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From the Zugspitz Ultratrail

From the Zugspitz Ultratrail

Photography by Kelvin Trautman

Over the past decade, ultra-running has gone from a fringe sport pursued by only purists to a headline grabbing, hero-making industry, where big companies headline sponsor races across the globe attracting runners (and non-runners) in their thousands.

The Zugspitz Ultratrail is one such race; a trail running ultra marathon which takes runners along a spectacular 101-kilometre route around the glaciers, huge granite rocks faces and sweeping valleys of the Zugspitz massif, Germany’s highest mountain. There’s more than 5700 metres of climbing and the last competitors stumble in 36 hours after the start. Photographer Kelvin Trautman covered the race bringing alive the beauty of the terrain while also paying tribute to those unexpected, gritty moments that give you a sense of how tough it is to complete an ultra marathon trail run.

From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail

Above: 2500 runners from 50 nations come to run this race. Running an ultra marathon is tough. So tough that most of us find it hard to relate to. And it’s this reason why I find shooting these types of stories so rewarding. Yes, the scenery is beautiful but the crux of this tale lies in the triumph over suffering and pain.

Below: Looking for reprieve from the cold and wet, a competitor takes off his drenched kit under the shelter of an aid station tent. My heart really went out to the runners here. 28 hours into the race, they were having to endure some morale sapping running conditions; it was dark, below freezing, and raining incessantly. They were also another four hours from the finish.

From the Zugspitz Ultratrail From the Zugspitz Ultratrail

Above: There is a good chance the raw, unfiltered emotion at the finish line of an ultra marathon will make you well up with endearment at what your fellow humans can achieve. It might even tempt you to do one of these races. This competitor crossed the finish line 4th from last, in a time of 35hrs 40mins – a moment I would say he probably won’t forget in a hurry.

Keep up with photographer Kelvin Trautman’s adventures and beautiful photography at his website
Instagram: @kelvin_trautman
Twitter: @kelvintrautman

For more on the Zugspitz Ultratrail visit