Andreas Reiterer lines up with Team Italy for the first time at the 2022 Trail World Championships 80-kilometer race. In the following interview, our first with Andreas, learn about his mountain life in South Tyrol, how he came to running via alpine skiing, his surge in the last two years into international-level competition, and what he thinks of this weekend’s race course.
Andreas Reiterer Pre-2022 Trail World Championships 80k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Andreas Reiterer. It’s a couple of days before the 2022 Trail World Championships 80k long course race. Hi, Andreas. We’re just meeting for the first time.
Andreas Reiterer: Hi, Meghan. Yes. I’m happy to meet you and let’s go for the interview. [laughs]
iRunFar: Let’s do this. This is iRunFar’s first interview with you, so I’d love to get to know you a little bit. I learned you come from South Tyrol. Tell me a little bit about your life outside of running and then how you came to mountain running and then ultra-trail races.
Reiterer: Yes, I live in South Tyrol in a little town. It’s called Hafling. I have at home a hotel with my whole family. We work all together there. I work in the kitchen. And so it’s good. We found a good way with my sport to put them all together and they support me. The whole family supports me and I have also a wonderful wife. We married in April this year.
iRunFar: Congratulations! You’re a newlywed?
Reiterer: Yes. Yeah so, I started running in 2015. Before I was an alpine skier, but yeah. I had two times the ligaments broken in my knee and then after that I quit with skiing and I tried with another sport and yeah, it’s good.
iRunFar: And the ligaments are holding up for running.
Reiterer: Yeah, until now it’s okay, but I hope in 10 years it’s also okay.
iRunFar: Yeah. So, what’s the name of the hotel in your hometown so runners can come stay there and visit?
Reiterer: The hotel is called Viertlerhof and you are all welcome to come visit us.
iRunFar: Watch out because a lot of people might show up for training now.
Reiterer: Yeah, it would be nice if somebody visited us, yes.
iRunFar: I love it. It looks like you started competing internationally in trail ultras in 2021, like kind of after the pandemic?
Reiterer: Yeah. After, yes. Because before I did only races in Italy. And so in the pandemic, the hotel was closed and we had a lot of time. I trained a bit more and I began to think about my training and also to go outside Europe or Italy, and to better races. And yes, now I’m here.
iRunFar: It seemed like you were good at international racing. Like kind of immediately you were top five at CCC. I think, did you try Lavaredo Ultra Trail by UTMB last year, too? And that one went less well, but when you finished a race it went really, really well.
Reiterer: Yeah, last year at CCC I did fourth and I tried also Lavaredo for the first time and that didn’t go well. This year also Lavaredo didn’t go well.
iRunFar: Oh really?
Reiterer: Yeah. This race is on my bucket list, but I don’t know what it is with this race. But one time I will go there, and I will do it.
iRunFar: A good Lavaredo.
Reiterer: I hope so, because it’s in Italy and for us, it’s a big race. Yeah.
iRunFar: Yeah. It’s one of Italy’s most, is it Italy’s most competitive ultra trail?
Reiterer: Yes, for sure.
iRunFar: And so last year, you had a great CCC and then you followed it up with an even better CCC this year, finishing on the podium and I think over a half hour faster?
Reiterer: Yeah, more than a half hour.
iRunFar: More than a half hour.
Reiterer: Yeah, this year we pushed a lot, and I had a good day. And then to run with [Petter] Engdahl and Jon Albon, it was very cool for me.
iRunFar: Yeah. And now here we are a few months later. We’re in Thailand. You’re representing Team Italy. The Trail World Championships. This is a different experience. You’re competing for an individual position but you’re also competing on a team.
Reiterer: Yeah, now we are here with the whole Italian team. On the 80-kilometer course, we are six male athletes. And we do an individual race now, but we hope also to do a good race together for the team. Yeah, so that’s very important because to run for this jersey, you run not only for you, you run also for the team.
iRunFar: Has there been any talk among team Italy, not to give away your strategy, but about figuring out how to work together and to use the group dynamic to better you all?
Reiterer: Yes, it’s, because in the team there counts the first three men and the philosophy is to, that also when you are the fourth or the fifth, don’t give up because if someone in front gets injured or something, then you have to get the points. And so all six athletes must give everything until the last meter.
iRunFar: Until the very end. Now for me, this race is interesting. iRunFar has been covering the Trail World Championships for years. And this is the first time that there have been two Trail World Championships and then also the mountain running World Championships also together. So, it’s four men’s races, four women’s races. The teams are huge. Like Team Italy has a ton of people here. What has been that — and you’ve been here, team Italy has been here for a while now — what has that dynamic been like traveling with so many people competing for a common goal?
Reiterer: Yes, in Italy we have, altogether we are in 35 or 40 athletes.
Reiterer: Yeah, it’s very cool because we do ultra races and the others do mountain races and normally, we don’t meet so often.
Reiterer: So here we came all together. And one group is here since 10 days, the group for the long distance to check the course and so, and the other came a little bit later. But now we are all here and we are all healthy and ready to attack.
iRunFar: Ready to attack. Ready to be aggressive.
Reiterer: Yes. [laughs]
iRunFar: Now let’s talk about the course and the climate a little bit. You’ve been here long enough to see the whole course. What do you think?
Reiterer: Yeah, we have seen the whole course and it’s, it will be fun because there is everything a bit. Steep climbs, steep downhills. And then the middle part is more runnable, and also a bit rocky. But yeah, I think it will be a good race.
iRunFar: You said when we were talking before the interview that you think the course slightly favors that people who are better at the steeps.
Reiterer: Yeah, a good climber maybe has a bit more chances, but you never know in a race with eight hours or more. There can happen a lot and yeah.
iRunFar: Yeah. What do you think of the heat? I mean, Italy in general has a bit of heat compared to other European countries, but this is a bit different.
Reiterer: Yeah. The heat is not so the problem. It’s more the humidity. Yes, because after five minutes you are totally sweating.
Reiterer: You know when we can drink a lot and also eat, that’s very important. Because I think you have to drink every hour a liter or so if it’s possible.
iRunFar: If you can.
Reiterer: If you can.
iRunFar: Have you found exactly or an idea of how much more you need to drink in this humid climate than you do if you were say, doing CCC or something in Europe?
Reiterer: Yes, here we’ve done two trainings with more than three hours, and I have seen that I had to drink much, much more than at home or at other races. Only in training but then in the race to go even faster. I think there’s a lot, but I’ve seen there are a lot of refreshment points, and so it’s no problem to get water.
iRunFar: To get enough water. Last question for you. Thailand is a pretty exotic place for a race, and you’ve been here for a bit. What kinds of cool cultural or food or sightseeing things have you done since being here?
Reiterer: Yes, we, yesterday we saw the elephants. That was very,
iRunFar: You went to see elephants! Oh, wow!
Reiterer: Yeah. So, it was nice to see them. We could also swim with them. Yeah.
iRunFar: Did you do that?
Reiterer: Yeah, yeah. In the mud, and then we were full of mud.
iRunFar: Oh my gosh, that’s fun.
Reiterer: And we gave them food because they eat 200 kilograms per day. They have to eat a lot.
iRunFar: Only a little more than an ultra-trail runner.
Reiterer: [laughs] Yeah.
iRunFar: Wow, that sounds like an interesting way to spend your time in Thailand.
Reiterer: Yeah. I think we are here for racing, that’s the first, that’s the important part. But also, when we can see something like that it’s, for us it’s very beautiful. Yes.
iRunFar: Well, Andreas, thanks for this interview. It’s great to get to know you and good luck in those 80 kilometers, every single one of them on Saturday.
Reiterer: Thank you and see you on the finish line.
iRunFar: And the start line and in the middle of the race.
iRunFar: Best of luck.
Reiterer: Thank you. Thank you.