Race report – Aigle-Leysin half marathon (2010)

2010 – Aigle – Leysin Half Marathon
Places: 144
Position: 83
Time: 3:06:56
2 hours away along lake Geneva from its airport is the town of Aigle (the race start point).  Aigle is on the main line service from Geneva that takes passengers through Lausanne and Montreaux and eventually past Aigle to Brig – a main connection station to Zermatt and other areas of the Alps.  Leysin (the race finish) is accessed via a fun cog train that runs up the mountain from Aigle, from there you can take the gondola up to the top where the Berneuse where there is a large revolving restaurant.
Around 100 people run the Aigle-Leysin half to celebrate Swiss national day, a great event to be celebrated in Leysin with bonfires, fireworks and parties all over the place.
We were kindly given a lift  to the start by some of Kelly’s friends who support the race every year by managing the bag drops. We were there early so went for a coffee with for a necessary caffeine injection and then prepared for the start.  For me this means attaching my number and then using my patented gel delivery system, involving attaching them to the inside of my shorts with safety pins!  Simply turn back the edge of your shorts, rip off the top of the gel and off you go – job done.  
The first 5 K marker took forever to appear, after running about 8min miles through the first mile of the start town of Aigle your pace drops to~20min miles, the forest is full of turns and after 6K your already hoping for some flats to gain time.  The flat does come about 8K just after the hamlet of Veyges, this being the second aid station and the first bit of crowd support. The flat (ish) section is a large switchback where at the end there always seem to be a large group of Kumon japanese school students cheering everyone on, the Kumon School really deserve a shout out for the best supporting throughout the race.
The trail breaks out onto Prafendaz, here there is a further aid station and from here the trail leads a very step upward section on mountain rocky trail up to the summit at Berneuse, via a series of switchbacks.  With wet weather trail running shoes are a necessity. On reaching Berneuse there is a 700vertical meter series of sharp descents down one of Leysins main ski runs to the village of Leysin (1315m).

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