“The Alps are my terrain. I want to be amongst the winners at the World Championships 2023 in Innsbruck-Stubai!”

Hannes Namberger

Hannes Namberger

It was August 29, 2015, when Hannes Namberger contested in the Karwendelmarsch, leading from Scharnitz to Pertisau – 52 kilometers, just short of 2,300 meters in altitude and five hours later the young Bavarian athlete realized that he had found a new passion. “I was hooked from the first moment - I knew this was my discipline.” Nonetheless, trail running remained plan B for Namberger, who was an excellent slalom- and giant slalom skier for Germany’s B squad, and seemingly destined for more before several injuries threw him off course.

Namberger grew up with sports, in nature and in the mountains. His hometown of Ruhpolding is home to one of biggest events on the annual biathlon world cup circuit. Ruhpolding, situated in the Alpine foothills, is surrounded by four mountains, and Hannes knows their every track and every trail. That being said, his switch from a speed strength discipline like Alpine skiing to an endurance discipline like trail running is remarkable. Namberger possesses the right physical attributes - and, more importantly, the will - required for continuous improvement. The ability to suffer, to grit his teeth, to let himself in for the highs and lows of each run, to push his own limits have shaped the German athlete and made him the person he is today, namely one of the world’s best trail runners.

“I’ve participated in a WC before, in 2018, when I came 24th in Poland, but at 36 kilometers and 2,110 meters in altitude the race was rather short. I am convinced that title races are beneficial for our discipline, both in terms of improving its image and making the athletes more accessible to a broader public.”

His strength is statistically proven. As of November 22, 2022, Hannes Namberger ranks sixth in the International Trail Running Association’s (ITRA) ranking, at 926 points a mere 25 points behind the leader Kilian Jornet (that being said, those few points are often the hardest to catch up on). In total, there are 2.3 million runners registered with the ITRA.

The ITRA is one of the international associations staging the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 Innsbruck-Stubai. It is an event the Dynafit athlete does not want to miss. “I was qualified to compete at the WC in Chiang Mai in November 2022, however, personal circumstances prevented me from participating, which is why I am all the more keen to compete in Tyrol and to hopefully play a leading role in the title races.”

It is beyond dispute that he has all the necessary legitimations - apart from his absurdly high ITRA ranking. He says he is punctual, honest, ambitious and correct, someone who puts his goals first and who plans his days and even months in order to be able to make the most of every minute. “Going to the movies or a bar has never been my thing anyway,” he says, while he also points out that he is very conscious of what he eats, paying attention to organic, high-quality food that has been sourced regionally, and preparing his own meals. “This allows me to know the ingredients of my meals. Fast food and convenience food are a no-go, and when it comes to meat, I try to eat as little as possible, maybe once every two to three weeks.”

Er trainiert, isst und lebt wie ein Profi und ist dennoch nicht abhängig von Sponsoren- oder Preisgeldern (sofern es letztere überhaupt gibt). Namberger hat einen Job bei der Bundespolizei an der Grenzstelle Walserberg bei Salzburg, 12-Stunden-Schichten im Büro sind nicht die Regel, aber auch keine Seltenheit. Das Wissen, nicht zur Gänze auf den Sport und den damit zusammenhängenden Einnahmen angewiesen zu sein, bringt Lockerheit in Nambergers Leben. „Wenn Zwang da ist, dann geht die Liebe zum Gegenstand verloren“, sagt er.

The passion for the WC in Innsbruck-Stubai is unabated; it rather grows day by day. Neustift is 175 kilometers from Ruhpolding – too far to drive there just for a route inspection, but close enough to consider it as a kind of home turf. “I might move to the WC area for a month in May,” he says, “because one thing is certain: Come June, I do want to prove what I am capable of.”

Images: © DYNAFIT; Hendrik Aufm’Kolk; Christian Penning

Short Bio

Hannes Namberger (Germany), born on May 16, 1989 in Traunstein, now lives in Ruhpolding; he is a team member of the Dynafit Squad. Selected successes include: 2018: Winner of the GGUT75, winner of the Transalpine Run; 2019: Winner of the Mayrhofen Ultraks; 2020: Winner of the PAGT105, 2021: Winner of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail; sixth at the UTMB; winner of the MIUT115; 2022: Winner of the Penyagolosa Trails, winner of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, winner of the Ultra Trail Cape Town.

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