Swissalpine, Davos, Switzerland Friday 28th to Sunday 30th July – Race Report by Dave Phillips
This year the Swissalpine Marathon, Swiss Trail and Swiss Iron Trail events were all combined over the 3 days. There were 18 races from 9k to 214 k to choose from so where were you all?
This event started in 1987 and my 1st was in 1989 when there was just the 67k that went to 7,500 ft. Then they increased it to 87k so we had to do that one (12 hours out there). Eventually the 42k was brought in so there was a choice-if you call it that!
We have been out there every year since and this was my 29th year out there but more recently different shorter events have been included so this year (as last year) I chose the half (well 24k to be precise).
So on Saturday we caught the train at 08:00 hrs from Davos to Klosters about 14 miles away. A beautiful journey but it was all downhill (or down mountain to be precise) as Davos is at 4800 ft. and Klosters 3600 ft.
Yes you’ve guessed it the run back to Davos is almost all uphill and a real killer too as I knew from 2016.
So off we went at 09:30 out and along a very up and down road to the forests then along trails full of stones and tree routes. Absolutely stunning Swiss Mountain Alpine scenery all around. All OK ish for 3 miles then we turned and entered the beautiful Swiss trails again and went on upwards very steeply on tracks, trails, mountain stream banks, fields, roads until the 9 mile mark at the highest point at about 5000 ft. That 6 mile climb was a killer but my Wednesday Hill Rep stuff did me good as at least I did pass some “walkers” up the neo vertical slopes. One fall mind you and you’d never be seen again as the trails are only a few feet wide and the drops hundreds of feet down to nowhere-often into the forests or raging streams.
Eventually we got over the top and we arrived at the lake at Davos where we plodded on but at least it was flat.
The final 5k were back on the forest trails again all up and down until the finish on the track in the fabulous sports arena to the welcome form the huge crowds waiting for the many finishers from all the events to cross the line. A few years ago the announcer said “and here come David Ferguson.”
This track is the highest altitude track in Europe and is used by Olympic and European athletes when these sort of events take place in Europe. Many years ago some of us did mountain hill reps with the Kenyon Olympic Squad-so now you know where I get it from. Blame them!
Roll on 2018!
24k Klosters to Davos.
Dave Phillips 3hrs 48 mins.