“It’s incredible to think that these World Championships will be staged here, allowing us to showcase our Alpine-urban flair on a high level.”

Karin Freitag

Karin Freitag

If we were to exaggerate, we could say that there is hardly a run - no matter the distance - that doesn’t list Karin Freitag in the final results. But it’s actually true: Freitag, who originally hails from Styria and moved to Tyrol for work - and then stayed for love - really runs everywhere and any distance, from 10,000 meters on track to verticals and (mountain) marathons to 100 kilometers in flat terrain to 24-hour races.

The different characteristics of these races require a varied training regime from the mother of two who resides in Hall in Tirol. The Vienna City Marathon in April is her next big goal, with the Austrian Mountain Running Championships - which counts as a qualifying race for the WC - taking place in Itter a mere week later. Freitag plans on participating in both. “The route at home, with its steep passages, is very much to my liking. I am sure it will be okay,” she says before thinking further: “And if I won’t qualify for the Vertical, I might be able to participate in the Trail Short.” Clearly the way of thinking of someone of Freitag’s versatility.

That notwithstanding, the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 Innsbruck-Stubai will be staged in Austria is a source of joy for the athlete, who doesn’t fail to mention that the participating athletes from all over the world can expect the highest standards. “By no means do I want to discredit the efforts of other organizers but it is obvious that Innsbruck-Stubai, with its hotels, its possibilities and its standards will stage title races that will set the bar high for contests to come.”

World Mountain Running Championships have been hosted in Tyrol twice already, at a time when Freitag still “went for walks”, as she says. She started her running and competitive sports career in 2010, and she has collected victory after victory since then – from WC team medals for a number of distances (twice for the Trail Long, once for the Vertical as well as the Mountain Classic), to five national marathon triumphs; in addition, she holds the Austrian records for 100 km and 24 hours, in both of which she represented Austria as part of the WC and EC national team in 2022.

“Winning a medal in Innsbruck-Stubai - more likely with the team than in the single contest - would be a real feat for me.”

Karin Freitag knows the Vertical route, leading to the Elferhütte from Neustift im Stubai, well. She competed in an international race there last year, where she came third, and she mentions that for her personally, the flat part just before the cable car station at the top is a bit too long. “If you compete in a vertical, the flat parts are nothing more than a nuisance,” in addition to which they are advantageous for African participants in particular. Athletes from Uganda and Kenya are among the front-runners – as is proven by the Chiang Mai list of results. However, according to Freitag, “Andrea Mayr will be another front-runner; she stands a chance of winning her next medal and it would be great if she could lead the team to the podium.”

With regards to the Mountain Classic, the WMTRC’s “up and down” race, Freitag waxes lyrical about the fact that the contest will be held in Innsbruck rather than in some backcountry place. “Just think about it - the race will lead from the regional capital all the way to the top and back down again, allowing us to combine the urban and the Alpine in a very special way.”

And because of that Freitag hopes for many spectators along the routes, alongside her family and friends who will be there to cheer her on. “Anyone coming to experience the WC in person will take away lasting impressions. You have to be along the route in order to really realize how steep it is.”

Short Bio

Karin Freitag, Austria, born April 1, 1980 in St. Marein bei Graz, resides in Hall in Tirol and runs for the LG Itter. Selected achievements: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018: Austrian marathon champion; 2011: Winner of the WC Trail Short (team); 2014: Third at the EC Mountain Classic (team); 2016: Second-best woman globally at the Wings for Life Run, third at the EC Vertical; 2018: Winner of the WC Trail Short (team); 2021, 2022: Austrian Champion over 100 km Wings for Life Run, Team-EM-Bronze Vertical; 2018: Team-WM-Gold Trail Short; 2021, 2022: Österreichische 100-km-Meisterin

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