The mountains are his charger

From zero to a hundred: Tyrolean Markus "Meex" Reich is a late-comer to ultra running and can therefore be found every free minute with his trail running shoes around the PillerseeTal Valley and on the KAT Walk, as long as you can keep up with him, of course.

kitzbueheler-alpen-lebenswege-meex-reich-pillerseetal-c-kitzbueheler-alpen-daniel-gollner-16© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

Not every sports career begins in childhood. Markus "Meex" Reich only traded in his worn-out sneakers for newly purchased running shoes after graduating secondary school. For him, it was the turning point in his life: "During my school years, I played in a heavy metal band, smoked a lot, liked to drink the odd beer with my mates and ate anything but healthy." One day, when he came home from a music festival completely physically exhausted, he suddenly realised: "I can't go on living like this, something has to change immediately. I felt like I was 60 years old, not a mere 24." This realisation hit him on a Sunday. That day he smoked his last cigarette. The following morning was the beginning of a new life for him: "On that Monday, I started my running career." Cigarette packets and beer cans went in the bin, and instead healthy food and a run entered his daily routine. Although his friends laughed at him at first, Meex did his thing and persisted to this very day.

© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

“Running” improvements

"At first it was only two or three kilometres that I managed to run, but I was getting better and better, and soon I started contemplating my first competitions." What started with just a few kilometres increased to half marathons, Iron Man and finally culminated in the Ultra Trails. "It was like an addiction. Even when I went on holiday with my family, my wife and kids would unanimously ask me to please fit in a sports session in the morning and evening because otherwise I became intolerable." The successes were not long in coming, with one of the most moving moments for Meex being his victory in the Karwendelmarsch, a trail covering 52 kilometres and more than 2,000 metres of altitude. The mountains are where he recharges his empty batteries: "The more exhausted I am when I reach a summit, the more energy the mountain and nature restore me.

A committed country bumpkin

kitzbueheler-alpen-lebenswege-meex-reich-pillerseetal-c-kitzbueheler-alpen-daniel-gollner-77© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

That's why he would never have thought of moving to the next city to make a career: "As a qualified computer scientist, I could earn three times as much in metropolises like Vienna, Munich, Berlin or Madrid as I earn here in the country. But city life would be pure hell for me." He wants to see his children grow up here in the PillerseeTal Valley region without worrying that the next children's playground will be overcrowded, because here the forest and nature simply take over that job. It is these values that matter to Meex.

A land of milk and honey opportunities

For him, his home is like a land of milk and honey, where he has everything he needs. The KAT Walk, the new highlight for long-distance hikers in Tyrol, runs not far from his front door. For Meex, this is the perfect route for trail running: "You run at altitudes of between 800 and 2,000 metres across Alpine meadows, tributary valleys and high plateaus and even relax your muscles a little in between, as the route is not high Alpine and is therefore ideally suited for trail running beginners." It is the peace and quiet and becoming one with nature that make Meex so enthusiastic about trail running. All of this he has found in his native home.

Kitzbüheler Alpen - Ways of life | Markus Reich

Sabine Ertl

Sabine Ertl

...nurture body and soul. Born 1986 in Carinthia, studied media and communication sciences in Klagenfurt. As a freelance journalist, copywriter and blogger she likes to travel a lot. Mountain freak, horse freak, neo-cellist and gourmet. More details: www.gedankenschmiede.at more details

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