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  #81  
Old 26.09.2009, 02:35
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Re: Running Races 2009

Jeff, excellent effort on completing the UTMB! The tale of your struggles and joys was a real treat, but I don't think it does justice to the internal strength and physical stamina needed to complete that kind of race...and in 37 hours. Well done!
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  #82  
Old 29.09.2009, 09:31
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Jeff, excellent effort on completing the UTMB! The tale of your struggles and joys was a real treat, but I don't think it does justice to the internal strength and physical stamina needed to complete that kind of race...and in 37 hours. Well done!
Huge thanks for your kind words! Look forward to sharing a trail w/you some day. Cheers!
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  #83  
Old 30.09.2009, 00:39
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Re: Running Races 2009

Hi Guys,
I thought it might be interesting to hear a wide range of stories; my attempt at Trail de Aiguilles Rouges last Sunday wasn't succesful and here's my story:

Trail description:
Trail is a gross understatement, some sections are really steep and go straight up the hills; some of the steepest sections even have ladders drilled into the rock. In short it was a treacherous route (atleast as I saw it). According to the UTMB formula it approximates to 51 km + (3300m D+)/10 = 84 flat-equivalent kms.
To join the race we need to wake up around 2:30 am to catch the bus and reach the start point; then the race started at 5:00 am in pitch darkness. The first few hours was pure adrenalin, hurtling down the forest trail in pitch darkness/headlights, oh I just loved it. I realized my heart rate was way too high, but it was irresistable, so I switched off the beeper and continued. Well, it was fun upto the first few cut-offs, but by noon my left thigh started complaining. I managed the Le Brevent half an hour before cut-off, but the rest was torture.

In the first hour I was crossing 205 bpm without realizing it, but by late afternoon I could barely cross 140; was down to a painful limp. I failed to meet the cut-off time at Servoz, and I had to give up there, with just about 10% of the race effort remaining.

Some good things: I was using hiking sticks; damn useful and made the uphills not so back-breaking. Also served as crutches in the last section when I was down and beaten. Managed hydration and food well. Weather was awesome, took some nice pics and Mont blanc in all its glory (oh, as an aside, it looks tantalisingly close; I might climb it with a mountain guide next year; already have 1 "strong maybe" from office; would love to have a few more English-speaking companions)

And some bad things:
Things to watch out for, anyone trying next time:
The way this is organized, the pre-race briefing, start point, and end point are all at different places, public transport takes 1-2 hours, so wherever you end up staying overnight, you might have a sleepless night. In hindsight, I think Vallorcine would be the best choice to stay over.

I think the single biggest cause of my failure (apart from the obvious lack of requisite fitness and training) was the backpack. Like most races of this level it is semi-autonomous. I ended up carrying a 3-4 kilo pack and with that extra load, running downhill I must have screwed my legs. But there seems no way out, everyone carries it and must learn and adapt to it.

And then came the worst part: at the end point I looked down at my thighs and found one was visibly swollen . It left me badly shaken, I was clueless what remedial action to take, stuck in a French speaking country and cursing myself for my predicament. The guy who did the massage said there must be water in the knees, whatever that means Luckily it now seems to have passed, after 2 nights of 11 hour sleeps.

Overall I found the experience very rewarding and educative; I no longer feel over-awed by this sport, but also developed more respect for those who do it safely and in a disciplined way. I guess this will be the last event in this year for me; been a long and fulfilling path after getting intitiated into this thanks to ZRG.

Hope to meet some new runners next year!


Last edited by Niranjan; 06.10.2009 at 11:21. Reason: spellings
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  #84  
Old 30.09.2009, 08:57
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Re: Running Races 2009

well done anyway, you've come an awfully long way in such a short time. Look forward to seeing your race wish list for next year. Take it easy, for a bit.
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Old 30.09.2009, 09:16
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Re: Running Races 2009

well done Niranjan. I'm sure you gained a lot of experience points in this single day.

See you tomorrow at the running/cycling social
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  #86  
Old 30.09.2009, 09:31
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Overall I found the experience very rewarding and educative; I no longer feel over-awed by this sport, but also developed more respect for those who do it safely and in a disciplined way. I guess this will be the last event in this year for me; been a long and fulfilling path after getting intitiated into this thanks to ZRG.
First, I think you've had an epic start to trail running ... and that's in the Alps of all places. Congrats to you for the races you've done this summer and for giving Trail de Aiguilles Rouges a go. Thanks for sharing both the good and the bad in your write-up on the experience.

Getting gear preferences/fit nailed and really prepping your body for a particular course takes a lot of time and also takes trial and error and the occasional failure. I had several gear disasters this season and also some races and training sessions where I had to walk it in to the finish because I didn't have the right fitness mix to deal with the course or conditions. It happens. You learn, make some adjustments, and get out there again. Prior to next season, I'll be anxious to chat with you about gear (backpack, poles, hydration system, etc.) and training approach. I've tested out nearly a dozen running packs and half a dozen sets of poles and could loan you some kit to try out. I've also been through a build-up (for MDS) of weighted-pack running and could share some thoughts on what worked and didn't.

I think you've got an excellent base to build on for next year. I'm with PTKate on this one -- very interested to see what you want to race next summer.

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The first few hours was pure adrenalin, hurtling down the forest trail in pitch darkness/headlights, oh I just loved it.
Reading this gave me a big smile! You captured the essence perfectly.
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  #87  
Old 30.09.2009, 09:55
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Re: Running Races 2009

You seem to have had a real adventure - respect to you. Thanks for the write-up.

Are you now going to retract what you wrote your adventure sports thread about ultra-running not being an adventure sport?
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  #88  
Old 09.10.2009, 17:57
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Re: Running Races 2009

Yes, congrats, Niranjan! Good attempt at a difficult race! I respect the difficulty of these ultras. They may not be ECO Primal Quest races in terms of roping and riding wild horses ( joking!) but the ultras in the Alps are very challenging because of the elevation changes and the requirement to pack a lot of support with you (3-4 kilos in a pack, poles, head lamp, warm clothes all add up). Some of the ultras in my area have nearly fully runnable trails and could be run without even carrying a water bottle because the aid points are every 6-8 km. The times are faster, of course, approaching those of a road race. But even a mild ultra can be turned into an adventure challenge of you against nature given a few hours of rain - like the Vermont 50 miler last month
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Old 01.11.2009, 20:34
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Re: Running Races 2009

Hi all,

I just completed my first ever marathon last weekend (the Lausanne marathon) and i absolutely loved it!

I am now looking around for other races near me, and in Switzerland generally, but i'm not sure where to look. I have seen the post at the start of this thread listing plenty of amazing events, but many of them seem to be the larger (and longer distance) events....and possibly a little beyond my abilities at the moment. I would love to eventually move to trail running and ultra marathon distances, but i think i need to do some 'easier' events first to ease me in.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions, or know of any events that might be suitable for me? I have fantasies of doing the Jungfrau Marathon one day soon, or even the Mont Blanc Ultra one day, but need to work my way up first!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

K
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Old 01.11.2009, 21:23
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Re: Running Races 2009

@Ms Kate: I hope you be volunteering to draw up a similar thread for next year races as well? Many thanks :-)
@BSB: Thanks. And when are you running in this part of the planet? Looking forward to that.

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Hi all,

I just completed my first ever marathon last weekend (the Lausanne marathon) and i absolutely loved it!

I am now looking around for other races near me, and in Switzerland generally, but i'm not sure where to look. I have seen the post at the start of this thread listing plenty of amazing events, but many of them seem to be the larger (and longer distance) events....and possibly a little beyond my abilities at the moment. I would love to eventually move to trail running and ultra marathon distances, but i think i need to do some 'easier' events first to ease me in.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions, or know of any events that might be suitable for me? I have fantasies of doing the Jungfrau Marathon one day soon, or even the Mont Blanc Ultra one day, but need to work my way up first!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

K
Hey K,
Firstly, hearty congrats

I have had similar thoughts, and probably similar fitness as you, I'll just leave some thoughts here and the veterans can then correct me. I personally don't see trail running as a logical progression from flat city running; I see it as opposite.

The thing is, I never did a flat marathon or even a half marathon or any race for that matter; I straightaway attempted tough mountain halfs-maras and ultras...but you know what, I felt a flat urban mara is probably tougher on the heart than a trail ultra. What happens in a trail is, the slower ones end up walking most of the uphill parts, the pace is much slower than a flat run, and I would say closer to what our hunter-ancestor evolved to do... the terrain will be so varying and steep that they act as a safety mechanism...unlike fast repetitive motion on asphalt for 3-4 hours in a city mara.

At these speeds (and generous feed breaks), I could easily eat and digest and not go into an energy deficit. I heard the front runners barely paused to eat; in contrast we at the tail-end used to sit and eat for 15-20 mins and enjoy the meal That is one reason perhaps, that I recover very fast after the races I have done (e.g. I was back in the trails doing my local hill just the day after my Inferno HM)...

I wouldn't probably be able to do it when I do it again next year after being well-trained and faster at it...and am sure to face some tummy troubles

I am obviously not saying an ultra is easier or safer than a flat marathon, but I am just pointing that it need not be as over-awing or daunting as many people would think. As others have pointed earlier, mountains obviously have their own set of unique challenges, so I am really not sure which is tougher.

Just some thoughts; those who have done both can comment.

As for your race choice you can read some of the race reports further ahead in this thread and feel free to ask any clarifications on them. Btw, what was your marathon time, and how well did you feel after the race, that should allow others to advise you better.

Last edited by Niranjan; 02.11.2009 at 09:18. Reason: added more info
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  #91  
Old 02.11.2009, 12:41
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Re: Running Races 2009

sadly the race season is pretty much over for this part of the world, just a few generally small events over the winter time unless you travel further afield. Now that you've done Lausanne (please add my congrats. and hope the post marathon satisfaction feeling lasts for ages) you'll no doubt receive datasports regular updates of events which lists many of the bigger events.

If you can understand some french then there are 3 trail running magazines as well as the usual runners world type magazines available (Cointrin kiosk in geneve and my local carrefour in les Rousses stock the trail ones) These list a lot of races of all distances, all over the place. Other than that you just have to keep your eyes pealed for flyers.

checkout www.snowrun.ch for a running on snow event on the 12th dec at leysin.

also www.geneverunners.com
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Old 02.11.2009, 13:36
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Re: Running Races 2009

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much[/i] slower than a flat run, and I would say closer to what our hunter-ancestor evolved to do... the terrain will be so varying and steep that they act as a safety mechanism...unlike fast repetitive motion on asphalt for 3-4 hours in a city mara.

At these speeds (and generous feed breaks), I could easily eat and digest and not go into an energy deficit. I heard the front runners barely paused to eat; in contrast we at the tail-end used to sit and eat for 15-20 mins and enjoy the meal That is one reason perhaps, that I recover very fast after the races I have done (e.g. I was back in the trails doing my local hill just the day after my Inferno HM)...

.
Your comments could equally apply to a road marathon. You could take it easy, have a rest at the drink/food stops and walk some bits.
A lot of people do this - those that either just want to finish or those who aer unable to go any faster.
It's difficult for the Swiss road marathons as they have (relatively) low maximum time limits but at other races around the world people come in many hours after the furst runners.

Lets, face it, most of us are running these races for personal satisfaction - either to beat PBs, enjoy the atmosphere or as a means of getting motivation for general fitness.

We're not going to win but when we run a race, unless using it as a training run for another goal, we tend to run as fast as we bl***dy well can.
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Old 02.11.2009, 14:37
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Re: Running Races 2009

Niranjan, thanks so much for your congrats and very useful advice and information.

I like your perspective on trail/ultra marathons being not so much a logical progression of road races, but more….different. This helps me to view them as less….intimidating in a way, which is good! Many thanks also for your insight regarding refuelling during an ultra vs during a road race. Again, this is good to know as one of my concerns during longer runs is not taking on enough energy.

You say you completed the Inferno HM??? This is one of the races that I have had my eye on for ages, but am too frightened as yet to even consider tackling it. Do you have any feedback, advice, tips on how to train for, and complete it?

As for my marathon? Well my predicted (and fairly generous) finish time was 4:30 hours to 4:40 hours. Unfortunately I hit the wall at around 27km and never recovered. I eventually hobbled home in 4:58 hours. I made the fatal beginner’s mistake of going out too quickly and completely under-estimating how long that final half marathon distance feels! But I will learn from that mistake, which is why I’m very keen to do another marathon as soon as I have recovered and completed some more training. I also want to mix up my running a bit, hence my interest in trail and ultra marathons.

Kate, thanks so much for your congrats too! Yes, I am still basking in post marathon glory, although sadly, I think I have become a complete marathon bore now!

I do receive the datasport email updates. So this is where I should be looking for information on events? And I will definitely check out the magazines and links you added. Thanks so much!

I am in awe of some of the races you have done. Did you manage to complete the agenda you set for yourself at the start of this thread?

K
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Old 02.11.2009, 21:15
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Re: Running Races 2009

I didn't know this thread existed....wish I'd found it earlier ! I'm a keen mountain runner, and race a lot during the mountain running season. This year, I ran Liechtenstein, Jungfrau and Napf marathons plus some of the shorter races...Zugerberglauf, Rigiberglauf and some in the Jura mnts. Good to find some other Brits running these kinds of races. I'll be doing some of the snow mtn runs over the winter and then getting some solid training in for the next season. Hopefully see some of you around.
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Old 03.11.2009, 09:39
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Re: Running Races 2009

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I didn't know this thread existed....wish I'd found it earlier ! I'm a keen mountain runner, and race a lot during the mountain running season. This year, I ran Liechtenstein, Jungfrau and Napf marathons plus some of the shorter races...Zugerberglauf, Rigiberglauf and some in the Jura mnts. Good to find some other Brits running these kinds of races. I'll be doing some of the snow mtn runs over the winter and then getting some solid training in for the next season. Hopefully see some of you around.
I'm not really a mountain runner but I'll say hello anyway!

What winter races are you planning to run?
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Old 05.11.2009, 09:35
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Did you manage to complete the agenda you set for yourself at the start of this thread?
Oh crumbs it was never an agenda - far too many, just a list of races that appealed. Putting them all in one list, just helped me decide which ones to aim for at the beginning of the year. I ran a few but not so many as 2008, too many other sports to play at too.

p.s. I came to trail running before road running and to this day find it easier/more fun. If you love being in the mountains it's the way to go. It allows me to pick long hiking routes and run them in half the time
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Old 05.11.2009, 15:10
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Oh crumbs it was never an agenda - far too many, just a list of races that appealed. Putting them all in one list, just helped me decide which ones to aim for at the beginning of the year. I ran a few but not so many as 2008, too many other sports to play at too.
Ahh, thanks for clarifying that Still, many of those races look pretty amazing - I would love to do just one of them one day!

I wonder if someone can help me though...i'm pretty keen on trying out an ultramarathon in 2010, nothing too severe, perhaps anywhere up to 60km. However, almost all of the events i have seen in Switzerland also involve altitude, and in some cases, serious altitude! I think this might be a bit too much for my first ultra. I was therefore looking to try one out in the UK (where i lived prior to moving to Switzerland) where i can find quite a few events that are flat or at most, undulating. Depending on how i go in one of these events, i might then consider an ultra here.

Can anyone tell me if this sounds like the best approach? Are there any ultra/mountain runners out there who could advise me?

Thanks in advance!

K
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Old 05.11.2009, 17:08
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Re: Running Races 2009

Hi Kimba,
Sorry I don't know anything about formal training, so can't offer anythign there except that you can try running some local hills and get a feel of things.

As for race choices, I stand by my earlier statement that a mountain race need not deter you, and life it too short to keep worrying (not that I didn't worry before my first race but I was lucky in who I ended up taking advice from). Let me explain and also respond to Tom's earlier post:

Compare Inferno HM (21k + 2200m altitude gain) which equates to approx 43 flat kms, and therefore equivalent to a flat marathon. I would probably take just under 3h 30 mins for each of them, and the winners take approx 2h 15min for them. Which of them is "tougher" if both take roughly same effort?

In a mountain race, obviously weather can be a challenge; it gets very cold at 3000m alt. But look at the positive side: there is fresh mountain air; the cold prevents excessive sweating and is conducive for endurance running, and possibly offers great views and thrill; compare with a city mara where you are jostling about with massive crowds and sweating like a...well you know what .

I fully agree with Tom that everyone would do their bl**dy best in a race, but the point I was making was different. What I was referring to was, if you check out a tough mountain race like TAR, even the winner has to walk some bits; on steep sections it borders transition to rock-climbing. In such sections the speed is limited not by pure leg/lung power, but by one's attitude, skill, and survival instinct (compare with riding downhill in Alpine cycling races). Less obviously, such sections also gives respite to the body in ways that a flat run doesn't.

Back to your specific query: I think that broadly there are two types of races: fully supported (e.g. Inferno) and semi-autonomous (e.g. TAR, UTMB; read adventur's blogs to get a sense of what it means). In a semi-autonomous, you can be miles away from help and you are expected to possess atleast some basic survival skills. So I would recommend that you do atleast 1-2 fully supported mountain races in CH and then decide if you feel confident to take up longer races (which will invariably be semi-autonomous).

In short, I don't think going all the way to UK to run an ultra-distance flat run is the best or most efficient way to transition to a mountain race in CH.

Note: this assumes you intrinsically love mountains/hills; else, just ignore this post

Last edited by Niranjan; 05.11.2009 at 20:49. Reason: improved the rambling text ;-)
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Old 05.11.2009, 17:30
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Another option is that we just invent a local race -- may be more fun to do that anyway!
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I didn't know this thread existed....wish I'd found it earlier ! I'm a keen mountain runner, and race a lot during the mountain running season. This year, I ran Liechtenstein, Jungfrau and Napf marathons plus some of the shorter races...Zugerberglauf, Rigiberglauf and some in the Jura mnts. Good to find some other Brits running these kinds of races. I'll be doing some of the snow mtn runs over the winter and then getting some solid training in for the next season. Hopefully see some of you around.
I was wondering if there would be interest on the forum for a friendly berglauf on the Zurich side. Options include (but these are increasingly snow dependent as the days pass): Zugerberg (6km, 500m each way); Rigi (~10 km, 1400m each way) with the option to come down by bus/bahn.

A flat run around Zug Lake is something I have been thinking of doing, but won't try without company: approx 39 kms; nice thing is it passes thru' 3 cantons*: Zug, Lucerne and Schwyz and offers good views all the way upto Junfrau/Eiger/Monch, and the start point would be just 25 mins from Zurich by train .

Something right within Zurich would obviously involve Uetliberg and/or Albis...

I thought such a run would give opportunity for people wanting to give it a try but hesitant to sign up for a real race far away from home.

*Something along the lines of the EF 3 pass Alpine adventure (roadbiking) we had earlier.

Edit: Apologies for being Zurich-centric; I am keen to explore other areas as well, but someone who knows that part would need to take the initiative.

Last edited by Niranjan; 05.11.2009 at 20:51.
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Old 06.11.2009, 10:11
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Re: Running Races 2009

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Hi Kimba,
Sorry I don't know anything about formal training, so can't offer anythign there except that you can try running some local hills and get a feel of things.

As for race choices, I stand by my earlier statement that a mountain race need not deter you, and life it too short to keep worrying (not that I didn't worry before my first race but I was lucky in who I ended up taking advice from). Let me explain and also respond to Tom's earlier post:

Compare Inferno HM (21k + 2200m altitude gain) which equates to approx 43 flat kms, and therefore equivalent to a flat marathon. I would probably take just under 3h 30 mins for each of them, and the winners take approx 2h 15min for them. Which of them is "tougher" if both take roughly same effort?

In a mountain race, obviously weather can be a challenge; it gets very cold at 3000m alt. But look at the positive side: there is fresh mountain air; the cold prevents excessive sweating and is conducive for endurance running, and possibly offers great views and thrill; compare with a city mara where you are jostling about with massive crowds and sweating like a...well you know what .

I fully agree with Tom that everyone would do their bl**dy best in a race, but the point I was making was different. What I was referring to was, if you check out a tough mountain race like TAR, even the winner has to walk some bits; on steep sections it borders transition to rock-climbing. In such sections the speed is limited not by pure leg/lung power, but by one's attitude, skill, and survival instinct (compare with riding downhill in Alpine cycling races). Less obviously, such sections also gives respite to the body in ways that a flat run doesn't.

Back to your specific query: I think that broadly there are two types of races: fully supported (e.g. Inferno) and semi-autonomous (e.g. TAR, UTMB; read adventur's blogs to get a sense of what it means). In a semi-autonomous, you can be miles away from help and you are expected to possess atleast some basic survival skills. So I would recommend that you do atleast 1-2 fully supported mountain races in CH and then decide if you feel confident to take up longer races (which will invariably be semi-autonomous).

In short, I don't think going all the way to UK to run an ultra-distance flat run is the best or most efficient way to transition to a mountain race in CH.

Note: this assumes you intrinsically love mountains/hills; else, just ignore this post
Some more excellent advice and feedback Niranjan. Thanks again.

Yes, i do love mountains and hills so your post is entirely relevant. My reservation however is that i don't have much experience with them, and i guess that is the primary factor holding me back from one of the mountain events.

I have done some hiking in the alps during summer, but this has been with someone more experienced than me. I am not (yet!) confident at altitude and not (yet!) confident or familiar with the additional factors i would need to consider running on a trail in the mountains. But this will come in time i know.

Thanks also for making the distinction between semi autonomous and fully supported events. I guess this is what i am alluding to above, so maybe initially i would consider the fully supported events.

Some food for thought Niranjan and thanks again for your help. It has given my plenty to think about )

K
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