At the 2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k, Stevie Kremer, of the U.S., and Zaïd Ait Malek, a Moroccan living in Spain, ran to respective wins against fast fields on a burly course but under the sunniest of skies and the watchful eye of the race’s namesake mountain.
In addition to this article, you can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Live Coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to Matterhorn Ultraks 46k-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.
2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Men’s Race
From the gun, men’s champ Zaïd Ait Malek put himself in the running, arriving to the first two checkpoints, Sunnegga at 6k and Gornergrat at 14k, in second place. At the first checkpoint, he was breathing down the neck of early leader Aritz Egea, and then just 45 seconds back at Gornergrat. About half of the race’s climbing happens between the start and Gornergrat, some 1,770 meters/5,800 feet of climb. Whew!
From Gornergrat’s lofty perch, Zaïd let it rip on the super-runnable downhill to Riffealp at 19k, passing and putting two minutes on Aritz during that 5k. After Riffelalp, the downhill continues to before another moderate-sized climb (for Europe) to Schwarzsee at 28k. We were stationed at 30k after Schwarzsee and saw Zaïd roll by four minutes ahead of any other runners. Then, again, with 5k to go, atop the last climb at about 2,700 meters altitude and between the Trift refuge and the town of Zermatt, he was six minutes ahead of any competition. At the finish, he had built a seven-minute buffer over the rest of the field, asserting his dominance over the runners here as well as this course.
After early leader Aritz lapsed to second position before 19k, he ran there until being overtaken by eventual second-place finisher, Gion Bundi, in the race’s last third. Aggressive running early, especially on the huge climb to Gornergrat, but Aritz managed to hold onto the final spot of the podium.
Unlike Zaïd and Aritz’s more aggressive race tactics, Gion Bundi took the start much more conservatively, running in 9th through Sunnegga at 6k. On the long climb from there to Gornergrat, he moved up to fourth place before taking over third on the descent before 19k at Riffelalp. Somewhere between 30k and 41k, he was able to move even further up, into second position, which he would strongly hold through the finish.
Hassan Ait Chaou and Franco Sancassani rounded out the men’s top five.
2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Men’s Results
- Zaïd Ait Malek (BUFF) – 4:45:01
- Gion Bundi (Euskal) – 4:52:21
- Artiz Egea (Euskal) – 4:55:17
- Hassan Ait Chaou (Euskal) – 4:58:54
- Franco Sancassani (Patagonia) – 5:08:10
- André Jonsson (Peak Performance) – 5:08:50
- Oscar Casal (Andorra) – 5:10:21
- Esmond Tresidder – 5:10:44
- Thorbjørn Ludvigsen (Salomon) – 5:15:58
- Andrew Fallas – 5:16:44
2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Women’s Race
Women’s champ Stevie Kremer wasn’t afraid to let other women lead early on, sitting on their heels until the time was right for her to open things up. At Sunnegga at 6k, Gornergrat at 14k, and Riffelalp at 19k, Stevie ran just off the lead, in second and behind eventual second-place finisher Elisa Desco at Sunnegga, in third place behind Kasie Enman and Elisa at Gornergrat, and still in third place behind Elisa and Kasie at Riffelalp. But then, but then! Somewhere in the long descent off Riffelalp and the climb to Schwarzsee at 28k, Stevie took over the lead. When we saw her at 30k just after Schwarzsee, she was more than a minute ahead of everyone else, and again at 41k, she was a full four minutes up on any other ladies. Her win was about four minutes faster than any other woman this year, and 23 minutes faster than Emelie Forsberg’s win in the inaugural race last year, a new course record.
Elisa Desco seemed to run aggressively from the get go, leading or running with the lead for the first three checkpoints at Sunnegga at 6k, Gornergrat at 14k, and Riffelalp at 19k. After that she was passed by eventual winner Stevie, but it doesn’t seem like she ever gave up on gassing it. She was running hard and fast both times we saw her in the second half of the race, holding her own against every other woman but the winner.
Third place Maite Maiora ran a textbook race for finishing on the podium within a competitive women’s field. Here’s how her race went down:
- fifth place and looking super chill at Sunnegga, at 6k,
- fourth place and lurking in the shadows of the podium at Gornergrat, 14k,
- back into fifth place but running with fourth place at 19k at Riffelalp,
- fourth place at Schwarzsee at 28k, and
- third place with 5k to go and closing hard.
Somewhere in the race’s last third, we heard she briefly snuck into second place before Elisa took second back before 5k to go. Solid strategy by Maite.
Kasie Enman and Emelie Forsberg were the fourth- and fifth-place women.
2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Women’s Results
- Steveie Kremer (Salomon) – 5:18:43
- Elisa Desco (SCOTT) – 5:22:35
- Maite Maiora (La Sportiva) – 5:23:19
- Kasie Enman (Salomon) – 5:24:41
- Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 5:41:47
- Leire Aguirrezabala (Euskal) – 5:45:13
- Laia Andreu (FEEC) – 5:47:12
- Stephanie Jimenez (Salomon) – 5:53:36
- Anna Comet (FEEC) – 6:02:06
- Eva Maria Moreda – 6:09:53
2014 Matterhorn Ultraks 46k Articles, Race Reports, and More
Articles and Photo Galleries
- Kilian Jornet’s photo album from spectating the race
- Salomon Running’s photo gallery
- Official race video
A romping thank you to Donielle and Chris Wolfe who helped put together our race coverage today. We couldn’t have done it without them!