My love for running is taking me to places around the world that I have dreamed of visiting. I love the challenge the races provides and the opportunity to visit somewhere new and beautiful, it is so rewarding and inspiring. While I do these challenges I also want to support The Gracias Foundation as a charity close to my heart, please feel free to support their many projects by donating on the link below.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Swiss Alpine Marathon, Davos 

Distance: 79.4km   Vertical Ascent:  2,600m
The biggest mountain ultramarathon in the world, and the ultimate challenge with 21 km of the race being on high alpine terrain. The race starts in Davos centre and is relatively gentle until Filsir where the uphill starts.  The route takes the runners over 2 peaks and some of the most glorious scenery which you do have time to enjoy even though you are panting for air.  

I love coming to this event as there are races for every level and there is a big international participation.  There is always a buzz around Davos and as you walk down the street you hear many different languages.  It is a very busy week with accomodation sold out which is why I had a very awful moment when checking into my hotel to be told that they had no reservation for me.   It turns out that I had booked the Sunstar Grindelwald hotel instead of the Sunstar Davos hotel.  Sunstar Grindelwald is about 250km away from Davos.  Miracously the Davos hotel had a vacany and I managed to switch my reservation to the Davos hotel with no extra cost.

I found this race slightly harder than the last time I ran it,  2 years ago, as my legs were sore from 25km and I was very breathless from the start.  I kept giving myself little goals to help me through such as run to bridge, run to that set of trees and it worked.   I battled through the pain, some rain, thunder and sun shine to get to the finish.   It was great to enjoy an alcahol free beer, sit down and watch other runner come in while I recovered.

Time: 9hrs 59mins
Result:  61st lady,  14th lady Vet

Early in the race, still looking fresh

Sheer concentration as I run up the hill out of Filsur

The rain and thunder starts as we begin the uphill

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Trail Verbier
Distance: 61km   Vertical Ascent:  4,000m
I have run this race 2 times before so knew what to expect and how hard it was going to be.   Although the distance is only 61km, the 3 peaks that you have to ascend are very demanding especially the last peak which is a killer.  This year I watched someone who was a third of the way up the killer, take off his number and walk back down.  The killer peak had got the better of him! 
I started slow and paced myself well.   I had no stomach issues, which had plagued me in races last year and felt good most of the race.   The first 2 peaks felt a lot easier than previous attempts but the last killer got me.   My thoughts during the race vary widely, from happiness at being with nature in such beautiful surroundings to "why am I doing this.....I will not do this again", yet I always come back for more.  Running these races gives me a sense of peace, a sense of freedom and contentment.  I love the challenge of pushing myself further, through pain and tiredness and I love that feeling of crossing the finish line, knowing I have achieved something.
As usual, I found the race hard but made it to the finish 1 hour faster than last year.   My goal is to one day finish this race in daylight without having to use my headtorch.  This means I need to get another hour faster…..that is a big goal!

Time: 12 hrs 21 mins
Result:   217th Overall out of 472,  43rd Lady overall out of 100,  19th Lady Vet out of 44