I have wanted to run the Jura Swiss Trail for a few years. Two years ago the race was cancelled and then last year I fell ill in the week of the race. This year was the year and I started the 19km Cabri trail yesterday. It was a perfect day: warm, dry, and the only rain was forecast in the afternoon by which time I planned to be finished. The forests and trails looked amazing with wonderful green shoots and spring growth.
As always, I had a race plan that was conservative and I set out to pace myself to run the best race I would be able to on the day. This meant that from the gun there were already a group of 10 to 12 runners ahead of me pushing up the first climb. I started a little harder than I wanted, but quickly settled into a good pace with a group of three others arounds me. We stayed together on the first climb up to Mont Suchet and from there I pushed the pace in the forest on the descent to the aid station.
I was able to open a gap on the group as I was running well in the technical terrain. I held an even effort which was just what I planned and I didn't need to slow or hold back after the first climb. At this point we started passing runners from some of the other events and I wasn't always sure whether or not I was improving my position when I passed another runner. Nevertheless, I focused on catching whoever I could see in front of me and I enjoyed the motivation of passing people on the trail.
Before the race I knew that the second climb would be a test of my overall fitness and durability. I took a lap on my watch and aimed to hold the same heart rate as I had on the first climb. I was pleased to climb consistently and to be able to push hard enough to keep my heart rate in the right zone. At the top of the climb I learned I was in sixth place and I hoped that by holding a similar effort I would catch anyone who had started too fast or who slowed down in the technical and rolling Jura terrain on the crete.
My good pacing was rewarded as I moved up into 3rd spot just before the final descent. I thought there was a runner right behind me, and there may have been as I wasn't looking back, so I ran as hard as I could with the idea that if anyone could run faster than my hardest effort then they deserved to move in front of me. This final push was rewarded as I almost caught up to second place. He saw me when I was just 200m behind with about two kilometers to go and he picked up his pace. I kept the pressure on, but just couldn't catch up and finished in 3rd just 3" behind second.
|A very fast aid station around half-way.|
|Putting the speed from this winter to good use.|
|Around mid-way in the course and heading downhill before the last climb.|
|Trying my best to catch second place in the finishing straight.|
I was happy with my performance and that I was able to run consistently throughout the race. The chance to almost catch second really motivated me and led to a stronger and faster finish than I may have been able to run without that extra incentive. The trails were perfect, the race was very well organised and had a wonderful atmosphere, and I had an amazing day out. I will definitely do one of the Jura Swiss Trail races again in the future.
Race result6 May 2023