“There’s nothing more important than these World Championships. And Innsbruck-Stubai is the ideal host!”

Martin Dematteis

Martin Dematteis

He is one of the big names in the Italian mountain running scene, and if we are to believe statistics, the Italians - among others - have not only been prominent throughout the discipline’s history but have left their stamp. Martin Dematteis participated in nine World Championships (and nine European Championships), and his track record is remarkable: He came third at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2011, he can boast several top results in single contests, and he finished every single (!) team contest on the podium. But … anytime Martin comes up as a topic, his twin brother Bernhard pops up too.

“When I speak about my athletic life, I automatically start talking about his too,” Martin says. It’s only logical: They were both born on May 24, 1986, and grew up in Rore di Sampeyre, approximately 1,000 meters above sea level in the Italian province of Cuneo, where the Alps converge and diverge between Italy and France.

In hindsight “we never thought that we would be that successful’” he adds. In fact, they were showered with titles and medals on all levels. One of the most special moments, career-wise, was at the European Mountain Running Championships 2016 in Arco, when the Dematteis brothers crossed the finishing line hand in hand, thinking they’d won in a tie. However, they were denied double gold by timekeeping, and Martin won with a second’s margin over his twin brother. “It was an extraordinary moment nonetheless,” the ex-World Champion says.

While Bernhard was battling injuries, Martin kept developing, “Prior to the pandemic, I always ran the classic short mountain trails but my training runs kept getting longer, and so did my contests. At the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 2023 in Innsbruck-Stubai I am hoping to compete in the Trail Short.” He has proven his competitive capacity in Chiang Mai where he came 21st, lagging behind the Top Ten with a reasonable deficit.

Participating in the WC in Innsbruck-Stubai is his next big goal. He knows the region well and has participated in the 25 km contest at the Innsbruck Alpin Trailrun Festival four times, always as an athlete for the Adidas TERREX team. “In 2022, I was finally able to win the race after having come second the three previous times.” In addition, he ran his first European Mountain Running Championships in 2009 in Telfes.

“When I think of Tyrol, it almost feels like thinking of home. My country is Italy, clearly, but I feel at ease in Innsbruck-Stubai.”

His emotions are paired with the knowledge that the title races are set to be an organizational highlight: “It will be a combination of things that belong together – know-how, resources, the pleasure and joy of being part of something.”

And this is why Dematteis wouldn’t miss the World Championships for the world. However, even though the Italian delegation has announced to nominate 48 athletes, who will be accompanied by a coaching team of 13, he will have to work for his spot. The Italian qualification for the Trail Short is set to take place in Valtellina in mid-April, as part of the Colmen Trail in Morbegno, close to Sondrio. To prepare, Dematteis, a friendly and down-to-earth top athlete, mostly runs on flat terrain in winter, moving to more vertical terrain in spring.

He plans to attend the WMTRC regardless of whether he will be nominated for the Italian team or not, as a contestant or a fan. “It will be an event not to be missed. And who knows, maybe these title races will be the next step in advancing mountain- and trail running, in moving them closer to even bigger events. And if there’s one thing that’s bigger than the WC, it is the Olympic Games.”

Short Bio

Martin Dematteis, Italy, born May 24, 1986, and residing in Sampeyre, Adidas TERREX athlete, is one of the stars of the mountain running scene in his native country. Selected achievements: European Mountain Running Champion (team contest) in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018; 2011: third at the World Mountain Running Championships (and winner of the team contest), 2015: World Mountain Running Champion (team), 2016: European Mountain Running Champion (single), 2022: winner of the IATF K25, eighth at the EC, eighth at the OCC, Trail Short World Champion (team), winner of the Ultra Trail Cape Town (35 km)