Mittwoch, 31. August 2016

Hoher Kasten Berglauf

This is likely to be the only short distance mountain race I will do this year. It is located in a very scenic part of the Swiss alps. Not to take anything away of any of the other parts but the Alpstein is a little gem on its own. I participated already twice in 2012 and 2013 when I cam 1st and 4th respectively. Because the course was extended by not even 100 meters the organizers called out to set a new course record. The old one (41:37) by Andrea Erni was simply to good to get beaten.

Quite a few athletes also from neighbouring countries such as Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany or even Italy were attracted by the prize purse of 1000 Swiss Francs. The only thing was - the winner takes it all. But I knew that many other good runners were such as Fabe Downs but also the 3 time winner Aemisegger and also world class athlete David Schneider attended who won in 2008. Schneider told me a week before the race that he wouldn't be in a great shape and I already thought it was time to beat him finally!


The Hoher Kasten Berglauf is a relatively small race with a field of about 250 runners for the main event. The atmosphere is very familial and everything very uncomplicated - just as you would expect with a local mountain run. This time the quality in the field was much higher than it is usually.
The start is on tarmac which leads After the start we were a pack of about 8 athletes who all tried to set the pace and keep it high. Soon it was David Schneider and me who were the ones leading the pack as it got smaller and smaller when only Thomas Niederegger and a heavy breathing Arnold Aemisegger were able to follow. The legs felt somewhat heavy but we pushed quite hard so what would you expect to feel.
After two kilometers there was a relatively flat part where I tried to get away from everybody for the first time. Schneider stayed close and we stayed more or less together until we reached the halfway point from where it crosses a steep meadow. Now the legs were tired and burning and I had to walk because I wasn't able to maintain the rhythm of David Schneider and so it happened that Niederegger overtook me as well. In my head I was close to give up the race. But I knew as well that this was the passage where I would be weaker than David and once we reach the road again I should have the advantage. It was a real fight in my head because I was suffering with all the lactic acid in my legs. But then again I knew that this was the reason that I was here in the first place. So I pushed through this mini-crisis.
A few minutes later on the road I had a deficit of probably 15 seconds on Schneider and Niederegger was just in between. It was great to see Thomas Rusch with friends who helped out with a bottle of cold water which was much appreciated. I could feel that I gained a few centimeters with every step and that I was able to really push on this section. This is where my strength lies when it's flowing and I can use the long reach of my legs. I know that many runners dislike this part and describe it as mentally hard but for me it's exactly the opposite.

I finally closed the gap to David Schneider just before the last steep climb started with about 100 meters vertical. I tried to stay with him but the legs were heavy and everything was burning and to my disappointment I had to let him go again. As we reached the old finish line I had 42:27 - it would have been the third best time. There were a few more steps and stairs to the new finish line where I dragged myself somewhat disappointed and I crossed it in 42:59 and 20 seconds behind David.

Retrospectively I have to say it was a good performance and David had to push himself pretty hard too. And he came recently second on the Skaala opp race just behind vertical serial winner and world champion Angermund-Vik. We both did some very good times on this course and I am pleased to get in under 43 minutes. It shows me that I am still competitive on shorter distances and that I am ready for my next challenge: the Jungfrau-Marathon!

Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur

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