Swissalpine Davos K78: 26 July 2008
Relatively cool, although increasingly sunny and hot as day progressed.
Davos K78 - 78 kilometre alpine marathon, with total climb and descent of over 2300 metres. Starting in Davos (at 1600 metres altitude) the course progresses on road and track to 1700 metres by 15km before descending (sharply) over the next 15Km to 1000 metres altitude and the village of Filisur. Then the big climb starts and this is largely offroad on rocky paths.... 1600 metres (or a mile!) over the next 22km, to over 2600 metres altitude at the pass of Kaschhutta. Then drop / climb 200 metres again over the next 7km to Scalettapass (2600m altitude). And then the big drop - losing 1000 metres (at first down tricky glacial morrain, later on more normal paths) over the next 19km to the finish in Davos. About 700 finishers in the K78 this year and in across events (see below) about 5000 participants.
In short - this is a very tough race indeed bearing in mind the combination of the distance, the altitude, the absolute amounts of climb / descent and the terrain involved. It is however a fantastically well organised event with a really good feel of being both a "big prestige event" and a "village race". The scenary is breath-takingly beautiful, even when suffering from severe exhaustion. The opportunity to achieve both a 5K PB (if brave enough) on some of the descents, and a guaranteed 5K "personal-worst" on the climbs in the same race should not be overlooked either.
Runs concurrently with a K42 (a full marathon, also very tough, being the last 42k of the K78), a K31 (rather "easier", the first 31k of the K78), a C42 (another full marathon, following the first 31k of the K78, but then heading further downhill), a K21 (different course, a very tough half marathons, with close to 700 metres of climb).
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