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We were invited to take a team of runners out to the beautiful Gastein Valley, in Austria to compete in the adidas Infinite Trails World Championships. This was to be our first experience of Alpine trail racing and what an experience it was!

THE FORMAT

Only in it’s second year, the adidas Infinite Trails World Championships has already begun making it’s mark on the trail racing scene. This unique event, with sustainability at it’s heart, see’s amateur runners line up next to professional athletes and compete as teams in an innovative relay format. 
 
adidas infinite trails world championships
The teams consist of three runners – all male, all female or mixed - with each runner taking on their own uniquely challenging loop. The fastest team over the total distance of this extraordinary route would be crowned World Champions.
adidas infinite trails world championships
adidas infinite trails world championships

THE PROLOGUE

Before runners take on the race itself, there is a prologue event on Thursday evening. This event see’s the teams take on a 15km course with just under 900m of vertical ascent. All runners compete as individuals in this mass start race, with the teams cumulative finishing times determining their start position for Saturday’s race.
 
adidas infinite trails world championships
The prologue acts as an excellent introduction to the event, giving runners their first taste of the trail conditions and a reality check for anyone that thought this event might be easy. The climbs in the Gastein Valley are steep!

More than just a course recce, the Prologue brings together the amazing running community that has gathered in this quiet corner of Austria for the first time. A chance to meet friends old and new and share some miles together. 
 

THE RACE

127km of incredible mountain trails awaited the teams, with over 7600m of vertical ascent thrown in for good measure. This distance would be split across three loops. 

Loop 1 would set the scene, starting at 4am and covering 25km with 1900m ascent. Featuring the steepest climb of the entire event, followed by a long technical descent, this is the sprint leg for runners that like to go hard.

adidas infinite trails world championships
adidas infinite trails world championships
The brutal 60km loop 2 followed, with over 3600m of ascent. This loop is not for the faint hearted. With Europe experiencing a heatwave, the steep climbs, descents and technical trails would provide a challenge for even the most experienced trail runners of the world.
adidas infinite trails world championships
adidas infinite trails world championships
Loop 3 would act as the finale. A 40km route taking runners up another 2100m climb before heading back to the race village for the final time. Team’s would then complete a victory lap of the village crossing the line together.
adidas infinite trails world championships
adidas infinite trails world championships
The extreme temperatures experienced during this year’s event meant that many teams struggled to hit the cut off times for Loop’s 2 and 3. Of 191 starting teams only 98 crossed the line as official finishers. 
adidas infinite trails world championships
This was mountain running at its best. Tough conditions, world-class trails, a stunning location and hard-fought racing with a spirit of camaraderie unique to the trail running community.
adidas infinite trails world championships

You can view a gallery of race imagery HERE

All images are free to download and use for non-commercial purposes. Please credit Pro:Direct Running when sharing. Use @prodirectrunning on Instagram.

Shop the Look

Our team raced Infinite Trails in a selection of the latest adidas Terrex trail running shoes, which are now available from Pro:Direct Running. You can shop the full collection HERE.
 
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