One of the toughest and most beautiful races! (about: 2012)|
Sven Jacobs from Basel, Switzerland (7/8/12)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Zermatt Marathon
This is an awesome, beautiful, brutal race! The scenery is amazing - racing through small typical Swiss villages and then climbing up to Riffelberg, surrounded by 4 4000m + mountain peaks including the Matterhorn. Simply stunning!
The course itself is brutal: over 1900 m of climbing! The start is at St. Niklaus (at 1100m above sea level), the finish is at Riffelberg (at 2500m above sea level). The first half is relatively easy, a few climbs but nothing to be concerned about. However, after passing through Zermatt you'll have to deal with 8 km with an average elevation of 10%! From km 34 to km 39 it's again up/down across mountain pathways... and just when you think you're in the clear there's the final 3 km, with over 12% elevation all the way! Brutal!
The organisation is good: ample drink stations serving coke, isotonic drink, water, banana's, sponges, gels and power bars. Later on they also serve warm, sweet tea and warm broth.
Being a mountain race there's few spectators on the course, but those that are there are enthousiastic and clap for all that come by - whether they're running or walking! 'Hop, hop, hop'! As the mountain pathways are open to the general public you do come across the odd group of hikers (most coming downhill) but all are friendly (and sensible) enough to move out of the way well in advance of your passing.
This year the weather was great - perhaps even a little too warm: but the bright sunshine and cool mountain air are a wonderful combination.
At the finish the facilities were good: ample drink and fruit, you receive an extra bag with yoghurt, a cereal bar, extra bottle of water - and a great Finisher t-shirt. There are enough showers, there's a restaurant right next door - as well as a small railway station to take you back down to Zermatt. On the train back down you can see the remaining runners climbing their way up - and you realize how sensational the overall surroundings are!
This was my first mountain marathon - and the toughest race I've ever ran. It's also the only race where I haven't been ashamed to walk; it's the most beautiful marathon I've run!