Hundreds of runners braved a heart-rending climb into the Alps at Switzerland’s Glacier 3000 Run on Saturday, albeit on a shortened route as summer heatwaves melted the ice.
The 14th edition of the event was back with no restrictions, having been canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and held in 2021 with restrictions due to the pandemic.
The race is normally run over 26.2 kilometers but this year was held on a slightly modified 25.2-kilometer track due to the melting of the glaciers, with the final pass over its surface being shortened.
“The accelerated melting of the top layer of the glacier created a bulge and a soft layer into which the runner sinks,” said race director Oliver Hermann.
“Rather than intervene to smooth the way, we preferred to deviate from the course.”
The finish line is 1,886 meters higher than the start, at almost 3,000 meters in the mountains at the top of Scex Rouge.
The route begins in the jet-set ski resort of Gstaad at 1,050 meters above sea level.
It winds through forests and green mountain pastures before plunging into rocky, lunar-like landscapes and taking in the Tsanfleuron Glacier.
The route follows the Saane upstream for 15 km before climbing 1,800 meters in altitude for the remaining 10 km to the finish line – at 2,936 meters.
311 men and 98 women completed the individual course, and 50 teams of two took part.
The first man to finish was Kenyan competitor Geoffrey Ndungu in two hours and 17 minutes. Last year he took second place.
He was followed by his compatriot Abraham Ebenyo Ekwam in 2:21 and the Swiss Jonathan Schmid in 2:23.
Victoria Kreuzer was the first woman to finish in 2:46 ahead of Nicole Schindler and Pascale Rebsamen – a clean Swiss victory.
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