Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016

Can I defend my title at the K42 Swissalpine in Davos?

The Swissalpine is one of the oldest ultra distance mountain race and did a lot of pioneer work at the time. If somebody did the full distance of the Swissalpine (78km - at the time it was "just" 67km) they were perceived as not normal.

I was able to win this race last year so it is always a challenge to reclaim the title. Looking through the starting list I wasn't able to find someone who should be able to beat me but with so many international athletes at the starting line it's hard to tell about their potentials. I thought I did quite well last year so I was hoping for a similar time this year.

We have been invited by the organizer to spend the night before the race in the Intercontinental Hotel in Davos which was a nice treat! We really loved it and appreciated it. After a good breakfast I packed everything and left Davos and my love by train towards Bergün where I would start my race. Before such a long race I only get my heart rate up a little bit and make sure my muscles would be ready, but otherwise don't waist to much energy and make sure you're cooled down as good as you can.

As usual on these occasions I started determined the first few hundred meters on the road. I had already a little gap between me and the next runners so I expected to get not to much of a competition. But I was motivated to do well on this course as I wanted to beat my time from last year (3:33:52) or maybe even the course record of Bundi (3:30:06) which seemed to be quite far away. After the initial lap back to Bergün (1383 masl) our course merged with the full distance runners and I was already ahead of last years pace and I used the momentum up this slight uphill of Val Tuors which leads eventually up to the Keschhütte (2632 masl).

Because it was such a hot day I was carrying a sponge with me most of the course. I used every fountain to cool myself down as much as I could and really appreciated the support I got along the course. It was great to have the runners of the full distance because you never feel alone that way and I was able to overtake one after another. This was great for my own motivation but probably not always easy for them but I tried to encourage every runner. I met also a few old friends on the steep uphill part which gave me every time a good boost.

To my surprise I reached the "king of the mountain" point already four minutes faster than the year before. This KOM was again presented by #perskindol on the Keschhütte. This was quite a difference to last year and I felt still really good especially mentally because I knew most of the climbing was done. When you cross over towards the Sertigpass you get to the aid station Sartiv where they had a shower installed only a few meters off the direct path of the course. The volunteers guided me towards it but instead I grabbed a couple of cups filled with water which I threw over my had to cool down a bit more and said "kä Ziit" - meaning "no time". I overheared one of them saying - he seems to be on a mission.

Indeed I was on a mission with the course record in front of my eyes. I climbed the last couple of hundred meters to the Sertig Pass which is the highest point of the course. From there it goes downhill over rocky paths, afterwards more lose gravel single trails until you reach the gravel road. I throw myself down there and I felt that I was much more under control than the year before at this point. Everything seemed to be easier, even though I was going stronger. From the Sertig Dörfli on I had a biker who would lead me to the finish line and warn other runners when I was coming from behind so I could pass them without any problem. This was a great help because I didn't get any delay or would use to many resources to pass someone.

On the trail towards Davos are many bends and turns with roots so I had to be very careful where to step but the biker always motivated and I had something in front of me I could follow. I was more than happy to reach Davos without any major problems (ok I have currently 3 black toenails but appart from that no aches or pain). I crossed the finish line after 3:26:23 which is 7:30 minutes fast than last year. I am really happy with this result. The second runner had a deficit of more than 33 minutes - I think I should have received their price money too!


It was an amazing race day with hot but perfect and sunny conditions. Now we will head to the Val Bregaglia for a few days where I can hopefully get some good recovery and prepare for probably the most competitive race in the world - Sierre to Zinal. There I will see what my shape is really worth and it is very hard to make any predictions.

Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running shorts: Scott Trail Run Split shorts
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur

Click for results
Click for strava
Videos at Sertig Dörfli and finish line

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