S42k, Davos, Switzerland
Welcome to what they call Europe’s toughest marathon. And I agree. This was a special year in Davos to celebrate the 30thrunning of the events. It started in 1986 when there was just a mere 67k and I did several of these starting in 1989, and last week end was my 23rd Alpine event. They increased the 67k to a 78k so I also did a few of these. Eventually they introduced a 42k, 21K, 10k and various team relay events but I always stick to the 42k distance-as you do.
However this year they had 2 42ks and the new one was the S42. I’ve run over every inch of all these events in the Alps but this did have some unknown and new places so S42 it had to be although it was >27 miles.
There were 15 events this year on the Saturday from between 78k and 10k plus kids’ races so what a bonanza it was. All are trail off road races.
We started the S42k at 0900 hrs in Davos Athletic Stadium on a really hot sunny day at 4500 ft and went off to Durdoden at 6000 ft some 7 miles away and all uphill on rough trails which involved a lot of walking. Then it was a nightmare for the next 18 miles with hardly any running and very dangerous.
From Durboden it became just rock strewn tracks until the Scarletta Pass at 7,800 feet then the trouble began as we hit the Panoramawig Trail for 3 miles which was a 2ft rock strewn track on the mountain side with a 1000 ft drop on your left and nothing to stop you crashing down. My friend Paul Adams from York does not have a head for heights and turned back with several others to get the bus back from Durboden fearing for his life. His wife did continue but took nearly 11 hours!
Eventually we met the 78k and other K42k runners who were on different courses but all joining at the Sertig Pass ascent. This was friendly bit crazy as we now had to get over the Sertig Pass at 7800ft.
Medical checks took place at the top and we were all asked if we were OK to continue. If not the helicopter would take us down!
Anyway from here at 18 miles it was downhill but from the top it was 2 miles of vertical downhill on boulders, rocks and hardly any path.
Eventually we arrived at Sertig Dorfi where running was possible until they took us up again into the pine forests for a few miles of tree rooted and rock strewn trails. At last the 10k To Go Sign was reached and I’d been out 7 hrs by then. But the forest tracks were so hard it took me almost 2 hrs to do 10k.
Eventually we saw Davos below us and the descent started to the Stadium for a flat race track finish which I did run.
Medal, T shirt, huge goodie “shoulder sports bag”, all the usual stuff that I’ve become used to in Switzerland.
And the 4 star Seehof Hotel in Davos (where the race company 209 Events have now for 2 years stayed) was simply wonderful-check it out and let’s have some red and whites there in 2016. We will be back. Serpantine Running Club from London had their usual 30 there this year in various events so can we beat that?
Brecon 10 this Sunday so I’ll be up for it as it is also a hilly one!
Dave Phillips 8 hrs 54 mins.
Race report Dave Phillips