Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
Just one short week after the Swiss Alpine Davos – too soon for a tough event such as the Gondo Event? A double marathon – 42.2 km on Saturday, from Gondo to Ried-Brig, with 2000m elevation to climb and then to descend, followed by 42.2km on Sunday, from Ried-Brig back to Gondo, with another 1900m elevation (climb and descent). Too soon perhaps still to run my best – but I was so tempted by this …. Having walked in this area alone a few years ago, I knew just how special it would be. And good training towards The North Face Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc at the end of August?
The Gondo Event is a unique race with a unique atmosphere. It is relatively small – with this year about 110 participants, but the race has a very special quality and a close relationship is formed amongst the runners and the supporters.
We were blessed with stunningly beautiful days. I was happy to be there, to be running, and to be part of a race over a historic pass and in such beautiful mountains. Following my 2nd place at the Swiss Alpine Marathon only one week ago, this was a good race for me. My cumulative result for the two marathons together was 8 hours 19mins – just 14 minutes behind the 1st man – and I was 4th overall. I was 1st woman – 1 hr 14 mins ahead of the next.
The race is in memory of a giant mud avalanche on October 14th 2000, when part of the village of Gondo was buried and 13 in habitants lost their lives. It is a two day stage race over a distance of 84.4km and 3900m ascent and descent. The first stage follows the impressive Gondo Gorge to Simplon Dorf, via the Simplot Pass (2005m), across the Bistinenpass (2417m) as the high point, down into the valley of Nanztal, across the foot of the Glishorn, crossing the Saltina Gorge and river to Ried-Brig. In memory to the first Gondo Event when the bridge across the Saltina river was washed away, the creek is crossed still through the water rather than using the bridge (2km before the finish). The second stage starts at Ried-Brig and follows the heritage path Stockalperweg along the Ganter valley, crosses the Simplon Pass (2005m), and thence downhill via Simplon Dorf to Gabi. From there a second, strenuous climb up to Furgga marks the second summit of the stage, followed by a 10 km downhill stretch through the Zwischbergental and back to Gondo.