Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Comparison of Swiss Alpine trail run events

MountainMan is a new addition to all those Alpine trail running challenges in 2010. The race will be on August 21st for the first time. It is already marketed as "The largest Alpine trail running event of Switzerland".

Interestingly SwissAlpine on July 31st labels itself "the biggest mountain ultramarathon in the world"! Wow, compared to that MountainMan seems reasonably modest after all :-)

Talk is cheap, so let's take a quick look at some basic facts.

MountainMan says it "is the longest Trail Running route of Switzerland: 81 km!"

Well that's not exactly true, as Trail Verbier St-Bernard's La Boucle (The Loop) on July 3-4 is 110 km with +/- 6904 m. It's highest peak is 2714 m and lowest point 720 m. Only 93 runners finished the loop the first time in 2009, but this event seems to have some growing potential. And they never claimed to be the biggest or largest anyway.

MountainMan's point-to-point course has 4925 m of ascent and 4545 m of descent. The highest point reaches 2242 m while the lowest point is 968 m.

SwissAlpine's main event K78 provides a fairly easy 78.5 km loop course with only 2260 m ascent/descent. The highest point is 2632 m and the lowest 1019 m.

882 runners finished SwissAlpine K78 in 2009, but a lot more is expected this year because it's their 25th anniversary. I doubt MountainMan's ability to attract that kind of numbers, mainly because Davos is so much easier location to reach, especially when they give all visitors free public transportation from/to any Swiss airport.

To put things in perspective, UTMB, which is partially run in Switzerland (in the same area as Trail Verbier St-Bernard) on August 27-29, is a 166 km tour around Mont Blanc with +/- 9400 m. The highest/lowest points are 2537/807 m. There were 1383 finishers in 2009 - plus about a thousand more who started but failed to finish. Certainly many more would like to give it a try, if they only could get in!

No comments: