How Plan B came to be
Success doesn't always come easy
I found it very interesting to learn that the first Transalpine Running race drew 72 teams, compared to the 325 teams that are registered in their 10th year. This challenging race had a challenging start, and Plan B had to overcome some pretty serious obstacles in the first year.
Just two days before the start, one of the first stage towns was flooded due to poor weather. Not only that, but their supplies, aid station food, everything was ruined in the flood as well. They had to do some major rerouting of the course and organize buses to shuttle runners safely to a new area where they could continue the race and buy all new supplies. Anyone who has ever run this race knows how difficult it is and the determination that is required from the runners to finish. How fitting, I feel, that in their first year, the race organizers showed the same determination required by their runners and didn't give up on what has become one of the world's greatest international running races of all time, hosting as many as 42 nations since the start of the race.
More than a run
Tourism plays a large role this event as it creates an opportunity for runners to experience all the beautiful stage towns across 3-4 countries, with the culture of each town providing a backdrop to the incredible journey of the running event. With the opportunity to experience the beauty and hospitality of alpine villages, TAR is more than just a race - it's also a vacation. Plan B makes it easy for families to come along by offering a friend and family package complete with maps, directions to cheering spots along the route, tickets to come to the daily pasta parties and wind up event. Many plan to stay longer after the race or travel before the race starts. When I asked Uta what she was most looking forward to about the 2015 race, she said they hope to have a few new stage towns to offer new experiences to runners. :)
Community beyond the race
Open arms at the finish line
One of Uta's other favorite memories of the race is watching the middle- to end-of-pack runners cross the finish line. You will often see Uta in dark sunglasses as she hands out finisher medals because it is so emotional for her; she cries with joy almost the whole time. She says she understands how much work it takes to prepare for the race, especially when most runners have families, jobs and busy schedules - not to mention the sheer toll it takes to cross over the Alps in 8 days. Although there are no guarantees on how each runner's journey will unfold, you CAN be guaranteed to find Uta with open arms at the start and the finish of the journey...