Since October (2012), I have been able to work from home on Thursdays and on alternate Tuesdays. This has come in handy (or should I say ‘footy’?) this week as I have been able to put the pair of Salomon fell cross slab I recently bought in the sales to the test in the snow on two occasions (and I intend to do so again on Saturday), i.e. on Tuesday as well as today.
Although the snow had almost totally disappeared at Lausanne-Vennes by midday, I was sure that there would still be some at Epalinges. This was indeed the case, but not enough to make me want to run on it with my Nike shoes. So I continued running uphill until I reached the plain of Mauvernay near Chalet à Gobet.
Once there, I went into the ‘sports chalet’, pulled my Salomon fell cross lab out of my rucksack and quickly changed into them, but not without having slipped into a pair of gaiters beforehand. A couple of sips from my running flask and off I went.
Although the snow had started to melt, there was still enough left for me to continue to try out my new shoes.
Once deeper into the woods (called Bois-Clos, the enclosed forest!), there was enough snow for me to run deep into it, which I did for about 3.5km as I had to go back home and put myself in front of a computer screen.
I must admit that this time too I felt that the Salomon fell cross slab had fallen a little short of my expectations as regards adherence on the snow (maybe because of the spacing between the studs), especially when set against my pair of Adidas CoolClimate or even my Meindl. However, the shoes seem to be lighter and in particular I like the fact that they bend slightly upwards from the midfoot, making them feel snug. So I wondered whether they were not more suited for running across such terrain but not when covered in snow.
A couple of hours later on, I was able to look up reviews of the shoes on the Internet and I came across an entry on www.salomonrunning.com that the shoes had been tested at different races, including at the Mt Kinabalu Climbathon in Sabah (i.e.the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo).
Although I know about Mount Kinabalu, which at approx 4,100m is one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountains (in fact I would have liked to go there last year but, unlike my wife (see her entry), I did not manage to do so, poor me), I had never heard of this race. Once on the organisers’ website (http://www.climbathon.my), I immediately recognised the Spanish runner Kilian Jornet as the first of the two runners displayed on the banner (credit for the three pictures bellow: Climbathon):
I picked up my copy of World’s Ultimate Running Races (compiled by Angela Mudge) which on page 402 reads: ‘This unique event is advertised as “the world’s toughest mountain race”‘ and ‘The high altitudes mean runners struggle on the ascent; but once past the turn on the summit with gravity behind them, oxygen returns with a rush and every step seems disproportionately easier‘.
I find this particularly beckoning … but the organisers have set the bar quite high for the more interesting of the two races, the one to the summit of course:
This race course is 33 Km long running on 15 Km of tarmac road and 18 Km of forest trails with the rock face at the summit. These category only accepts 110 elite men and 40 elite women and open to qualified runners with the following qualification:
Runners that has completed in any of the past Climbathon within the time starting from year 2008.
Completed in their countries official mountain race (with proof of results).
Recommended (in writing) by their country’s national mountain race / athletic body or any other organisation that the Climbathon organiser recognises or approves of
Which means that I would have to take part in this race closer to home (in the Swiss canton of Valais) to be able to register for Climbathon.
Why not? The race of Sierre-Zinal was founded by a relative of my very first girlfriend (a university professor) whom I think I met twice and it would be nice to meet him again (as I would expect him to show up for the 40th edition).
I must say that this beautiful video of Kilian Jornet (the winner of Climbathon 2012, who seems to be wearing the same shoes as I did at Mauvernay) by Sébastien Montaz-Rosset (which was recently posted onto YouTube by Salomon) certainly provides a strong spur for me to try this type of running: the panoramaweg along the glacier of Oberaletsch would offer a good training trail (see the entry I wrote on my excursion to this area last year)!
- Becoming the All-Terrain Human (article on Kilian Jornet by Christopher Solomon, New York Times, 20 March 2013)
POSTSCRIPT (29 October 2013): I had forgotten that there were races across UNESCO-listed areas in my home country of Switzerland too – and indeed I took part in two of them this year: the half-marathon of Aletsch (read my entry here) and the marathon of Lausanne (a good 25km of which must be run through the UNESCO-listed area of Lavaux I would estimate – the account of my run is available here). Last but not least, I also took part in the 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal.