Race report by Dave Phillips.
This event started in 1985 and my 1st was in 1989 when there was just a 67k race (8.5 hrs plus usually and at 8300 ft. at the highest point in the Sertig Pass). Then they increased it to 78k (12+ hours then). Then thankfully they have introduced events at 42k, 30k, 21k and 10k + 21k walking races (with sticks). All events are off road of course in the Alps.
This year was my 25th year at Davos and I have run every inch of every event and there was no part of any course that I had not run (as most go over the same routes even if they do change frequently). Also I had never run anything less than a 42k race and done all of the courses.
However I had never done the 21k route from Klosters to Davos (a relatively new event) so I entered it this year. It’s claimed to be Europe’s toughest half marathon and I agree it probably is.
There was a special train from Davos to Klosters –all downhill- and the race started at 1120 a.m. on Saturday followed by the K21 walkers at 1130. It wasn’t long before the lead walkers-sticks in hand-passed me. Also it wasn’t long before the continuous mountain forest trails and tracks took their toll and most could only just about walk-hands on thighs in my case. Huge uphill slogs, along streams, forest trails, open spaces, mountain ridges- all tree route ridden with stones and boulders to add to the difficulty.
Plus it was Switzerland’s hottest day for ages and around 26 degrees in the cool spots!
Overall there were c2000 ft. of climbing as it was a straight line uphill race from Klosters back to Davos and as Klosters is far below Davos in the Alps there was no downhill just a flat bit at the end in the Stadium at the finish. The highest point was about 5000 feet (well below 8300 feet the marathon and 78k events but hard enough).
The good thing was that with the 2 K21 races there was always company but had you fallen over the edges in the forest trails down hundreds of feet you would never have been seen again. A real problem for my friend from York who has a real problem with heights of any level.
Eventually at 11 miles the Davos Lake came into view so home was not too far away except we were taken back into the uphill forests again before the final descent to the stadium. A great finish area as many runners from the K78 and the 2 marathons (some of whom had started at 0700 hrs) were all finishing together with us and the K21 walkers.
So I’ve now done every single inch (or centimetre) of everything they’ve put on since 1985 so what next year? Who knows but if there are no new courses the K21 will do nicely .
Dave Phillips 3hrs 42 mins.