Position, 162nd (21st M30), 1187 finishers. 08h 32m 25s
Total Distance: 79.4km (approx. 49.3miles)
Total Ascent: approx. 2750m (approx. 9000ft)
Having DNF’d at the Hardmoors in March my ego was pretty subdued during my two days in Davos prior to the start of the 27th SwissAlpine K78 ultramarathon. The main thoughts in my head revolved around the choice of this race as my second at the “ultra” distance. Altitude, terrain, length, kit, all raised questions about how ready I was.
But in the end the 7am Saturday start rolled around and I stood amongst the pack of other runners. In this race I had just one goal: completion. This is though a lie as I also wanted to complete in under 10hours, meaning a 7m 30s/km pace.
With the Hardmoors I made the mistake of going too fast; for the first 20miles I was in the top 5 but crashed/burned from 30 to 42miles and pulling out at this stage through exhaustion. In Davos (Start, 1538m) I started easy and ran with a few others I thought matched my pace but in the end never actually finding anyone, so moved on.
By Filisur (30km, 1032m) I was at a very comfortable pace and knew I was faster than my needed pace (my splits based on 7m 30s were scribbled down on my race number). From here on it was all up hill and predictably my paced slowed as, taking my lead from every one else around me, I primarily walked the more acute up-hills.
Over the course of 1700m of ascent from tarmac to mettled road to single alpine trail the scenery changed to one in which I always imagined myself – the high mountains.
At the high point (Sertigpass, 60km, 2739) the valleys to the north opened up and I saw the way down. Now this I love. Running up/down/around Skiddaw has meant I get plenty of opportunity to run/slide/slip over Skiddaw slate. And this is what greeted me a glorious descent of technical single track, wet, slippy, knarley, and with obstacles (other runners!) galore.
So I left go… IT WAS FRICKING COOL
For me this was the best part of the race! Running, bouncing, yelling “Excusez-moi”, “Entschuldigung”, “Mi Scusi” as I flayed (arms used as balance) around others, from the pass to the aid station at Chüealp, a distance of 4km.
The last stage of the race took in further shorter descents which I continued to push myself on while taking it slow and steady during the flats and slower and steadier during any more major ascents. To this end my pace dropped towards the end as fatigue in the legs set in. When it became apparent that I might make 8h30m I attempted to pick up the pace eventually coming across the line in 8h 32m 25s.