That is it, I have made up my mind and I have just registered for two races this summer. By registering, I mean that I have paid the full registration fees and that, therefore, there will be no turning back. In addition, for the first time in my very short racing ‘career’, it will be for races run off-road, in the Swiss mountains.

Second trail runner Plan Salentse 13 Oct 2012

When I come to think of it, I must acknowledge that it constitutes a kind of u-turn with regard to my running. Only in October of last year, while we were hiking in the Alps between the cantons of Vaud and Valais, my friend Jan and I felt a little embarrassed after we had seen two trail runners come our way (one from Frête de Saille (i.e. from Vaud), the other from Plan Salentse – i.e. from Valais) as our hike to the point where we were resting when we spotted these two trail runners had been particularly slow and, because of the weather, we had not been expecting to see anybody up there, least of all any runners either coming down from the ridge or going up (read my entry).

Sierre Zinal logo

What is more, the second of the two races I shall be taking part in (but the most prestigious of the two), Sierre-Zinal, is a race I had declined to participate in three years ago (upon the invitation of my friend Jan) because I had read somewhere that it could be dangerous and this had put me off.

Sierre-Zinal_World's ultimate running races

What has made me reconsider my stance, are the above description (click to enlarge), taken from a great book, World’s Ultimate Running Races (compiled by Angela Mudge) as well as the fact that I have been highly motivated by the many clips I have seen from Salomon Running as part of their series Kilian’s Quest (which features various vignettes of mountain running with the runner they sponsor, the young Spaniard Kilian Jornet). It has given me the impulse to want to try out running in the mountains. After all, I love hiking in the mountains so I should enjoy running in the mountains, too.

Aletsch half-marathon_World's ultimate running races

The first race I shall be taking part in is the Aletsch half marathon, a race also featured in World’s Ultimate Running Races (promised, I shall write a book review of this great motivation enhancing tool), which runs along Europe’s greatest glacier, that of Aletsch.

aletsch-halbmarathon

info_streckenplan-gross

I have been to this area several times (see for instance this entry or this one or even this one,which shows some of the scenery I shall get to enjoy during that race) and I really look forward to going back there for a race.

Panoramaweg to Oberaletschhütte 6 October 2012

In fact, as part of my training I intend to go running nearby, along another glacier (that of Oberaletsch), basically in the footsteps of a hike I did last October (read my entry). However, this will not be before a couple of weeks as I infer there is still much snow up there from what I can see on the top of the mountains facing my balcony. Maybe patience is a virtue, as the saying goes 😉

Postcript: I am suppose I could interpret this article on mountain running, published this morning on the Guardian’s website, as a good omen to my endeavours 😉
How to run safely in the mountains: 10 essential bits of kit by Nick Mead, The Guardian, 27 March 2013
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