History – How everything started

The story of the Trans Thüringia


The idea of a sleddog-race along the Rennsteig at Thüringen came from:

  • Margit und Walter Tinz from MKC
  • Wolfgang Pfeifer from MKC
  • Michael Beil from SSCT, later on DSLT and
  • Kurt Sprenger from HSSC

These five initiators together with a lot of supporters from the councils and clubs from Thüringen gave life to the idea. Permissions from the authorities were also necessary because you can’t organize such a project without them.

This was the beginning of the races through the years

Trans Thüringia 1995 – Distance 330 km

The first race started at Lauscha and included a long trail and a middle-distance part as well as a touring-class. Around 50 starters were expected but 140 mushers were announced.

Trans Thüringia 1996 – Distance 255 km

The second race had not only Lauscha as a partner for organization but also the villages Scheibe-Alsbach and Masserberg. It was limited to the possibilities of Long trail and Tour, because there was not enough space at the stake-out for such a big number of starters.

About 90 starters took part, but the weather did not, and therefore 40 mushers canceled the race and went home.

Trans Thüringia 1997 – Distance 155 km

Again the members of the organization-team changed, Lauscha quit the board and Altenfeld entered.  So now the race included the villages Masserberg, Scheibe-Alsbach and Altenfeld. Around 80 mushers were welcomed, 50 at the long-trail-class, 30 at the touring-class. Because of the lack of snow, the race had to be canceled after the 4th day. Despite the two days of rain it counted as a completed race.

After the winners celebration on Thursday evening the weather rapidly changed and it started to snow. Therefore the so-called „Trans-Altenfeld“ was started at the weekend at Altenfeld, were the club was perfectly prepared. It was a good-will action of the village and its first partnership during the race.

Trans Thüringia 1998 – Distance 301 km

The same villages, but in a different line-up organized this race. 35 starters at the long-trail-class and 15 starters at the touring-class took part. But again the weather wasn’t steady over the whole time and the race was canceled after the 8th stage, which had already been shortened to 12 km. Apart from this, the mushers had a nice time at a biwak, placed near Altenfeld at the Albert-Schweizer-Hütte, which was part of the race.

Trans Thüringia 1999 – Distance 412 km

This time the village of Scheibe-Alsbach left the organization-team and so it were,  Siegmundsburg, Masserberg, Altenfeld and Neuhaus am Rennsteig taking part in the race. It became the most beautiful race since the first at 1995 and 80 mushers started including 30 mushers at the touring-class.

Trans Thüringia 2000 – planned distance 375 km

This race wasn’t even started for the lack of snow.

Trans Thüringia 2001 - Distance 100 km

As there had been no race in 2000, the plan could be used for this years race. The villages Masserberg, Neustadt am Rennsteig and Altenfeld joint the organization-team. 85 mushers applied and for the first time the touring-class was limited to 20 starters. At the end 45 mushers started at the long-trail-class but the race has to be canceled after two parts because it was raining all night through and there was no possibility of preparing a trail.

Trans Thüringia 2002 - planned distance 395 km

Everything was ready to start at Altenfeld, Neuhaus am Rennsteig, Sigmundsburg and Masserberg but there was no snow and the race was again canceled without a beginning. As the DSLT had been a partner of organization during the last years, it now took over the organization completely.

Trans Thüringia 2003 – Distance 375 km

For the first time there was no biwak offered as it had became clear that the mushers did not want to stay outside in the tent overnight anymore. Therefore Sigmundsburg wasn’t part of the race in this year.

The others organized the best race they had ever had. The weather was beautiful and the race took place in an atmosphere of fairness and partnership. The organization was called ‘perfect’ by the 30 mushers that took part.

Trans Thüringia 2004 – Distance 180 km

Until one week before the start, everything seemed to be perfect, with around 80 cm of snow covering the area of the planned trails. But suddenly the temperature rose to 18° C and within three days the snow was nearly gone. So the race was canceled again.

But a week later the weather forecasters talked about falling temperatures and a lot of snow for the following weekend, so all mushers were phoned to stand by. Everyone looked forward to the winter returning.

When snow fell, the race was started some days later. 4 stages took place at Masserberg, because there was either not enough snow at the other places or the strong wind had blown the snow away. From the original announced 71 starters at least 53 took part and enjoyed the race. Unfortunately there was a big biathlon event nearby at Oberhof and this took the visitors away from us.

According to the wishes of the starters a biwak was planned but had to be canceled because of the shortening of the race.

Trans Thüringia 2005 - Distance 305 km

It seemed the weather-god was friendly minded this year, as we were welcomed at Thüringen by excellent snow-conditions and wonderful sunshine. It was planned to start the race at Neustadt am Rennsteig and to end at Altenfeld. I n between there should be a part at Altenfeld including a biwak at the Albert-Schweizer-Hütte, which was the wish of the mushers.

We wanted the race to go over 375 km. 70 starters managed 4 runs, including the trail to the biwak and back. After this there were 2 runs at Masserberg and at the end there should have been 3 runs at Altenfeld.

But we were caught by the bad weather. While the first run still had good conditions during the night rain started to fall and snow turned to water in seconds. We had to cancel the last two runs but apart from this, everyone was pleased with this race.

Trans Thüringia 2006 – Distance 380 km

Without the usual sorrow during the planning stages, the mushers arrived in Thüringen finding perfect snow conditions. Altenfeld showed itself snow covered and the opening-party took place in a solemn atmosphere.

Two television-teams filmed the leaving starters and saw for themselves, how exciting and hard such a race is. After 3 runs at Altenfeld all changed to Neustadt for the coming runs. There the weather became unpredictable, from snow to icy rain, to rain and storm, everything happened. But the hardcore mushers stayed overnight in their tents and came back to Neustadt for a shortened trail, according to the weather conditions.

We changed to Masserberg and the winter showed its snowy side. The last three runs were completed by most of the mushers and the lucky winner got a beautiful trophy in form of a goblet at the end. The others also got presents and certificates for taking part in the 10th Trans Thüringia.

We also gave presents and trophies to the patrons and guests of honor to thank them for their long-term support.


Trans Thüringia 2007 – planned distance 380 km

There was a big storm, called Kyrill, causing a lot of destruction in German woods and countryside. With nearly no snow the race was again canceled before it started but the mushers are hardy, and will be back to try their luck and skills in 2008.

Trans Thüringia 2008 – planned distance 350 km

Once again, the weather god was against us and so we had to cancel the race again because of the lack of snow.

Trans Thüringia 2006 – Streckenlänge 380km

Ohne die übliche Zitterpartie im Vorfeld konnten die Musher und Musherinnen bei optimalen Schneeverhältnissen in Thüringen eintreffen. Altenfeld zeigte sich im weißen Outfit und die Eröffnung fand im feierlichen Rahmen statt.

Zwei Fernsehteams drehten von teilnehmenden Musherinnen einen Filmbericht und erlebten so, wie aufregend und anstrengend ein solches Rennen ist. Nach den ersten 3 Läufen in Altenfeld ging es zu den nächsten Etappen nach Neustadt am Rennsteig. Hier schlug das Wetter seine Kapriolen. Von Schnee, Schneeregen bis Eisregen mit scharfen Böen, es war alles drin! Trotzdem biwakierten die hart gesottenen Musherinnen und Musher mit ihren Hunde-Teams an der Albert-Schweitzer-Hütte und kamen am nächsten Tag auf einer, durch Witterungsverhältnisse verkürzten Strecke, wieder ans Ziel zurück.

Nun siedelten wir alle nach Masserberg, wo sich der Winter von seiner schnee-reichen Seite zeigte. Die letzten 3 Läufe standen an und sie wurden von den meisten gut bewältigt. Den strahlenden Siegern wurde am Ende für dieses schwere Rennen ein schöner Pokal überreicht. Auch die anderen Starter und Starterinnen erhielten Urkunden und Geschenke für ihre Teilnahme an der 10.Trans Thüringia.

Da es ein Jubiläumsrennen war, bedankten wir uns dieses Mal bei unseren Schirmherren und Ehrengästen mit einen Pokal für ihr langjähriges Engagement .

Günter Reinhardt verabschiedete sich in diesem Jahr als langjähriger Organisatonsleiter von der Trans Thüringia. Das Orga-Team bedankt sich für sein Wirken für die TT in all diesen Jahren.

Trans Thüringia 2009 – Distance 212 km

This Trans Thüringia was a very special one, because for the first time the European Championship distance of the WSA was included in the race. Therefore, the three runs in Neustadt were two in one, Trans Thüringia and European Championship.

The winter weather at the end of 2008 was very cold, so the race was never put in question. However, with very low temperatures and little snow, the trail was not perfect and very hard.

Nevertheless around 60 starters were fevering for the race at the opening on 7.Feb. at Neustadt am Rennsteig

After two exiting runs the well-known weather problems of Neustadt appeared: Snow - icy rain – rain, accompanied by a strong, near gale force wind. Starting the race was impossible under these circumstances, each and everything had to be brougt to safety.

During the winner celebration at the new village hall at Neustadt the rain turned to snow again and the wind calmed down.

At Masserberg there were optimal conditions and we had three beautiful runs, which could not have been better. The biwak beside the Turmbaude full fills every romantic dream and the new concept with one day off, for changing location leads to a more relaxed mood of starters and the organisation team.

After the ceremonial winners celebration at the Masserberg stadium everybody found it difficult to say goodbye to this winter fairytale and to go back to normal life.
So we all hoped for a similar race next year.

Trans Thüringia 2010 – Distance 246 km

The weather forecasters were predicting a mild winter, but they were wrong, the winter was long and cold and there was a lot of snow. While travelling to Masserberg it was snowing like hell and with the strong wind, it felt like driving to arctic regions. Wind and snow accompanied the starters during the whole time in Masserberg; the sun was only a seldom guest. The wind got stronger and stronger until it was a storm. One tree near the stakeout was not able to withstand the pressure and fell in the middle of the night in the direction of the tents, campervans and caravans Thank heavens, without damaging anything.

We were lucky that there were no problems with the race in Masserberg, although the trail was very soft with the deep snow. When we had to change location, the weather was bright with blue skies, sun and no wind so that everybody reached Neustadt without any stress. However, Neustadt never changes and we had to fight again with fog and low clouds, making it hard work especially for the organisation team. Arriving teams could only be seen a few meters before they reached the destination. They appeared silently out of the fog. At last the sun fought the way through the clouds, visitors and musher could enjoy the beautiful sight of the countryside, and we had best conditions for the biwak at the sports grounds in Neustadt.

The winner celebration took place at the stakeout immediately after returning. Then, with a wonderful dinner at the village hall, the Trans Thüringia 2010 was finished and we had to say goodbye.

This time especially to Wolfgang Wolf and Evy and Dieter Strube as it was their last T.T.  Thank you, all three, for all the things you did for the race and for us, you will be always beloved guests at future races.

Trans Thüringia 2011 – planned distance ca. 245 km

Everything seemed to be perfekt, with enough snow for the race the team that orginized the event was there and had prepared everything. The Sponsors had delivered all they had promised and the first participants had also arrived from Switzerland, Netherland, Austria, France and Germany.

The day of the opening dawned and with it came a shock: strong storms and rain had melted nearly all the snow overnight and there was no hope for winterweather soon to return. So it was impossible to postpone the race. Therefore the organisation-team decided to celebrate opening and end together that evening. The mushers took it with humor and even the VIPs found hopefull words for the starters. Thanks to them all for their support and we hope to see them again 2012.

Trans Thüringia 2013 Distance 260 km

After  tense changes between too warm temperatures and good snow- conditions during the whole winter season, only five days before the official opening came the relieving “okay” from Thüringen and everybody could get ready to start. As a compensation for this battle of nerves Masserberg welcomed us with excellent snow-conditions and dreamlike weather for the first run.

The attraction of  Musher’s from the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany with their Huskies, Malamutes, Greenland dogs and Samoyeds was so strong, that we had more spectators than ever and we played in front of “a full house”.

For the first time since ages there was a run into the darkness again, which enthused dogs, Musher’s, spectators and members of the organization all the same.

After three wonderful days we had to say farewell to Masserberg where all the helping hands had made the impossible possible once again, and organized a marvelous race for all of us.

Unfortunately some Musher’s were unable to move on because of flue, the hearty welcome at Neustadt helped us to overcome the pain of departure. A warm fire, hot drinks and grilled sausages just across the road made everybody feel comfortable at once.

Luckily we did not have the real “Neustadt weather”, and temperatures and visibility were acceptable for the Musher’s during all days, only the team at the start and finish area got froze once again.

When after three runs and one night at the Biwak everybody was back home again you saw only happy faces and there was a wonderful atmosphere at the winners celebration. During the following meal, while everybody looked at the beautiful pictures of this year, first plans were made to meet again in 2014.

Trans Thüringia 2014 planned distance 280 km

Again we had to cancel the race before it could start.

2015 -Jubilee - 20 years Trans Thüringia

1995 the vision of a few enthusiastic sled dog leaders (mushers) came true.

Through a lot of personal engagement of the couple Margit and Walter Tinz, Wolfgang Pfeifer, Michael Beil and together with Kurt Sprenger who has sadly not lived to see this Jubilee, the idea of organizing a long distance race with pure bred sled dogs along the Rennsteig in Thüringen became reality.

With a great success from start to an excellent finish the Trans Thüringia took place at Neustadt am Rennsteig and Masserberg. Twenty years later some of the former race marshals Conni Luther, Wolfgang Wolf as well as Margit and Walter Tinz and Wolfgang Pfeifer visited the 2015 race which everybody enjoyed. Together with the local counciler and patron of the race Petra Enders and the mayor Dirk Macheleidt, their visit put a special light on the opening on the 7th of February at the stake-out in Neustadt a.R.

This year the weather ensured an optimal beginning of the finest Trans Thüringia ever. Glorious sunshine gave the necessary motivation the Mushers and race assistants, especially the members of the local community as they made sure that the race was running smoothly despite massive damage to the scooter and starting gate; they were always around when needed – Thank you all!

The first heat started on Sunday over 34km where the touring class (without timing) and the members of the three racing classes took off. Limit 1 with 3-4 dogs, Limit 2 with 5-7 dogs and Limit open with 8-12 dogs. All together there were 54 participants to the 16th Trans Thüringia.

All of the four registered breeds – Sibirian Husky, Alaskan malamute, Samojede and Greenland dog – demonstrated to everybody their desire to pull their sledges on the snow.

The numerous and very interested spectators were given explanations about the special skills of the dogs and all the aspects of the fascinating sport. 

All of the typical variety of weather was on display during the days in Neustadt – sunshine, icy winds, snow and a little icy rain. The trail was perfectly prepared and a challenge for dogs and humans alike.  Especially Monday, when the track had to be managed twice a day and the long upward sloping runs together with dusk and then darkness created a special challenge to the teams. 

After the 4th heat a 22 year young man from Königssee, Nino Neubauer was in first place, his time being almost 28 minutes faster than of his friend, 26 year old Mathias Klatt from Gerstungen. The third place went to a young man from France, called David Passy all starting at Limit 1.

Looking at Limit 2: The best was Caroline Bidell from Germany. 8 minutes slower and in second place was Janine Matsch-Eichmann from Switzerland and in third place was Edi Lussmann also from Switzerland. Unfortunately 4 participants of this class had to cancel the race due to damaged sledges and injured dogs. Rolf Ewald with his Greenland dogs set a new Trans Thüringia record.

Trans Thüringia 2016

Unfortunately the race had to be cancelled due to the lack of snow. The Organisation Team is now hoping for a lot of snow in 2017.

Trans Thüringia 2017

The winter came early, forcefully and in the correct order, frozen at new-year and then came the snow. Everything was perfect for the race. It remained this way until the opening day, although bad weather forecasts began to grate on our nerves. During the race the temperature lingered around zero degrees, but the excellently prepared trails held fast. At Neustadt the standards required for a race were compromised, so it was cancelled, with the last stage taking place at Masserberg. While the weather was beautiful and there were mass of visitors everybody took the opportunity to change to touring classes. Despite cancelling the Biwac it was still a wonderful event which everyone thoroughly enjoyed and every planned kilometer was driven. We all were glad, that the former race marshal Wolfgang Wolf joined the party and could stand in, as speaker, for Carmen, who could not be with us. Unfortunately many registered participants missed the race due to illness affecting their dogs, themselves personally or their relatives, meaning that at the end there were only 41 participants.