In 2019 I ran the Aigle-Leysin race for the first time. It's a fantastic "demi-marathon des alpes" that climbs up into the mountains from the valley and passes by the Berneuse peak before heading down to Leysin. The race is held on August 1st which is the Swiss National Day - this makes it even more fun to run a race near home!
This year I wanted to do the race again to compare my time to two years ago and to put in a solid effort before running the Swiss Alps 100 in a couple of weeks. After a great week training in Chandolin (some pictures here and here) I was ready for the climb and looking forward to the race. On a rainy day we headed to the start and joined all the other runners who were looking in the direction of the route to see fog and low-hanging clouds: it was going to be a wet race.
From the start I settled into around 5th or 6th position and from there I was on my own for most of the race. I climbed steadily, running sections that I had to power-hike in 2019 and making good progress over the route. I was happy to hold a very steady effort for the first hour and to run a good pace on the flatter sections where I had eased off a little in the previous race to catch my breath. After about an hour I could feel some of the training mileage from Chandolin in my legs and I couldn't quite hold my effort in the same HR zone I wanted (I was 5-8bpm lower than I had planned). Nevertheless, on the last push to Berneuse I was still running well and I made my way over the summit feel positive and strong. I ran the fastest descent I could on the slippery and wet ski slopes while making sure to stay safe and not take too much unnecessary risk. Luckily that was still fast enough to pass another runner and keep me pushing all the way to the end.
I was very happy to finish in 4th place - a step up from the 10th in 2019 - and to improve my time by 4 minutes. The route was a little different at the start and under constant rain the footing was slippery and tricky so I may have even improved more than that time shows. Today was great progress in my uphill running and a fun day out on the trails. I like this race a lot and can see it becoming an annual fixture on my calendar.
|A chocolate medal (4th) on Swiss National Day - that seems appropriate!
Race result1 August 2021