Stoos Trail

Last year when we bough something at a sports shop in Schwyz, by chance I saw a flyer for the Stoos Trail. Usually I run only to keep myself fit, and I have no aspirations to compete. But a trail comp so close to home looked interesting. On the website they advertised a training class to prepare. This offering caught my interest even more than the competition itself. I have been running uphill for my RunAndFly exercises for some years, without ever bothering about theory or technique. So I though it might be a good idea to learn some of the basics. After all, I hear about running injuries from time to time. I never had anything, was not too afraid, but still…

My older son also showed interest, so we signed up together. Stoos trail had three distances, 46km with 2400 meters of altitude, 24km with 1700 meters of altitude and 10km with 500 meters of altitude. The longest was out of the question, but I was unsure which of the other two I should sign up for. I remembered how tired I was once after a RunAndFly to the Fronalpstock. But with a bit of training, and some food and drinking, I might manage the descent as well. Levin wanted to go for the 24km from the beginning. We were not sure that was a good idea, and so we waited to see how the class would go, and consulted the opinion of the instructors.

The training class was really interesting and fun. We went to a new location every week, and learned something new every time. But when it was time for signing up, we learned that the minimum age for the 24km was 18. We tried to get a special permission, but they couldn’t do that. Levin was really depressed for a couple of days. Somebody told him that if he completed with a good time he could do the 24km next year. So he also looked forward to it. That left me with deciding if I wanted to do the 10km together with Levin, or still go for the 24km. My wive convinced me to still go for the 24km, as I trained for that.

So came the day. At the start everybody lines up more or less at the position in the gaggle where he thinks he belongs. My goal was to complete slightly better than the middle. So I aligned about in the middle before the start. When we started running I already felt tired, and thought everybody around me trained harder, and that I would be lucky not to end up in the last quarter or the field. I started slowly, and could bread through the nose almost up to Morschach. At the upper part of Morschach my family cheered, and gave me some water. They told me that roughly 60 people already passed before me, which would mean I was just in the better half.

From there it got steeper, and we hiked more than running until the summit. I could keep a good pace, and made good some positions. Because I prefer to go light and don’t carry a vest, I needed some more time at the food and drink booths. But the positions I lost while drinking, I always made back soon after.

When I ran and hiked up to Fronalpstock with the Glider, it took me slightly more than two hours to reach the summit. So my estimate was, that with more training and a less direct route in the competition I could still do it in about two hours. I reached the summit in two hours and five minutes, so the estimate was not too bad. For the way down I didn’t have any experience to base my estimate on. The way down is generally faster, but my training consisted mainly of RunAndFly. Thus my legs were not well trained for the descent, and I feared that I would have to walk some parts when the knees would start shaking. With all this in mind, I estimated an hour and a half for the descent, which would sum up to three and a half hours for the whole trail. The upper part was reasonably technical and I had the impression I did quite well. The lower part was on a gravel road which was easier. But my legs were so tired, that I just had to go slower. In fact I can’t remember my legs ever being so tired. Under regular conditions I would just take a break from time to time, but in a competition you just keep running. I reached the goal after three hours and fourteen minutes and ended up in 30th position out of 123 males. So all in all I did much better than anticipated.





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