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The ultimate challenge: the Grossglockner Mountain Run


Nestled in between the Grossglockner and the Hoher Sonnblick lies the mountain village of Heiligenblut, a village of significant historic alpine importance, and its imposing church. It is here that nature and trail running lovers from around the world gather every year in mid-July to take part in the Grossglockner mountain race


Under the banner #MythosGlockner, 1200 runners from all over the world pound the breath-takingly beautiful trail through the Hohe Tauern National Park up to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe.

The route begins at 1,300m above sea level in the Heiligenblut valley and leads the runners past waterfalls and mountain streams up to the foot of the Pasterze, the largest glacier in the eastern Alps. Runners ascend almost exactly 1,500 vertical metres over a distance of 13 km.

Experienced mountaineer René Kerschbaumer from Houseberg brings us up to speed about the Grossglockner mountain run: 

This year, once again, Daniel from FITAPP and myself, representing will run as Team FITAPP, to be a part of this magnificent event. The mountain rescue team, the organisers and almost the whole village come together and help to secure the track and to provide runners with refreshments.

„I’m fascinated by the way everyone in Heiligenblut and the area around work together – there is always a wonderful sense of collective enthusiasm“– said the organisers Sabine Glantschnig and Julius Rupitsch when we interviewed them last month.

The Grossglockner Mountain Run stands out from all others, partly of course due to the glorious scenery around the mountain and the Pasterze glacier itself. The path leads through a variety of alpine vegetation, from lush, green meadows in Heiligenblut, over the rugged rocks at Leiterfall, across alpine pastures to the moraines which mark the start of the Pasterze glacier.

You can see a full description of the route on Seeing as I am running it for the sixth time this year (!), I think perhaps I am qualified to give motivated runners the following pieces of advice:

1. Use the final half hour before the start of the race to do some light warm up jogging in the valley at Heiligenblut.

2. Go slow at the start! From experience, I know that many give 110% at this point and it’s not necessary!

3. The first section is very steep, but don’t worry; once you’ve completed that section you’ll find the first refreshment stand.

4. There are photographers all along the route- so smile, and show them your start number (so you can find the pictures afterwards). 

5. It’s OK to walk the steep sections!

6. You’re in the Hohe Tauern National Park, so don’t drop your rubbish (energy gels etc) – the helpers who clear up are volunteers.

7. We are but guests in a habitat belonging to marmots, chamois and ibex. We need to behave accordingly and not yell!

8. Once you have passed the Elisabethfelsen and the hanging bridge, you can push yourself one last time – there is enough room to overtake.

9. Before you reach the finishing line, there are 512 steps to the Franz-Josefs-Höhe. Don’t give up!  

10. Most importantly: have fun and enjoy your beautiful surroundings!

We can’t wait to take part in the #MythosGlockner and we’ll keep you posted!

More about the run:

Interview with the organisers: