The name of the race says it all: K78. In these last couple of months I've been slowly adapting to the idea of running 78K. 78K.
Well, something has changed.
In december the race officials notified us that they have changed this year's course. Why? Apparently they have a back-up course for bad weather conditions (which is a good thing, if you'd ask me). And this year, that back-up course will be the actual course. You could say this year's runners are testdriving it for future bad weather conditions.
This is the statement of the race director on the changes to the course:
"One-off revival of former route.
Holding the K78 on the panorama trail requires good weather conditions. If the weather fails us, however, we do have an alternative route via the Sertig Pass/valley. In order to review and optimise our organisation, on 29 November 2010, the Organising Committee decided that in the year 2011 it is going to use the Sertig route - as a one-off and irrespective of the weather.
We are convinced the Sertig route will offer you a one-of-a-kind experience. This will also confirm that the Swissalpine - depending on weather conditions - has two fully-fledged courses to offer and therefore is both more reliable and more exclusive."
In my opinion this is a wise decision of the race committee. Plus, only the high alpine terrain part of the race will change (approximately 21 km). The rest of the course will remain the same as last year's course. As long as the course doesn't change to a point where it will take me out of the Swiss Alps, I'm fine. :) I would still love to participate and hope I get the chance to! :)
However, the Swissalpine Marathon Facebook page and the Guestbook on their website is filled with negative feedback on these changes. Some runners have actually decided not to participate in the 2011 K78 because of the changes to the course. Obviously it's up to you if you participate or not, but some comments are just harsh, and in my opinion the Race Committee does not deserve such comments.
It did make me wonder. Would you decide not to participate in a race you do every year if the race committee would change the course for that year and that year alone?
Not quite 78K anymore
One last thing. The 'original course' of the Swiss Alpine Marathon K78 is, duh, 78K. And has a 2320 meters / 7611 feet elevation. Due to the changes this year's course will be 79K. And will have a 2370 meters / 7775 feet elevation. I'm mentally adapting to this one as we speak. ;)
How to train for that in flat flat Holland? Spend 2 or 3 weekends in the German Eiffel and the Belgian Ardennes. And spend a lot of time in the gym with the treadmill set on a 15% incline. Sounds like a plan. :)