Swiss Alpine Marathon

Evening all.
Spotted the Swiss Alpine Marathon whilst browsing and it looks a good run.  Has anyone else ever done it and have you any tips/hints?

I would be going for the half marathon, sensible for first race at any form of altitude, I think.

Thanks in advance.



  • Hi Sue

    I've been doing various distances at the Swiss Alpine for 12 years now. I can thoroughly recommend it. The K21 is an entertaining course, starting on a lovely new bridge at Klosters and finishing in the stadium at Davos.

    If you are up for the distance, I would suggest the K31 ( I think that is its current name, it does change ! ). It is a great trail run and you are running with people doing the C42 and K78 events, who carry on when you have finished in Filisur. If you are OK with running half marathons in the UK, it would be my choice to go for.

  • Hi Ian.

    Thanks for that.  I have just completed my 8th half marathon in the UK in a PB of 2.33, so although not fast, I think it's an OKayish time.  Does this sound compatible with the K31?

    Also how long would you suggest I spend in the area beforehand, just to adjust to the altitude?

    Thanks a lot.
  • Hi Sue

    2:33 is very compatible with the K31. All the events have a very wide spread of abilities, and the approach to them varies from all out racing to taking a camera and having a great day out.

    I would suggest Wednesday at the latest for the Saturday race, but better still would be to come the previous weekend. it is a lovely area for walking and there are other events in the week leading up to it. The altitude does have an effect, but is not really noticeable after a couple of days. With the events being off road anyway, you can't really compare times with any other event, which is probably no bad thing !

    I go with 209events, which gives you a ready made group with its own organisation, as well as the events laid on by the Swiss Alpine folk. Have a look at their website, which will tell you a lot more, or ask me as it is one of my favourite topics image



  • Hello Ian!! Fancy seeing you here!!!

    You have prob already made up your mind by now but in case you havnt I would def recomend the K31.  I did the C42 last year which is the same as the K31 then does a bit more.  It is the first time I have got to the end of a marathon and wanted to turn around and do it all again! That is why I am doing the K78 this year!

    The nice thing about the K31, as Ian says, is that the 3 races (K31, C42 and K78) all start together in the stadium so it has a great atmosphere with there being so many people. 

    The K31 is really not that hilly, there are hills but not too bad, much better than I expected.  Just to give you an idea, I did 2.49 for a 30km race a few months before when I was giving it everything.  When I got to the 31km point in my marathon it was 3.20 and that was taking it easy.  Had I raced it then I prob would have done just over 3 hours so you dont need to add that much more time.

    If you have already entered the half then you can already change (et vv) , I dont think you really need to do any specific hill training although it might be worth doing some downhill practice as I had the worse DOMS ever after the marathon which I think was from all the downs!!

    If you google swiss alpine marathon you will get lots of utube vids,

  • Hi Sue,

    I'm leaving on Wed to do the K42 next Sat. Oh my god its here already.
    This will be my first time at this event so i am really looking forward to it. Will report back once i have recovered!!
  • Sue,

    I've ran the K31 this weekend - what a fabulous experience and probably the most memorable run of my life (although London Marathon and Cape Wrath Challenge are in the competition).  The scenery was fantastic, wonderful support in the villages we passed through.  Personally I went for an experience not a fast race - having some camera stops en-route.  For me this was an appropriate attitude to run with and enjoy the day.  I think the people running the K21 had a much tougher run at a much hotter time of the day although they benefitted from a stadium finish. 

    I'll definitely be going again.

  • Hi all.
    Thanks so much for the hints and race reports.
    Sadly, I didn't go this year.  Finances weren't good at the start of the year, so no chance to enter.  By the time they picked up, was too late to do it really.  But I plan on going next year, so may see some of you then!

     hellen - hope you had a great run, had a look at youtube - looks well worth it.

    Colin - hope your run was good and looking forward to the report.

    Catharine - Glad to hear you had a wonderful run.  Scenery looked and sounded fantastic in all I saw and read about it.  I think when I do it, it'll be for the experience, certainly not time.

  • Hi anybody still around who can give a report or add anything? I'm aiming to do this in 2011, k42, and am wondering how much leeway to add onto my mara times of around 3:45. I'll be in good form and acclimatised. Thanks.
  • Steve
              Did this a few years ago when i was also running around 3:45 for marahon and this race took me about 5:30 to give you an idea of how long it might take. There is quite a bit of gradual climbing in the first 10K but at time i was wondering what fuss was about - then race got serious and next 5k alone took me around 1hr 15. There was than a gradual flat/downhill section for around 5k ish but it was on a mainly rough track so not particularily quick. Race then went back up the side of mt and everyone was walking up here and you eventually get to top which is highest point. The start down other side is steep and again track is pretty rough but when you get back down into valley with about 15k to go it's fairly flat there after and on good tracks. I think route has been changed in one place this year but hope this gives you an idea of what to expect.
              Despite difficulty best race i've ever done - went back next year and did K78  - did not think i could do something that long but finishing gave me the best high i have ever had or likely to have from running.  
    PS Davos is a stunning place - good luck and have a good time.


  • Great, thanks! I'll try not to be tempted to try the K78. For a first ultra that might be foolhardy. We're planning to have a walking holiday for 2 weeks or so beforehand as my taper, hence expecting to be acclimatised.

    I'm expecting one or two maras in the first half of the year, including the Oslo forest, so that should help. Clearly I need to continue with the hill training and get my feeding and drinking sorted out better if it's going to take so long.

    There were a couple of people on fetch with similar time differences to you, so I suppose I have to plan for that. I usually run by HR so maybe I will try to run it with as flat effort as possible, rather than pace.
  • It was strange the first year because although my wife and i were pleased to survive the K42 there was a sense of under achievment the next day when we saw others walking around with K78 t-shirts and it was that feeling which made us go back the next year to do the K78. Also when we were doing our race there were people passing us doing the K78 (as they start earlier and had caught us up) and i was amazed how quick they were going despite having done 36k just to get to start of the K42.
    However with benefit of hindsight if you can manage going there for 2 years running it was definately worth doing the K42 first to have some idea what you are up against.
    Just treat it as a one off, don't worry about time and try and enjoy as much as possible. Organisation is brilliant
    PS if i can persuade the wife (who does not like going back to same races) we may even be back ourselves this year for another crack
    Once more good luck

  • Thanks for the advice, Steve, its exactly what I'm looking for. I will check with my own SO whether she'll consider going back there next year if all goes well. She might have her arm twisted for one of the shorter ones too image
  • Steve C
    I'd endorse what Steve J says about timing, with one caveat.
    The second half of the K42 is a completely different course this year.
    I suspect that times overall will be similar though
  • Thanks, Ian!
  • Ian - where roughly will the course for the K42 change this year - would it be from the feed station at the top of the first climb where there is a mountain station/house.
  • Hi Steve
    Yes, after the High point, the Keschutte, you don't then split from the K78, you follow them onto the traverse and along there, at a point where I believe there was a drinks station last year, the path forks left, up over the Scaletta pass, then down the other side to Sertig Dorfli , continuing to Clavadel and then Davos. This is the original route of the races.
  • Just seen reply after few days away from PC - thanks for reply Ian, now just got to persuade wife to go back and do race again
  • Hi!  I'm looking for advice on the Swiss Alpine races as well.  It looks amazing and I have always loved trailrunning and super-long hikes.

     I ran my first half marathon a few weeks ago at around 2:01 and I felt like I could have gone faster.  Do you think I could handle the C42 as my first marathon?  I've been training with a friend who's going to do the London marathon and the training seems like a waste now that I've done 20 miles and don't have a race!

     I'm not sure if there are still places available, but I thought I would ask people's opinion.  Thanks!

  • Hi melissa
    From a 2:01 half, and able to do 20 miles now, I would say that the C42 is very suited. The trails are very manageable, and it has a very long cut off time. There will be no issue with entries, indeed you can probably enter on the day. The C42 has about 250-300 entrants.
    Go on, you know you want to !
  • Thanks Ian for the advice and support!  I always thought I was a middle distance runner and never thought my body could take the strain of a marathon.  Now I'm ready to go for it!  Are you going to do the K78?
  • Melissa, I am hoping to do the c42 again this year.
    Last year I trained for the K78, and finished up overtraining to the extent that I managed the C42 and have not run since. It has been a long slow road to recovery, but with optimistic signs over the last couple of weeks. Just got to make sure that I don't get carried away now !
  • *runs in, waves to Ian*   image
  • waves cheerfully back, image
  • Ian, glad you are recovering.  Well, if you or anyone else on the forum signs up, maybe we'll have a pint together in July!
  • Sounds good to me. Europe's highest brewery is very near davos, indeed you run past it on the C42, and it does very nice beer.
    I am just returned from not running the Eco-Trail de paris. I am getting really fed up with not being able to run.
  • Hey Ian, good to hear that you are recovering enough to be contemplating the C42 again.
  • Hi Mike
    I'm not sure that I am really recovering at all, but ibuprofen is a wonderful thing, and keeping the problem in check.
    Contemplating the C42 is my unfailing optimism. Mind you, I am seeing specialist GP on Tuesday, so that may go either way.
  • Ian
         Could you tell that when you say 'specialist' GP what exactly do you mean. Over the last 18 months i have gone from being able to do marathons to struggling (and i mean struggling) to manage 6 miles.  I have had various blood/heart tests, been to physio's/chiropractors, had orthortics made but am still no nearer finding out what the problem is so would be very interested in what sort of GP you are seeing as i am getting desperate now and close to having to stop running all together which after 30 years will be a massive blow. 
    Thanks in advance


  • Hi Steve
    that sounds awful.
    My problem is (or is diagnosed as) adductor tendinopathy, and has stopped me running since Switzerland last year, although I have started doing a bit in the last couple of weeks. it was brought on by overtraining exacerbating an unerdlying core weakness, as all I did was run, no other exercise. The specialist is a GP who looks after a number of local sports teams, amateur and pro, and as such, has a lot of experience with this type of problem.
    I hope that helps a bit and you are able to get a constructive diagnosis.
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