Gore-Tex Transalpine Race 2012:
The average husband and wife enjoy spending their free time together; socialising, walking, visiting their favourite eatery or even going to watch a film. Despite having spent many enjoyable years together doing some of the above, Newry City Runners husband and wife, Dale and Denise Mathers decided to celebrate their upcoming anniversary by completing the infamous Gore-Tex Transalpine Run earlier this month.
The legendary stage event, where runners start in teams of two is not only an event of superlatives because of its record length of 320 kilometres and 15,000 difference in altitude but this year the organisers also saw a huge increase in international participation, with runners from 32 nations. Due to rise in registrations, race officials had to strictly monitor the runners throughout the event, withdrawing those who they deemed to be at risk, many verging on exhaustion. Therefore the 450 runners who finished had a reason to be happy when they could put on the popular ‘finisher’ t-shirt.
Starting on the 1st September the participants completed eight daily stages, averaging 40km and 1,900 difference in altitude. The runners had to master numerous peaks and stony trails, impressive canyons and ridges and they also had to be careful because of the unstable weather. At first good technique and slip-proof shoes were crucial due to the rain, wind and extremely muddy paths downhill. The adaptability of the athletes and their clothes were challenged in the second half of the week when there were very low temperatures when starting and sunshine during the day.
With a strong emphasis on staying together, 175 teams out of the 300 finished side by side. However, eighty two runners had to finish the run as individuals, since their partners dropped out of the run.
Endurance specialists, Dale and Denise (Team Mathers) finished the event as 34th team (in the ‘mixed’ category) after completing the eight stages (320km) in a total time of 53:47:12. An excellent achievement and I am sure, an experience that they will never forget.
When NiRunning caught up with Dale, who competed in the recent O’Brien Challenge, only a week after the Transalpine event he described the experience as simply ‘unbelievable’ and a ‘must do’ for all endurance running enthusiasts!
Category Winners in the Gore-Tex Transalpine Race 2012:
Individual Winner: Francesc Marti-Bartomeu – 36:04:23, Mens Team: Team Salomon International – 31:53:29, Mens Masters: Team Salomon Masters – 34:25:57, Mixed Team: Sudtirol Dolamiti Superbike – 37:35:42, Womens Team: Team Mountain Hero’s – 41:28:40, Senior Masters: Trail Team Kempton Hildrizhausen – 37:26:13.
Event Website: Gore-Tex Transalpine Race Website