ON THE ART OF MOUNTAIN RUNNING

Martin Mattle is 25 and loves the mountains, sport and extremes. The man from Mathon combines all three when he runs on trails through the mountains. As one of the best mountain runners in the country, he is also taking part in the Silvretta Run, the classic mountain marathon in Paznaun.

You are an extreme runner, you battle over trails in the mountains, over hundreds of metres of height away and often right through nature. Why do you do what you do?
After hiking, mountain biking, skiing and mountain running, I began running trails. I grew up in the mountains and love sport. So the two things fit together.

What makes the extremes so attractive?
When you run in the mountains, every step is simply just not the same. I have to always stay alert, always think about how I use my body. That’s much more interesting for me than running consistently on asphalt. And I only do it as long as it’s fun.

How do you train?
When I fancy it.

Don’t you have a training plan?
I sometimes start running straight out from our house in Mathon, sometimes I drive into Silvretta and then run from there. I do that every day, and for at least 10 kilometres. Sometimes I run for an hour, sometimes for three and a half, and if I’m not enjoying it, I run home. That’s all the plan.

In competitions, time does matter, though. How do you go faster?
I run my race, do my best and am exhausted at the end. But not totally wrecked.

You don’t vomit at the finishing line like some marathon runners do?
I pay attention to how much my body has to give. But sometimes my calves do cramp up at the end.

What about a heart rate monitor? Every amateur runner has a heart rate monitor, don’t they?
I don’t have a heart rate monitor. I run according to my feelings, and in the mountains, where your heart rate is automatically higher as it is, a heart rate monitor doesn’t really make sense anyway. When I was doing sport in the army, I trained differently, in a much more targeted way. But then my performance got worse. So I changed my training again, so that it’s more about having fun than anything else.

What are your goals?
I would like to run a 100 kilometre trail sometime.

Can you tell me why?
I can’t really imagine it being possible. But it is. I’m not that far away from it. Maybe I’ll manage it in ten or fifteen years. That’s what I want to work towards. And in a way that I can cope with it mentally, too. That would really be cool.

When you run trails, can you look at the routes beforehand?
No, it’s not possible. They’re often completely out in the wilds.

Have you ever got lost?
More than once. But at some point a signpost comes along or some other information to help you find the way again.


THE SILVRETTA RUN
The mountain running race takes place against Silvretta’s impressive mountain backdrop on 14 and 14 July.
The “Hard” route goes over a distance of 42,195 metres and an altitude of 1, 814 altitude; the “Medium” route goes over 29.9 kilometres and an altitude of 1,482 metres; and the “Small” route goes over a distance of 11.2 kilometres and an altitude of 230 metres.

The programme also includes children’s races.

Full details can be found here.