awaits the participants, as the course runs over a mountain peak at almost 2,000 m above sea level with wonderful panoramic views,” reveals Schölzhorn.

It is not far from here to the Klammalm. This is where the transition zone for the relay participants is located. Afterwards, the route follows a forest road slightly downhill to the start of the Ratschinger Almenwanderung. “This is probably the most beautiful section of the entire trail, with moderate up and down passages, mostly above the tree line. The athletes will pass the inner and outer Wumblsalm, pass a beautiful viewpoint with a weather cross and complete the last, more striking ascent of the race to the Saxnerhütte”, Schölzhorn continues. From here, the final section of the race is about three kilometres long. At first, the route runs slightly downhill to the Wasserfalleralm, then continues on undulating terrain to the Rinneralm. Immediately after the Rinneralm, the trail runners circle the reservoir and pass another weather cross. This is where the participants’ gaze falls on the majority of the completed route in the valley and along the Almenweg. After the storage lake, a short downhill run, then a flat run across the meadow towards the finish line for the last sprint and you’re done.

Coloured supporting programme planned

A colourful supporting programme is planned around the Ratschings Mountain Trail. At the end of June there will not only be an opening ceremony with a detailed presentation of the trail, but also a running workshop with the well-known South Tyrolean top athlete Hermann Achmüller. In addition, a run for children and young people is planned, which will count as a stage of the Wipptal Cup and will make the Ratschings Mountain Trail an event for the whole family.

Registration is already possible on the official website of Ratschings Mountain Trail under Until 31 January, the entry fee for individual participants is 33 euros, while the fee for relay participants is 31 euros. The entry fee includes an extensive range of services and products, including a rich starting package with local produce, numerous meals along the trail, a finisher’s medal, lunch with drink and the downhill ride with the train after the race.