Ultra Trail Runner Philipp Ausserhofer breaks the existing record time by 54 minutes, redefining the time on this Austrian high-alpine trail running classic known as the “Tour of a Thousand Torments”.
Only 12 hours and four minutes are needed for the 30-year-old Stubai resident to cover a good 80 kilometers and almost 6000 meters vertical, over eight huts from Neustift and back in the Stubai Valley in Austria. A few weeks ago, the South Tyrolean beat the previous best time of his compatriot Daniel Jung by an impressive 54 minutes.
“Ever since I accompanied Daniel as a supporter on his record attempt in June 2020, the Stubaier Höhenweg has never left me. Since then, these mountains are now my playground in my adopted homeland, and I wanted to test myself against this time.”
With this new record, Philipp Ausserhofer opens up a new time window on the high-altitude trail, which for almost 40 years has produced top performances time and time again in the world of ultra mountain running. And ever since, it has been considered the “Formula 1” for mountain runners. The first competition, then held as a relay race, goes back to July 14, 1984, and the 2023 Innsbruck-Stubai World Mountain and Trail Running Championships recently made headlines this past June. Together with the Italian team, Ausserhofer won the bronze medal in the long-distance event.
For Ausserhofer, who studied and worked as a pharmacist, winning the 2020 Innsbruck Alpine Trail Run Festival was his first victory in only the second ultra trail marathon of his career, so the record time was more of a bonus than a major goal. “A great day on beautiful trails. Technically very demanding, exactly to my taste. I didn’t expect such a time. I am very satisfied, knowing that I still have my reserves,” was his first reaction after arriving back in Neustift. “When a project like this goes to plan in your adopted home, it really is something special!”
The primary goal for the Northern Italian native from Ahrntal, who now lives in Telfes, Austria, was to simulate competition fueling for his participation in the UTMB (Ultra-Trail of Mont-Blanc)* in September and to optimize the strategy for this annual final of the UTMB World Series. Three aid stations – the refueling breaks are included in the final time – along the 80 km route, perfect nutrition was provided with rice, potato soup, energy gels and bars, all which made this success possible.
The Stubaier Höhenweg or Stubai High Trail, which typically runs over eight daily stages across the Starkenburger Hütte – Franz Senn Hütte – Neue Regensburger Hütte – Dresdner Hütte – Sulzenau Hütte – Nürnberger Hütte – Bremer Hütte – Innsbrucker Hütte and back to Neustift, is popular among many long-distance hikers for its breathtaking views and technically demanding scrambles. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful high-altitude trails in the Alps, it’s a real test of endurance, skill and mental strength.
On FKT (Fastest Known Time), the platform that verifies the fastest running times in ultra trail running, the aim now is to beat Philipp Ausserhofer’s best time. “What value this time has now, the future will tell. I know that there is still something in it for me as well. Basically, performances are always fleeting, they are always topped. A time is there to be beaten, and then you get to be a challenger again. That’s what I like best.”
The South Tyrolean, who moved to Innsbruck 10 years ago to study, was able to deliver another strong time in the meantime with a third place in the 100K at the Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB (FRA) on September 30. 2023.
*Philipp Ausserhofer had to end his race prematurely, sitting in the top 30, after just 130 of 171 kilometers to be completed at the UTMB Mont-Blanc 2023 due to a muscle injury in his calf.
INFO: Philipp Ausserhofer