Last Saturday and Sunday I ran the Eiger Ultra Trail, a 101 km ultramarathon with more than 6700 metres of elevation gain.
I arrived in Grindelwald on Thursday and went to collect my bib number on Friday morning. The race organisation was quite good for a race in this size. There was a strict equipment check at the bib number distribution which I appreciated during the race. They asked every runner to bring all the mandatory gear listed on the website in order to collect the bibs. Apart from the bib numbers we were handed out a plastic cup in order not to use many disposable cups along the way. There was also a reflective band which we had to wear after 9:30 pm.
|The mandatory gear that should be carried along the way|
|Weighs around 4kg (including 1.5L of water)|
|At the pasta party, staring at the finish line and wondering how I'd feel when I cross it.|
I got to the starting area at 2:40am on race day. After having breakfast at the congress centre before 3am I went to the starting area, leaving the baggage and checking the gear for the last time. There was a great atmosphere at the start, after playing the official race soundtrack, the race started at 4:30.
|All ready to go|
|The race profile: serious ascent from the begining|
|The breathtaking scenery|
|Close to 30km mark|
|Downhill running was definitely my strength point. Those downhill training really helped me finish this race|
|A well-deserved plate of pasta after ten hours of running|
The rest of the route became so quite. You didn't see many runners around you and it seemed that as we cover more distance, there was an increasing gap between the runners. I was feeling great though and ran most of the downhill part relatively fast to Wengen. drank a couple of cups of water, filled my bottle and the hydration pack and kept going.
This was supposed to be one of the hardest part of the course. 6km of constant steep uphill, It was indeed a vertical kilometre after more than 60km of running. I approached it and have a conversation with a guy who was also planning to run the Swiss Irontrail T81 in 4 weeks time. It was all going well, I was just sweating a lot and because of the humidity, all my clothes were soaked in sweat. It was only 20 minutes to get to Mannlichen that I ran out of water, kept going, and I started to fill dizzy and tired. The fatigue hit me so fast and so hard that I couldn't walk anymore.
A few minutes before getting to the next station and while I was seeing the stands, I sat aside the track, just managed to sit without falling down. And asked other runners if they can kindly give me a sip of water so I can drag myself to the aid station which was now on my sight. There was a guy who I don't even remember his name, he gave me half a bottle of water and I stood up after a few seconds and walked on.
|Exhausted and dehydrated just before arriving to Mannlichen. Still 33km to go|
18 hours into the race I got to Kleine Scheidegg and after a few minutes I started walking the second the last ascent of the course. Then it was downhill to Alpiglen. a few minutes after I left Alpiglen km 88, I started to fill dizzy and a few moments after that I experienced vertigo and was about to fall down. I sat there, I was only 12 km away from the finish line. But I couldn't walk. That was the moment - I have to regret - I seriously thought about giving up. I managed to hold my mobile phone and dialled the emergency line. He told me I can either go back to the last station, walk down for two kilometres when they'd pick me up or stay there and someone would come along for help. I thanked him and said I'd think about it and if I couldn't carry on I'd call him again. I closed my eyes for a few second and sat there for five minutes. Then I got up and made my way to the last station. I wanted to get there, just take a short nap and see how I'd feel after that. I went up for 100 metres or so, but then I couldn't convince myself to do so. Then I head down again and ran towards the finish line in silence and solitude. There was only me, the light from the headlight and the track.
|Descent to Alpiglen. The course was marked quite well and it was fairly easy to follow the path even in the dark|
|Less than 10km to the finish line, just before the final ascent|
Here I am, once again standing at the finish line, achieved what seemed impossible.
Do follow your dreams guys. We only live once.