Davos K78 Swiss Alpine

Time – 9hrs 6mins

Position – 197th overall (of 889men, 173women)

Distance – 79.4K on their website (50 miles)

Altitude gain – 2600 m

Food – 5 hand fulls of chewy bar pieces, about 6 bits of banana

Drink – lots of their iso tea, iso lemon drink, bullion, water, 2 ‘sponsor’ gels.

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I’m so happy!

It could just be that I’m starting to take Switzerland for granted but I know when I arrive I can just relax! I’ll have the choice of upper or lower deck on the train, to stare at the mountains or push down the large train windows and enjoy the fresh air with my head stuck out! When I arrive I’ll see a lot of the town as it’ll be enveloped around me on the mountains like a 3D picture and the race will go like clockwork – this is switzerland. And I love it.

It’s rare after nearly 10 years of running to have another ‘first’ experience but today was my first 50 mile race. The markers towards the end were a little badly placed, shortly after passing the 75k marker you see the 35k marker (for the K42) yet we all take the same route, so one says 4k to go as the other 7k:\ Not that I’m bothered about the distance but near the end when you are focused on pushing the last bit out it’s so plays on your mind – it actually reminds of being a kid and repeating ‘are we nearly there yet‘ in my mind – id rather have no mile markers!

Food was limited to only 1 brand of chewy bar (containing milk) and brioche bread (butter) at aid stations so would suggest taking your own foods on the K78, particularly if you have gluten of dairy allergy. Despite having poor food (and this is a Hungry Runner blog) the Swiss Alpine Davos is an incredibly well organised race in a beautiful location, ample aid stations and just fantastic support from the small enthusiastic villages. The organisers also had stations shouting your name out at checkpoints as you ran past which was a nice touch. So I always try to acknowledge everyone who shows support and in doing so had a really fun race. Equally, saying hi to other runners and shaking hands is a great way to get an uplift when the going gets tough and you can guarantee 95% of people will welcome a brief (or long!) friendly chat and a laugh. This race definitely gets 10 out of 10 on my fun-o-meter.

I had such an amazing day. A combination of hard racing and some casual miles taking photos (879 of them!). Some of the highlights included:

– meeting a crazy South African chap running across europe self supported (running with a tent in his backpack!) for charity – AlistairDreamwilder.co.za

– breaking above cloud near the approach to Keshhutte – with stunning views looking back where you have climbed from

– rain which seemed so threatening with thunderous skies which came and went in bouts of 30 minutes (but overall good weather). Clouds rising from beneath us so fast causing ever changing scenery

– great varied terrain including mud, water, boulders, alpine trail and track, bridge and gorge crossings and snow

With the Olympics on, the Serpie group were thinned out to only a handful, however Rob, Maureen, Alan were out there. Alan came first British person to finish, Kelly came 2nd in her age category and I came 1st photographer to cross the line😉 and overall everyone was really happy.

On the run I also bumped into a Chris (Serpie but now living in Switzerland). I ran most of the start and C42 stage with Chris who was a good running partner and also a parent with a 20 month old so was good sharing stories of travelling, running and being parents. We’d both taken it quite easy but stormed down some of the downhill sections (so much fun!). I’d lost some ground on the up hill as usual but I didn’t mind as walking gave me a chance to get the camera out and take some photos and I love forest sections. I also got a few on the metal grate bridge over the george just as the train was about to come over.

After I lost Chris somewhere in the forests, a clearing brought me onto a long jeep road through some nondescript scenery. These had a gentle gradient which I’m glad I made the effort to run up since after leaving Filsur at 30k the road (tarmac now) it was a fantastic 4 mile steady (mainly un-runnable) uphill climb against a dramatic cliff face to Bergun.

It was from Bergun I really started having fun, my speed had dropped a tad which left more time for chatting and taking photos, all this started on crossing the start section of the K42 where the crowds were great and I felt good.

Just after I passed Bergun the leaders of the K42 ran past with a steady stream of K42’ers following over the preceding miles. I was racing downhill sections furiously and trying to run the flats as sensibly as possible (which means fast without risking the all too familiar crash) but it was very hard to be overtaken when you could not tell if they were K42 or 78’ers and it provided quite a boost to your energy to see fresh legged people coming past.

So the climb to Keschhutte was lovely and I was looking forward to the hot bullion (particular after a could of short sharp rain falls). I’d chatted to some great guys who im going to send them their photos via Facebook. So I had my fast downhill from the top (after being asked if I was ok to continue by marshals – I hope they ask everyone🙂 before continuing round the lake and up to 2700m of the Sertig pass. A barren, hostile and awesome trek opening up some lovely views towards the south in the direction of Piz Nair (St Moritz) – where the Iron trail runs.

I’d lost lots of time and places having way too much fun at the top and then ran downhill as fast as I could go. My legs were burning at the bottom – its such a long descent!!! And then the mandatory slog 10 miles or so back to Davos down the valley and through the last forest sections into Davos. I had a tough time holding onto any endurance during this stage but had as much fun as possible… if you can’t have fun, what’s the point!

Here are some photos!

5 responses to Davos K78 Swiss Alpine

  1. Bill Gadd says:

    Wow! FANTASTIC is an overused word, but most apt here. I think you have done what I would have loved to have done, that is “Been on top of the world”. And such great pictures! Thanks for sharing that experience and keep going. As you say; “If it’s not fun, there’s no point”

  2. Mamad says:

    Thanks for sharing this Kris. I ran C42 last year and that was my first marathon. I have registered for K78 this year and cannot wait for it. Are you going to run it again this year?

    Have a look at my blog if you got the chance

    http://runninginlate20s.blogspot.com/

    Cheers,
    M

    • Thanks! You are going to be in for a lovely bit of scenery in the K78 compared with the C42… fantastic race, see you at the start!
      Nice ‘running in the sun’ preview video, not seen that one before and so will see if i can get it loaded on the ipad for the boring journey to London on Tuesday…

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