Some time ago now I noticed that there was a Half marathon which went around a lake, near Uster, in the northern part of Switzerland. The route was also was quite flat but, perhaps most importantly, free transport was provided there and back, courtesy of the Swiss transport system. The start was at 3pm and I worked out that I could catch the 9am bus, get there for 1.30pm, collect my number, run the race and be back home (well, in Sion) by 9:30pm. The only ‘drawback’ was that my daughter Sarah and her fiancé Karl would be staying with us on that day.
Now, I knew Karl was pretty fit and had run several half marathons in the past, as well as the Oslo marathon last year, so I thought he might be interested. But, other than a few Park runs, my daughter had never run a race in her life. She had run up to 7 or 8 miles with Karl, but that was just for fun… Anyway, you may have guessed it, they both agreed to run it with me. Our goal was to run together and finish in under 1h 55mins (though like most runners, this was perhaps wishful thinking) but sub-2 hours was definitely possible.
For the first 7 to 8k (5 miles) we were ‘on’ for the 1h 55m, but it was clear we were slowing slightly. The weather was warm and I, for one, was feeling the heat. We plodded on, over a mixture of rough farm track and tarmac roads/cycle path until around the 14 to 16k (10 mile) mark when we slowed a bit more. At 18k we had around 18 minutes to do the remaining 3.1k (2 miles). However we’d seen that there would be a significant rise in the profile of the route at 19k. We pressed on knowing that what went up, did come down slightly afterwards and we almost sprinted the last 500 metres knowing that the clock was ticking… and, unfortunately, we missed out on sub-2 hours by an agonising and unlucky 13 seconds! 😞
Sarah had said before the race that it would be both her debut and retirement race, but she couldn’t have tried harder and I’m immensely proud of her. So well done Sarah!
Karl, by the way, could have run around 1h 35 minutes, but he came down with a cold the day before, so he too deserves a special mention for running along with us and providing encouragement (as well as some very corny jokes) all the way through.
As you will see below, I didn’t run with my camera, well mobile phone, to capture the race itself, so I only have a few pictures of our journey there and afterwards. It goes without saying, of course, that the Swiss transport system worked like clockwork!