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Istria 100 by UTMB® -Mens Elite Preview

Istria 100 by UTMB® -Mens Elite Preview

Chapter 1. LET THE SHOW BEGIN: The Istria 100 by UTMB® - The first event from UTMB® World Series 2022, Elites Preview
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Evolving from a regular, extremely rigorously organized race to one of the top races of 2022, the ninth edition of the Istria 100 by UTMB®️ is also the first event in the 2022 UTMB®️ World Series experience series (25 racing in 16 countries on 4 continents).

The race, which is said to be a gateway to the Middle Ages, took place on April 8 in Croatia – the Istrian peninsula, combining Croatian hospitality with Mediterranean delights and idyllic scenery competing with Dalmatia.

Finishing in Umag, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, Istria 100 by UTMB offers 5 races:

  • White 20k
  • Yellow 40k
  • Green 67k
  • Blue 128k
  • Red 168k- of which the queen race – RED 168k / 100miles sent its podium occupants directly to the most anticipated event of the year, namely the UTMB®️ World Series final – UTMB Mont-Blanc.

At the start of this year’s edition, a series of important athletes will line up, which will make this race a real mountain running festival and a delight for fans of the phenomenon, who can not stay away from the thrills of competition and favorite statistics.

The event can be watched exclusively on the TRAILRUNNING ACADEMY website, in a unique format, unprecedented in Romania, with live information and pictures from the spot throughout the event.

Among the favorites of this year’s RED race, in the MEN’S section, are definitely worth watching:

#1 – Robert Hajnal, 854 ITRA (Romania) 32 years old

UTMB - Pround Altrarian

Top Results: 

UTMB 2018 2nd
TGC 2022 5th
MIUT 2021 5th
Penyagolosa 2021 3rd
MIUT 2019 4th, OMT 2020 – 1st

#2  Sange Sherpa, 835 ITRA (Nepal) 40 ani 

Top Results: 

Lavaredo Ultra 2017 – 11th

UltraTrail du Cape Town 2018 – 6th

Thailand by UTMB 2021 – 3rd

# 3  Roberto Mastrotto, 820 ITRA (Italia) 34 ani 

Top Results: 

Lavaredo Ultra 2021 – 9th

UTMB 2018 – 19th

100miles Istria 2018 BLUE – 1st


#4  Boucheix Alexandre, 793 ITRA (Franta) 30 ani

Top Results: 

UTMB 2021 – 43rd, 

TGC 2019- 31st;


#9 Kruljac Pavle, 744 ITRA (Croatia) 35 ani 

Top Results: 

100miles Istria 2018 GREEN locul 5

100miles Istria 2019 GREEN locul 6

Let the show begin!

Vlad Jegan - Author

Jegan Vlad

Mountain runner with writing skills. Competition enthusiast and a very gourmand person. I love coffee too. Follow me on Instagram @jeganvlad. Kudos me on Strava / jeganvlad

From our blog

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UTMB roller-coaster

The emotions and experience of TrailRunning Academy athlete Valentin Bălănescu during the 170 km of the UTMB.

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Let’s get to know him a little better: Hannes Namberger

Let’s get to know him a little better: Hannes Namberger

A little preview of Hannes Namberger’s mindset, training philosophy, and how he became one of the best ultrarunners in the world.

Interview by Robert Hajnal


My name is Hannes Namberger. I am 32 years old and I am from the south of Germany, close to the Austrian border. I started trail running in 2015. I love running over 100km. 

2021 has been a very good year for me. I won the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy, MIUT 115, and I took part in the UTMB 100-mile race. It was my first time there. I finished in sixth position.

 It was a spectacular experience.

Ultrarunner // Dynafit Athlete

The first interaction

Hannes is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Not only from the running community but from all the people you will have ever encountered. I think this is a very valuable asset for a a person, I envy him for that. 

The first time I met Hannes, was at kilometer 25 at UTMB, where I caught up with him, he was in a difficult moment of the race.

I congratulated him for the Lavaredo race, wished him a successful race, and told him to take it slow. He did so until the 90th kilometer when he slowly overtook me and reached  Chamonix 6th.

Hannes Namberger 6th UTMB - TrailRunning Academy Interview @Hendrik Aufm Kolk

From ski to pubs to Trailrunning

 I must admit that I first heard about you as a runner at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in 2021, where you won the race, even though your running career started years before. Before talking about running, can you tell me more about your life, where were you born, where do you live now and what is the most frequent place you go out to have a beer?

I am 32 years old, I am German and I live in Ruhpolding. It’s between Munich and Salzburg, so directly in the Alps.

I work as a policeman on the border to Austria but I feel more like a Trailrunning Pro then a police officer. Since last year August I am engaged with my girlfriend Ida, so my  season highlight will be my wedding in June .

Sorry, but I have to say you don’t find me in a bar for a beer, I don’t like to go out for a drink and it’s difficult to find the time for that. 

I like it more to be in the mountains.

 I also admit that I stalked you after your 1st place at Lavaredo, scrolling through your Strava profile, interviews and so on. I know that you were a professional skier. Can you tell us more about your transition from skiing to running and why did you stick to ultrarunning?

I finished my skiing career in 2011 and started running in 2015. In the years between, I had a cool time partying, freeskiing, backpacking in Asia, and enjoying my life.

I did all these things that I couldn’t do as a skier. But when I started with running, I had to lose some weight. I was really heavy. I had 16kg more then now and my legs had the double size then my running legs.

I Never planned to make races or ultras, but I enjoyed the time in the mountains. The beginning of my transition was cool because the progress went so fast and then I heard about a 52km race in Austria.

I signed in, trained hard, and enjoyed every second of it. After this race, I said to myself “Let’s do this again!”.

From that moment on, running was my new sport.


Your first ITRA races were in 2015. Did you have a coach from the start of your running career?

No, I only listened to my body and did what I wanted. Fun was the most important thing at the beginning of my running career.

Your first 100km race was at CCC in 2019 and only two years later you had your best running year (1st Lavaredo, 1st MIUT, 6th UTMB). What have you done differently in 2021 and in the past 2 years?

The years before I trained without a plan and without introduction. I went out the door and had fun in the mountains. But after 2019 I wanted to be more professional and contacted Micha Arend, my Trainer of the past 2 years.


My longest day in running shoes 👟 ➡️ 101k in 11h 48m. Yesss i did it!! I finished my first 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣k race with many ups and downs…. but at the end i made the 12th place. Thanks to all who watched this race at the livestream.

Hannes after CCC in 2019

 What is the name of your coach and how did you two meet each other?

In 2020 & 2021 it was Michael Arend, he had a company for endurance Athletes. He was a trail runner too but in December of 2021, he sold his company to his employers which are also great trail runners, and quit his job. From January this year, I train under the rules of Lars Schweizer who learned everything from Micha Arend. So it’s a little bit of a change for me, but  I am actually very happy with my trainer.

Do you coach other athletes or do you focus mainly on your running career?

I focus only on racing. I do not coach other athletes but I am happpy when a young athlete writes to me and seek for advices, I will give my advice happily. 

What is your favourite anaerobe training? And what is your favourite training for improving lactate threshold? 

I don’t like anaerobe training because I am really bad at it. But you have to do it. The most time I do 5 times 3minutes or 4 times 8 minutes.

Sometimes I do 4 times 20 minutes uphill training which are really hard but necessary for the Ultra Races.

Hannes Namberger, Training

We all have lows during an ultra event. What do you tell yourself to lift you up? Do you have a mantra for the hard times?

I only try to push myself forward. Racing is for me only a fight against myself, that’s all.

Hannes Namberger pe ultimii kilometri de la MIUT, dorindu-și un singur obiectiv. Sub 14 ore, chiar dacă avea avans 40 minute față de locul 2.

You are now an Elite Dynafit athlete. Can you tell us more about the brand and what is required to be an elite athlete for your team?

I am in Dynafit since 2018 and it’s the perfect brand for me. This are products from athletes for athletes. I am in the Pro Team what is perfect for me, because I can do what I want to. I don’t have to run any series or special races. I wanna select my races by myself because I want to be on the startline with the best athletes in the world.

And Dynafit gives me the perfect equipment to perform on the highest level. An extra plus is that since this year they organized an endurance studio, it’s like a gym, but more for endurance athletes and I train there my body for stability.

Hannes Namberger - TrailRunning Academy Interview

What competition do you visualise yourself winning while you are training?

All my 4 big races. To win it’s not the most important thing for me, but more important is that I give my best and show my best performance!

What races will you do in 2022 and what is your main focus now in training?

My season opener is a short race on La Palma with 29km.

My main goals are Penyagolosa, Mozart100, Utmb and the World Championships in Thailand. Those are 4 big races plus my wedding


My focus in training is on 3 parts, uphill, flat and downhill because at all I am okay, but not really good. I have to improve more and more.

Hannes Namberger @Mariana Oliveira

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Leonard Mitrica: “The first international race I took part abroad was the World Championship.”

Leonard Mitrică - Alergător Montan

Leonard Mitrica: “The first international race I took part abroad was the World Championship.”

Leonard Mitrică is one of the best mountain runners in Romania and one of his first races abroad was World Championship

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Leonard Mitrica is one of the best mountain runners in Romania, managed an extraordinary 11th place at the Marathon du Mont Blanc, last year, a race in which he held an entire country nervous.

Find out from the TrailRunning Academy interview how come the first international race was the World Mountain Running Championship and get inspired by the immense ambition and discipline it shows!

We will start with a question where we are sure you can give us at least two answers if you think about it from a philosophical perspective: for how long have you been running?

Officially, since the end of 2015, I started running several times a week as a recreational activity. Then it gradually turned into a passion that I wanted to develop as much as possible.

Everyone knows you as one of the most disciplined and conscientious athletes, as clearly evidenced by your continuous rise. Are the years spent in the military education system the ones that helped you to organize yourself so well, or did you choose this system precisely because you had these qualities from the beginning?

I consider that running and the desire to have the best results disciplined me the most. I can’t necessarily say that the years spent in military education have done that to me because when something is imposed on you it is more difficult than when you do it on your initiative. So, along the way, I saw that those who have results are constantly training and I realized that I should do the same thing because, in the beginning, I was not training that often.

You suddenly appeared at the races and started to win most of those where you participated. At the first World Championships, top 15. From the outside, it looks like you “burned” a few stages. Have you ever had a moment, or maybe a condition, in the area of impostor syndrome?

Sincerely, I have never had any problems with this syndrome. On the contrary, the very good results I obtained in school and high school at the sports tests and the resistance I had because I rode my bike a lot gave me the confidence that I have potential in this sport as well. 

In 2016 we finished in 20th place at the Intersport Half Marathon race and in 9th place at Ciucaș X3. 

Then I started to pay more attention to training and nutrition and the results started to appear, which gave me a lot of confidence that I was on the right track. 

I participated for the first time in a World Championship after three and a half years of training, being the first international race that I participated in.

How much talent is there, but most importantly, how much of what we see is work? What is the best asset you currently use, but which you have cultivated without realizing it as a child?

Work highlights talent so one without the other doesn’t work. I am a hardworking person and most of the results are due to this, managing to realize my potential. Of course, I’m sure the gene I inherited also helped me, but all my skills were developed through work. The trick I cultivated as a child is to get things to an end no matter why. I can proudly say that I have a low dropout rate in races or training.

I wanted to ask you what surprises you are preparing for 2022, but I realized that it would be superficial to call them like that. So, what amazing results can we expect from you this year?

I always want to evolve from one season to another and I always want to get at least the results from the previous years. I want to get better results at international competitions and to be able to reach the top 10 in the European and World Championship.

You had 2 races last summer where you, unfortunately, lost some important positions in the last part of the race. Which is the most important lesson you have learned from these experiences?

 I can say that I overestimated my fitness from that moment and in the first part I ran next to some of the most valuable runners, and then I paid for this mistake. But in this way, I managed to increase my limits to run above the level I was used to doing.

Was the OCC just a longer marathon, or an important first step towards the ultra?

For now, I prefer to focus on racing up to 50-55km where I can value most of my motor skills: strength, speed, and endurance. In the future, I will try some ultra-races but when I take this decision, I will gradually increase the distances covered in the competitions.

The last question, which is actually more like a kind request: which are the top 3 books that helped you in your sports career?

Atomic habits-James Clear

Eat & run- Scott Jurek

Nutrition for Amateur and Performance Athletes-Renee McGregor

Running coach?

Let me teach you training, nutrition and competition tricks!

Andrei Ivănescu - Autor Articol (1)
De pe blog.

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UTMB roller-coaster

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