Armin Zwinz

230 kilometers full of passion, success and failure

Armin Zwinz - © Rphael Trautwein

230 km - 10,000 meters altitude- 3 days! Immerse yourself with us in the "Mission Running SalzAlpenSteig"! Four daring trail running athletes faced a very special challenge: to run from Chiemsee (D) to Hallstatt (AUT) over the Salzalpensteig in three days. The athletes faced an unforgettable adventure. Armin Zwinz, initiator and one of the four runners, tells you about this experience in our J-Athletes blog. 

May 27, 3:30 am: I didn't sleep very well. In a few minutes a project starts for which David, Steffi, Gregor and I have been preparing for months. It's raining and cold, but our motivation is unbelievable. Full of energy and ready for action, we start shortly after 4 a.m. in Prien am Chiemsee.
Running SalzAlpenSteig - © Raphael Trautwein

In the first few hours, despite adverse weather conditions, we are making good progress and after 6 hours and 42 km we arrive at the highest point of the first day, the 1600m high Hochfelln. No prospect, so continue straight down into the valley, where lunch is waiting. Our support team ensures that we lack nothing and accompanies us along our route.

"Enjoying the little things is extremely important on an ultra trail run!"

After a warming noodle soup, it goes on again. Our destination for the day: Bad Reichenhall. More than 20km and 500 more vertical meters separate us from it. After a total of almost 13 hours, it's actually done. This first day clearly demanded a lot from us. More than I expected. Then the reward during our dinner: The evening sun shows up and shines in our faces. It's the little things that you have to enjoy on an ultra trail run. These are also the moments that give you a lot of strength.

The second day "only" starts at 5:30. The bones are already heavy, but the motivation is still high. As we head down towards Berchtesgadener Land, the freshly snowed-in Watzmann lies directly in front of us in the sunrise. We have our first wow moment. What an incredible view.

Running SalzAlpenSteig - © Raphael Trautwein

As the sun shines, so does the joy of running. The atmosphere in the team is good. Highlight of the day: crossing the border into Austria. With 135km covered, we have already covered more than half of the way. We should have done 160km by evening. I am overwhelmed by how well we are going. An average of 5.5 minutes per kilometer is impressive. Nevertheless, all of them are now suffering small injuriesd. With the faint hope that the night will bring the necessary regeneration, we go to bed after a short dinner. 

Day 3 started at 4:30. The euphoria fizzled out overnight and small ailments turned into real pain. The days before we always pushed each other well, but today there is simply no more mutual support. That would cost too much strength that nobody has any more. Everyone is on their own and has to pull together all their strength for the last 70km.

Running SalzAlpenSteig - © Raphael Trautwein

David and I are in particularly severe pain. We suffer from swelling and inflammation. At the first checkpoint we decide to let the other two continue walking alone and want to try to catch up later.

"Admitting to yourself that you have to give up is the worst!"

I have a complete mental breakdown. I'm crying, I don't see any chance of going on. Somehow I pull myself up again and decide to go on walking alone. Alone on the mountain I run around like remote-controlled, get lost and become more and more insecure. I come to the end of having to stop. Having to admit to yourself that you have to give up is the worst. My run is over after 189 km. Nevertheless, David and I want to complete our project together with the others. Our supporters bring me and David to Steffi and Gregor and finally we master the last 10km of our run together. When we arrive at the salt mountain directly above Hallstatt, we can already hear a lot of people waiting for us. Another 2km downhill, then we are at our destination. The common finish is indescribable. Suddenly nobody is in pain anymore. We are all inspired by the people at the main square who are cheering for us. With Bengali fire, cheers, live music and raging applause, we are accompanied for the last few meters. Incredible emotions hit us all. 230 kilometers of passion, success and failure are behind us.

“This experience was unforgettable - I would do it again!

Even if I didn't manage the 230 km, we completed the project as a team. I see my decision to stop so as not to get serious injuries as personal maturity and thus as a success. The project gave us a huge boost in motivation and we are already wondering what else we can do. We are ready for our next adventure. Stay on our heels and visit me on my personal blog:

Running SalzAlpenSteig - © Raphael Trautwein

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