On 6 April 2019, the third edition of the great uphill challenge Rüfi 900 took place in Lech Zürs am Arlberg. Under bright sunshine, this year’s race saw sixty ambitious athletes competing for the triumph in perfect snow conditions. The aim was to overcome the distance of six kilometres and a difference in altitude of 960 metres from the parking area Schlosskopf to the finish line at 2,350 metres above sea level at the Rüfikopf – without the assistance of any motor-driven means. The core piece of the route was the 300 metre long Langer Zug with its average slope of 78%.
This year’s competition brought superlative results. Not only was Ski-Club Arlberg more than glad to welcome plenty of active participants, but also a sensational new record time was established. Alexander Hutter from the Stubai valley conquered the mountain in just 52:42.6 minutes – more than five minutes faster than the rest of the competitors. Even at his young age, Hutter, who was born in 1992, is considered a fairly experienced mountain runner as his several successes give proof of. “I felt very well, however, the challenge of the Langer Zug was still a demanding one to overcome”, said the winner. Also Alexander Waaler (Norway, second place) and Bernhard Traxl (Tyrol, third place) managed to finish the race in under sixty minutes. Once more, the now 68 year old Albert Huber from Lech demonstrated his outstanding physical condition and arrived the finish line in tenth place with a total run-time of 1:07:49. The women’s competition saw Gaby Marek-Schmid (Germany, 23rd place overall) finish fastest with a final time of 1:14:08.
The sporting event was followed by a grill party in laid-back atmosphere in front of the Postagarage Lech, also providing a proper setting for the award ceremony. The strong-voiced rockabilly all-girl group U.B.Dolls and DJ Sigi from Lech provided musical entertainment at world-class level. In the evening, a legendary party was held at the Postgarage, co-hosted by the organisers of the Kästle Dirndl Ski Day and musically accompanied by the fresh beats of DJ Fritz from St. Anton.
Meanwhile, the date for the fourth edition of Rüfi 900 has already been booked. The event will take place on 4. April 2020.
© photo rights: Bernadette Otter