“The more meters in altitude, the better. The World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 Innsbruck-Stubai are going to be a cool event.”

Dominik Matt

Dominik Matt

The plan was never to run just for the sake of running. Dominik Matt was a soccer player and he competed in ski races. “I played soccer in the regional league and competed in ski races on district and county level.” In other words, he opted for the poly-athletic way rather than choosing one specific discipline - something rare in today’s sports’ scene and something that most associations - from skiing to athletics, from tennis to swimming - are desperately looking for. When Dominik Matt reached adulthood, he finally made a decision, namely the one not to choose. “For several years I didn’t do anything other than work and eat badly.” He bought a plot of land, built a home, and built an existence, which resulted in sports getting the short end of the stick. He only found back to a more active lifestyle again when he took up ski touring in 2016. This was followed by getting in the saddle of a road bike and putting on running shoes. It didn’t take long for Matt to find out that running was it, with the real deal being a run through the mountains around his hometown of Niederndorf. “The ‘Koasa’ is my exercising territory,” says the 31-year old. For anyone wondering what the ‘Koasa’ might be, it is the Kaisergebirge mountain range between Kufstein and St. Johann in Tirol.

And that’s how it all started; Matt took up running and didn’t stop. In addition, he changed his diet to a healthy one. “However, I am not religious about it, and I will also eat pastries, Wiener Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn but I will make sure it is well balanced, and I am not eating any convenience food.”

At some stage he ended up participating in various races, with a fondness for Skyraces. “The more meters in altitude, the better.” Three years ago, he started seeing results, and a career change served as a final boost. He changed from working fixed hours as a car dealership’s service consultant to testing “floor-guided devices” such as lawnmowers, trimmers, ride-on mowers and the like for a manufacturer. His new job affords him both flexible times and the opportunity to work from home. “I start work really early so I always have time to exercise during daylight hours.” It clearly pays off, as proven by a number of achievements in 2022: Winner of the Kaiserkrone Skyrace, winner of the Nassfeld Mountain Skytrails, winner of the Speed Trail at the KAT 100, overall winner of the Skyrunner Austria Series. Apart from prize money and an ego boost, these achievements come along with a large number of ITRA points - valuable in terms of the International Trail Running Association’s ranking.

Then one day, the phone rang. It was the Austrian Athletics Federation to inform Matt he had been nominated to participate in the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 Innsbruck-Stubai. “That’s very special, obviously,” says Matt. “After all, World Championships are not just for anyone.” His joy is obvious, even though “his” distance, which covers around 2,500 meters in altitude over approximately 24 kilometers, does not feature in the program. “I am strong on longer distances too; it allows me to find my rhythm.” In Innsbruck-Stubai, he will participate in the “Trail Short”, set to take place on June 8, and awaiting contestants with 3,132 positive and 2,719 negative meters in altitude over a distance of 44.6 kilometers.

“I think that the WMTRC is going to be a really cool event, both in terms of atmosphere and routes. Amazing, in fact.”

And because being able to participate in World Championships, especially in this, his, discipline, is something truly special, Matt is happy to neglect some other races that “are not necessarily necessary” this year. He doesn’t want to risk getting injured. Rather, he wants to be on top of his game. That being said, he doesn’t plan to change all that much in terms of training schedule. “I like to exercise depending on how I feel and I usually decide on the day whether I will complete a long or a short unit, depending on my state of mind but also the weather.“ He is in his running shoes for approximately 14, 15 hours per week. “Being able to be on the move and challenge my entire body constantly is fantastic; it is different to cycling, for instance, where you can just let go when going downhill. For me, running results in a higher degree of satisfaction.”

Matt has learned to listen to his body. “I usually know if something is wrong before I even hear back from the lab,” he says and laughs. He has been taking particular care of his body ever since he took up sports again; this includes preliminary visits to his physician “in order to find out whether or not I need micronutrients like potassium or zinc.”

He wants to give his best in Innsbruck-Stubai and it remains to be seen where that will take him. But irrespective of what the final results will look like, “no-one can take away the fact that you have participated in World Championships.”

Fotos: © Luca Dotti, Claudio Bellosta, Andi Frank, Thomas Koller

Short Bio

Dominik Matt (Austria), born on October 26, 1991 in Innsbruck, residing in Niederndorf, member of the Salomon Athletes Team. Selected achievements: Winner of the Kaiserkrone Skyrace, winner of the Nassfeld Mountain Skytrails, winner of the Speed Trail at the KAT 100, overall winner of the Skyrunner Austria Series (all in 2022)

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