Records Broken at 9th ISTRIA 100 by UTMB!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Goran Jakus
Goran Jakus

More than 1,000 runners from all over the world gathered in Umag this weekend. This year’s special feature included the largest number of Elite Runners so far, which resulted in an incredible increase in ambition and competitiveness in all races from 168km to 40km.

“We were expecting a race full of excitement, but we were also surprised by how heartily all the runners set out to break the announced records. The winners of gold medals in almost all lengths stood out after less than half of the race, but the fight for 2nd and 3rd places until the very end of the race was incredibly uncertain,” said Alen Paliska, director of the Istra 100 by UTMB® race.

Robert Hajnal, an elite runner originally from Romania, started the 168km RED race from Labin with some hesitation. He allowed fellow runners to keep at a pace that suited them until Plomin Harbor. He wisely completed the section to Mošćenička Draga. After leaving the control zone, he took the lead, which he only increased until the end of the race, finishing in 18 hours, 26 minutes, and 47 seconds and achieving the announced record of the new route. The difference between him and second-placed Italian Roberto Mastrotto was more than an hour! Third-placed Czech Aleš Sedlak was also 40 minutes behind Mastrotto. A minute later, Nepalese runner Sange Sherpa entered the finish line, who slowed down on Trstenik and lost the advantage over the others.


Petar Lupic

“Experienced runners will understand well what it means that Hajnal ran the race at an average speed of 9.13km / h and when we say that the race was extremely dynamic!” added Marko Gregurić, CEO, Istria 100 by UTMB®.

“Additionally, we are especially proud of the female runners who joined us in the race. Spaniard Ragna Debats, Swiss Luzia Buehler, and Slovenian Barbara Jolič are at the very top of the ultra trail racing scene. Spain’s Ragna won 1st place in the women’s category and 5th place overall. Switzerland’s Luiza won 2nd place in the women’s category and 6th place overall. These amazing results further confirm a great future for women in this sport!”

The shorter BLUE race of 128km was dictated by the Dutchman Peter Van Der Zon, who flew the track in 13 hours, 34 minutes, and 54 seconds. Behind him was Canadian Galen Reynolds and in third Slovak Tomas Borcin. Hungarian Ildiko Wermescher finished the race ahead of all other women in 18 hours, 49 minutes, and 48 seconds. Although this was their first visit to Istria, everyone is already announcing their return for sports and tourism.

Famous Slovak runners Martin Halasz and Portuguese Helio Fumo took part in the 68km GREEN race. Martin finished the race in 5 hours, 33 minutes, and 21 seconds, and Fumo in 6 minutes longer. Until the very end, Halasz and Fumo spent the race outsmarting and strategizing to win first place, while the Dutchman Huub Van Noorden used the opportunity to increase the pace. The cheerful and smiling Latvian Anete Švilpe finished the race in 6 hours, 34 minutes, and 26 seconds. She was followed by Latvian compatriot Irita Pukite in second place and Swiss Corina Sommer in third place.


Marko Kadija

In the YELLOW 40 km race, Swiss Kevin Vermeulen ran to the finish line in 2 hours, 50 minutes, and 25 seconds. He was followed by the Italians, Gianluca Ghiano in 2nd place and Michele Meridio in 3rd place. Croatian Irena Smojver won the women’s race in 3 hours, 58 minutes, and 28 seconds. Second place went to Macedonian Elena Rtoska and third place to Romanian Cristina Cecan.

In the 20 km WHITE race powered by HEP, Frenchman Demien Humbert ran in 1 hour, 15 minutes, and 49 seconds. Second place went to Croat Marko Horvat, and third place went to Slovenian Miha Romic. In the women’s category, in first was Italian Alessia Menel, in second German Sandra Bannernberg, and in third was Croatian Martina Kordić.

Depending on the length of the trail they had chosen, the runners started their selected races from Labin (168 km), Lovran (128 km), Buzet (68 km), and Motovun (40 km). All runners passed through the finish line in Umag.

Sunday was reserved for the shortest but most dynamic race powered by HEP, which started from Grožnjan and ran a distance of 20 km.

The City of Umag, Umag Tourist Board, HEP, Ina Croatia, global sponsors UTMB® World Series Hoka, Dacia and Wahoo, and other partners and sponsors recognized the potential and impact of Istria 100 by UTMB® in the development of sports, tourism, and related services in Istria and Croatia.

The traditionally strongest international ultra trail race in Istria was part of the UTMB® World Series trail platform. The goal of the World Series trail platform is to provide runners with exclusive access to the top trail sport but also the final of the world series of races, UTMB® Mont-Blanc. UTMB® World Series consists of 30 international trail races. Istria 100 by UTMB® is now part of this selected society.

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