Monday, July 11, 2011

Tom Owens and Anna Frost Champions of the Salomon 4 Trails

Tom Owens has claimed overall victory in the premiere of the Salomon 4 Trails, dashing through the finish banner in Samnaun, Switzerland, in the hair-raising time of 4:47:14.3 hours. Today’s ultimate high-alpine stage covered a distance of 45,30 kilometers with no less than 2,909 meters of elevation gain between Landeck (Austria) and the well-known Swiss ski resort. After 157.4 km and 9,899 m of vertical ascent, Owens ended up with a cumulative time of just 16:43:54.3 hours for the trails between Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) and Samnaun (Switzerland). Second on today’s stage, but also in the overall ranking was the amazing Philipp Reiter (GER, 5:04:39.2, 17:26:13.8) who, in turn, was once again trailed by the ever-eminent Matthias Dippacher (GER, 5:10:19.5; 17:50:33.1). These three athletes as well as the victor of the Master Men title, Dr. Thomas Miksch (17:54:59.6), were the only racers to stay below the coveted 18 hour threshold.
An incredible achievement, which highlighted -in particular- Owen’s trail running prowess, which he had already underscored with two prior, consecutive victories in the Transalpine Run and a recent silver medal in the Ultra Distance World Championships. Owens clearly deserved carrying start number ‘1’ into this race and lived up to every expectation placed in him by expert race observers, dominating every one of the four race days.
Tom Owens was elated to have added another triumph to his already impressive racing vita although he suffered from foot problems since Day One. "This is a very special victory for me. It’s satisfying to know that all the training paid off. I didn’t experience any problems on the climbs but the downhills were a different story. All in all, these were four exhausting but wonderful days. I’m delighted to have finished as champion".
After all times were tallied up, the Team Salomon International racer had accumulated a lead of more than forty minutes on his closest pursuer, second-placing Philipp Reiter. On the last stage alone, Owens managed to put a gap of over 11 minutes between Reiter and himself on the way across Fisser Joch (2.432m), Arezzajoch (2.587m) and Ochsenscharte (2.787m).
Philipp Reiter, in turn, was very content with his performance over the past four days. “If anybody had told me before that I’d come in second, I wouldn’t have dared to believe it”. The 19-year-old German trail running prodigy was also surprised about each of the race days going so well. "This is definitely one of my greatest victories".
Anna Frost sets time for future female racers to be measured by taking upon her the long way from New Zealand paid off for traveling Anna Frost, who went into this race as a top contender and eventually made good on this expectation in a very impressive manner. Today, the likeable "Frosty", as friends call her, claimed her third consecutive stage victory (6:31:14.6).
After learning the ropes of racing in the Alps the hard way on Day One, the Kiwi had gotten stronger from one stage to the next. In the end, the clock tallied up just 22:08:35.6 hours for the long, rocky trails from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
That accomplishment relegated Julia Böttger to second place (22:34:12.5) in the overall ranking while tying for victory in today’s stage. The ill-fated German racer had suffered a knee injury early on in the race preventing her from being able to demonstrate true form in the stage race. Stefanie Felgenhauer (GER, 6:52:36.9; 24:26:54.4), an up-and-coming racer herself, yet was unable to take advantage of Böttger’s predicament ending up in third place, on today’s stage and in the ranking.
Anna Frost’s victory holds an interesting twist which underscores the international racer’s incredible form. Beset by a series of recent ankle injuries, the likeable 29-year-old had entered the race with little more than a 55-minute training run – but an unshakeable determination. In view of this lack of preparation, Frost commented "I’m really very, very happy. It was a fantastic race. I’ll be back next year for sure".

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