After doing lots of preparation, undertaking many surveys and taking numerous time measurements, Willi Buchinger officially launched this mountain adventure in 1989 with the support of his family and fellow alpinists. Unfortunately, the weather refused to be appropriate on the first date and, as a result, one week later – on the alternative date of 10 June 1989 –the first ever trailrun was able to take place. The crowning glory of this competition, the Traunstein, took the participants via the steep Hernlersteig track. Several participants with good local knowledge and a home advantage immediately opted for the non-marked tracks that took them via the “Hochkamp” or “Zierler” routes to the top of the mountain that dominates lake Traunsee. Out of the 42 initial runners and walkers, more than half ended up throwing in the towel. Back then, the route still went via the Großer Sonnstein peak, with the Feuerkogel leg only being introduced in 1990. Wolfgang Kölblinger from Traunkirchen and Alois Leitner from Weyregg both crossed the finish line in Gmunden-Weyer at exactly the same time with an unexpected best time of 8 hours and 55 minutes. It took nearly two more hours for the next participants to arrive. The organisers of this first trailrun had estimated that it would take the first athletes around 16 hours (after starting at 3.00 a.m. in the morning) to reach the lakeside town of Gmunden.
In 1990 out of the 150 registered participants only 42 of them actually made it to the starting line due to adverse weather conditions. Nevertheless, 16 runners still managed to complete the full route by arriving in Gmunden between 4.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m.
In 1991 73 dedicated and determined competitors – including five women – took part in the third trailrun on a beautiful day. One German alpine runner commented: “There is no other event like this throughout Austria and Germany”.
In 1992 even though the event had been called off the day before due to heavy rainfall, 32 participants were determined to go ahead in spite of the weather.
1993 was a record year, both in terms of the number of participants and personal achievements. The 5th trailrun, which was held on 19 June 1993 included 103 participants, two of them were women.
In 1994 the ultra trailrun presented the mountain athletes (172 participants) with some very particular challenges.
In 1995 it was only 7.30 a.m. when the first runners arrived at the Ebensee-Rindbach checkpoint after completing the most prestigious leg of the route – one that had taken them via the Grünberg and Traunstein (Naturfreundesteig track) mountains and the Spitzelsteinalm (Daxnersteig track) alpine pastures. The best unofficial time was 9 hours 55 minutes.
In 1996 132 participants from three nations successfully completed this trailrun on 6 June 1996. More than half of the participants completed the entire route by travelling via the Feuerkogel plateau and the adjacent grassy mountains known as the “Grasberge”.
In 1997 just three days after the successful completion of the 9th trailrun, the man who had founded the event and organised nine trailruns – Willi Buchinger from Pinsdorf – passed away at the age of 52 on 15 July 1997 after a long period of illness. In his honour the trailrun named “trailrun around the lake Traunsee” has now been officially renamed the “Willi-Buchinger- Gedächtnislauf” (Willi Buchinger memorial run).
In 1998 the “Traunstoana” mountain climbers group (a member of the “Naturfreunde” association) organised the 10th trailrun in 1998, with 114 endurance athletes taking part. Bernhard Weiss from Scharnstein achieved an unofficial best time of 8 hours and 6 minutes.
In 1999 many participants will have a very clear recollection of the 11th marathon, which was held on 3 July 1999. With the heat of the summer sun beating down upon them, 163 participants (23 of them women) successfully completed the entire 70 km route with its altitude difference of 4500 m.
In 2000 in the year of the millennium, 102 runners managed to reach the finish line in Gmunden in conditions that were not exactly ideal – it poured with rain during the first few hours. Meanwhile, a group of men and women were also plunging themselves right in by tackling the half marathon from Ebensee-Rindbach. Rene Steinpatzer ended up setting the bar extremely high with his best time of 7 hours and 35 minutes.
A gratifyingly large participation in one of the hottest days of the year. 201 athletes (including 20 ladies) started from 3 o’clock in the morning from the eastern shore to climb the peaks around the Traunsee.
In 2002 on 2 July 2002, Reinhard Pototschnik from Carinthia caused a real stir. Although he had never taken part in the trailrun before, it was he who achieved the quickest time for the most prestigious element of the race. 266 participants set off along the marked routes, with 219 of these athletes ultimately making it to the finish line.
In 2003 the trailrun celebrated its 15th anniversary on 5 July 2003 and this time the organisers could see that it was stretching the number of participants to the limit. 252 runners and walkers set out from Gmunden alone with the aim of completing the original 70 km route. Another 39 athletes headed off in the direction of Feuerkogel from Ebensee in order to tackle the half trailrun. Rene Steinpatzer quite literally breezed home with a best time of 8 hours and 2 minutes.
In 2004 on 3 July 2004, the runners set off from the new starting area for the first time: the historic setting of Gmunden town hall square. The new starting/finishing hub for the trailrun right in the center of town and next to the lake met with general approval. Willi Riederer from Ebensee achieved the best unofficial time of the day by completing the course in 8 hours and 1 minute. As for the female competitors, victory likewise went to someone from the Traunsee region in the form of Karola Schustereder from Pinsdorf, who achieved a time of 9 hours and 59 minutes.
In 2005 the trailrun was dominated by adverse weather conditions. This time 226 runners set off from Gmunden town hall square and another 66 from Ebensee (for the half trailrun) to undertake this sporting challenge. Of those who completed the full 70 km route the best unofficial time for the day went to Josef Dißlbacher from Pfaffing with his time of 8 hours and 4 minutes. The top female athlete was Barbara Lebutsch from nearby Neuhaus with her time of 11 hours and 20 minutes.
In 2006 the 1 July 2006 was an unforgettable day in the history of the trailrun. The rain, coupled with the slippery slopes, forced the 290 runners to give their absolute best. With a new best time of 7 hours and 30 minutes, local “matador” Benedikt Rabberger from Pinsdorf managed to break the record of 7 hours and 30 minutes, that had been set for the 70 km route by Rene Steinpatzer back in 2000.
In 2007 the 19th trailrun on 7 July 2007 suffered a repeat of the same poor weather as the year before. The steep slippery tracks, constant rain, and cold and stormy conditions pushed the participants to the maximum. With his time of 7 hours and 54 minutes, Willi Riederer from Ebensee managed to achieve the best time of the day for the second time (he first achieved this in 2004). The new female champion was Margit Hirtzy from Graz with a time of 11 hours and 17 minutes. In total, 296 men and 57 women set off on the most beautiful mountain run in Europe.
In 2008 the theme of the 2008 marathon year was “20 years of the trailrun 1989 – 2008”. The festivities began on 3 July with an evening at the Kolpingsaal in Gmunden, which was attended by numerous guests of honour and featured many moving memories that had been captured in sound and images. The run, which took place on 5 July with a record number of 364 athletes setting off from Gmunden and Ebensee, saw super-athlete Benedikt Rabberger from Pinsdorf set a new unofficial record for the entire 70 km course with his time of 7 hours and 26 minutes. As for the female competitors, it was another athlete from the Salzkammergut area, Margit Scherbaum from Scharnstein, who ended up being head of the pack with a time of 10 hours and 38 minutes. Meanwhile, the youngsters were enthusiastically setting off on their short-distance routes as part of the first ever “Kinderbergmarathon” (children’s trailrun).
The year 2009 marked another new development: the first ever charity hike in aid of a children’s cancer charity. The fastest woman who completed the “real” trailrun was Barbara Sullmann from Brixen, who managed a time of 11 hours and 36 minutes, and the fastest man was Willi Riederer with a time of 7 hours and 54 minutes. Another remarkable achievement was that one of Benni Rabberger, who managed to stick to his plan of tackling the route twice. At exactly midday, he set off again on his charity hike in aid of the children’s cancer charity. And he actually did it, even though he had to cover a good portion of the route in total darkness. Finally, at 1.30 in the morning – more than twentytwo hours after setting off for the first time – he had attained his goal. After covering 140 kilometers and an elevation gain of 9000 meters, he had finally made it to the finish line!
The 22nd mountain marathon on 3 July 2010 will be remembered for the extreme heat: however, Nina Heidinger refused to be distracted by the temperatures of up to 32 degrees. Hailing from Gmunden, she succeeded in cutting the women’s record to 9 hours and 50 minutes. It was in this context that a new record was almost set for the number of participants with 413 starters. As if to make up for this narrow miss, the third ever children’s competition boasted 51 participants. In this particular year, the charity hike took place in aid of the Schädel-Hirn-Trauma-Lobby (the traumatic brain injury lobby).
The 23rd marathon on 2 July 2011 was the exact opposite of the previous year: this time participants had to struggle with the cold, the rain, snow showers and hail. Nevertheless, another record was broken for one of the routes. This was the record for the men’s half trailrun from Gmunden to Ebensee, which – having stood at 4 hours – was broken by Benni Rabberger with his time of 3 hours and 55 minutes. Now in its fourth year, the children’s trailrun continued to grow and this time the proceeds from the charity hike went to the mountain rescue services of Gmunden, Ebensee and Traunkirchen.
In 2012 the 24th marathon saw records being set before the race itself was even underway: more than 400 people registered within the space of 12 hours and so the registration process had to be closed after just half a day. Faced with muggy weather conditions and temperatures of around 25 degrees, many of the participants battled with cramps. No records were broken under these weather conditions, but there were four new champions.
In 2013 this event – the 25th SPORT 2000 anniversary trailrun held on 6 July 2013 – set a new record for the number of participants, with a total of 452 starters setting off from Gmunden and Ebensee. In spite of the slippery course, Nina Bauer from Gmunden still managed to smash her own personal best from 2010 with a time of 9 hours and 20 minutes. With his time of exactly 8 hours, Benedikt Rabberger from Pinsdorf, who has been the champion of the 70 km route several times, was – once again – the winner of the full marathon.
Now in its sixth year, the children’s trailrun provided the enthusiastic young runners with yet another welcome opportunity to achieve in the sporting arena. The participants – born between 1998 and 2008, and some even younger – were given a taste of the trailrunning experience on carefully selected urban routes in the Gmunden area.
The 5th charity hike tracing the original route once again took a group over the Gmundnerberg mountain and down to Gmunden town hall square. The net proceeds from this event were used to help the victims of the flood all around Lake Traunsee.
Manfred Spitzbart (the chief organiser of the trailrun since 1997 who will be remembered for his prudence) handed the baton over to Harald Buchinger from Pinsdorf – the son of the trailrun’s original founder Willi Buchinger.
In 2014 the 26th trailrun (Bergmarathon powered by Dynafit) saw a record number of participants as well as some very extreme weather.
This was the day on which 489 participants (the highest number ever) rose to the challenge of the 26th “Rund um den Traunsee“(powered by Dynafit) trailrun. And a challenge it certainly was thanks to the weather! On this day, the trail runners experienced it all – from heavy rain and thunderstorms in the early hours of the morning through to scorching heat in the afternoon. Despite this, the dropout rate was no higher than usual, with 447 participants making it to the finish line (another record), i.e. a success rate of 91.41%.
In spite of the difficult conditions, the starters still put in an excellent performance, although no new records were set. However, Nina Bauer – who holds the record for the full trailrun – came pretty close with her efforts on the Ebensee – Gmunden route. With her time of 3 hours and 33 minutes, she only fell short of the best ever time by 13 minutes. All in all, this win enabled her to celebrate her fifth victory (she has won the Ebensee – Gmunden route three times and the full trailrun twice). As for the male winner of the full route, Josef Dißlbacher, he was able to climb onto the top step of the podium for the sixth time, having already been crowned champion of the full distance in 2005, 2011 and 2012, and having come first in each of the half marathons on previous occasions. Gerhard Rastinger is also worthy of mention as a master of the Gmunden – Ebensee route. Having already won this distance in 2008, 2009 and 2012, this was his fourth victory. Back in 2012, he was one of the first joint winners in the history of the trailrun. This year saw the second joint win, this time for the Ebensee to Gmunden route: Florian Reiter and Manfred Steger each took 3 hours and 8 minutes to complete the course and so shared the victory between them. It was the first time either of them had won. The same goes for Johanna Simmer (winner of the full route) and Karoline Holzleitner (Gmunden – Ebensee).
In 2015 the participants were faced with temperatures of up to 36 degrees in the shade. 485 starters refused to be deterred from competing in the 27th “Rund um den Traunsee” (powered by Dynafit) trailrun. Nevertheless, this was still not quite enough to break the record set the previous year with 489 starters. High-pressure system “Annelie” may have put a stop to that, but a new record was set in sporting terms. This was achieved by one of the women running the half trailrun between Gmunden and Ebensee, who were less severely affected by the heat because of the early start time (5.00 a.m.). Anna Hochhauser achieved her first ever victory in 5 hours and 10 minutes, slicing 4 minutes off the old record that had been set in 2003.
The men’s full marathon provided plenty of excitement, with a meagre 2 minutes separating the three leaders after nearly nine hours of running! Once again, the champion turned out to be someone who had never won before: Jürgen Nini. In fact, it was mainly a year of first-time winners, with only Johanna Simmer managing to repeat her success from the previous year in the women’s full trailrun. By contrast, Albert Geisenberger (Gmunden – Ebensee), Helena Bergthaler and Josef Schick (Ebensee – Gmunden) were first-time winners of their respective distances, although Albert Geisenberger had already enjoyed success on the other half trailrun course back in 2013.
In 2016 only 73% of the participants reached the finish line. In absolute figures there were 483 finishers, which although broke the record of 2014 with 447 starters at the finish line. Moreover this year was the year of the premiere winners and the year of international guests. At all routes we had new premiere winners this year and for the first time a “non-austrian” Success could be celebrated and this at two of the routes. The man’s full trailrun was won by Anton Philipp from Germany with a time of 8 hours 8 minutes and 51 seconds, whereas the half trailrun Gmunden – Ebensee was won by Matus Vnencak from Slovakia with 4 hours 10 minutes and 25 seconds. It can be seen by the winner times – the time measurement has changed into an electronic time measurement. By now it will also be measured in seconds. Further winners: full trailrun women: Daniela Karigl, 9 hours 43 minutes and 13 seconds; half trailrun women Gmunden – Ebensee: Eva Heizinger, 5 hours 43 minutes and 47 seconds; half trailrun women Ebensee – Gmunden: Tina Hitzenberger, 4 hours 5 minutes and 7 seconds; half trailrun men Ebensee – Gmunden: Hermann Binder, 3 hours 25 minutes and 35 seconds.
Two winners at the trailrun around the Lake Traunsee! It last 29 years to primary have to athletes sharing the first place at the full trailrun powered by Dynafit: Franz-Josef Schögl and Gerald Fister ran across the finish line together and so they shared their primary win. Primary wins are one of the trends of the trailrun. Version 2017: Also the winner of the full trailrun in the category women Evelyne Lachner, both winner of the track Gmunden – Ebensee Kathrin Angerer from Germany and Jonas Borsoe Christensen from Denmark as well as the winner of the track Ebensee – Gmunden Klaus Stadlmayr, all stand at the podium for their first time. Only the female winner of the half trailrun Ebensee – Gmunden Nina Bauer broke the ranks. She could already win this track the 4th time (after 2009, 2011 and 2014) and the full trailrun two times in 2010 and 2013. A new participant’s record: 754 starters mean a rapid growth in comparison to the last year best of 665.
Premiere victory for the men, repeating victory for the women
To sum up, 851 runners took part at one of the three parts of the trailrun. This was a clear increase in comparison to the last year record of 755 runners. That means a record of participants for the third time in a row.
Extremly slippery conditions prevented a new record in distance. In the “summer of the century” the trailrun took place at one of the few rainy days, not before afternoon on Saturday the weather got better and sunnier.
In the winner zone there was a strictly distinction between sex. All of the male winners won for the first time and all of the female winners have already won at least once. But all in turn:
The best male trailrunner was Johannes Klein from Germany at the whole trailrun. His time with 7:32:51 is the third best time in the history of the trailrun and only 6 minutes behind the record of Benedikt Rabberger from the year 2008.
The best female trailrunner was Tina Hitzenberger at the whole distance, which could also win the half trailrun Ebensee-Gmunden in 2016. Back then she was the replacement of Helena Bergthaler, who is also ranked in the winner schedule this year.
The same happened for Eva Heizinger at the distance Gmunden-Ebensee, where she could win the second time after 2016.
At the half trailruns for the male runners Michele Roth won at the distance Gmunden-Ebensee for the first time and Sebastian Hutterer won at the distance Ebensee-Gmunden also for the first time.