Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The training was done and race day had dawned, Our holiday had reached it's climax, IT WAS RACE DAY...
We were up early (by holiday standards) 06h00. It was a 08h45 start for me (an elite athlete, Ha Ha Ha) and an 09h00 start for Dawn, but we had a lot of things to do before the gun set us off. It was Breakfast at 06h40, bus at 07h30. (we had to walk into town to catch it...) Hand in our bags for the finish and line up. The Ultra lined up first and at 08h25 set off on their epic 45.557km trek up to Gornergrat 3089m above sea leavel...

They were gone and I felt good standing on the start line waiting. The home work was done and we had spent the last week at 1730m acclimatizing.

I let the front guys go (ok I couldn't have gone with them for more than 100m if I had tried) and found myself pulling in behind the leading lady. The race started at St Niklaus 1085m and didn't climb much till 9km. I had heavy legs and really didn't feel it was going to be my day. I stayed with the ladies till about 6km then I had to slow down and settled into a slower pace as we left the tar. The first real hill was between 8 and 9 km, we crossed a bridge and had a taste of Alpine single track. While I wished my legs were strong and fresh so I could fly over the trail I know Dawn would not be enjoying this... I past 10km in 44:51 and felt is I could push on I would be OK. Pushing on I enjoyed the little single track that took us into Zermatt, and the half way mark in 1h43. Dawn had taken a little strange on the rocky bits so to take her mind off the run she took out the camera:

While Dawn kept taking pictures to pass the time I was now in deep trouble!!! I couldn't breath!!! My chest was tight and come the hill out of Zermatt I had to walk!!!

OK the climb was only a for the next 6km taking us from 1650m to 2230m. I was walking at 10min/km wishing Dawn was with me. (she has an asthma pump and I felt I needed it.) I didn't wait I just kept walking and taking it easy so as to keep from breathing heavy...

I loved the next 9km and with only 1km of real climb I was able to run (if you can call 6-7min/km running).

I was still moving and still alive, only just... I was counting down he km and watching the clock run out of time... I had hoped to break 4 hours, well that wasn't happening, and now Mr Garmin was looking at 4h30 and I still had a hill to climb so all I could hope for was to break 5hours...

I want to say I pushed on, but all I could do was walk... we still had a lot of climbing to do and I was now taking 13min/km.
Almost at the Top...

I crossed the line with 4h50.00 and was finished in more ways than one!!! Dawn was a hour back in 5h48.00 and she was happy.

Enough said it was fun so till next time that was Switzerland.


  1. I love your race reports. Awesome everything. I'm glad you enjoyed it. After all this altitude you'll get home and kick some ass!

  2. And that is what I tried to do... but could only get a 4th place at the Cross Country. next race is a 10km at the end of the month!!!

  3. Thanks for the comments my last 2 posts! I totally agree with you on strength training on hills - that is how I used to do it before, running hills on trails pretty much every run. I need to get back to that when I'm back running. Back to basics. You are my idol on trail running, the incline and pace you do on trail runs is amazing.

    And I agree with you on being barefoot, seems like it strengthens the ankle and foot muscles the more they have to work.

    You have had some amazing adventures recently - the marathon up the Matterhorn looked great! Some phenomenal pictures.

    And that's great you saw the Diamond League meet, it would be fun to see a meet in Europe sometime. Seems like you had a great holiday.