Aches and pains? Huffing and puffing?
But last Sunday I had a surprise: the Engadine marathon was fun, satisfying and not as exhausting as I’d predicted.
Along with 11,312 of the 12,540 starters, from elite athletes to flailing novices, aged 16 to mid-eighties, I finished the 26-mile course.
It followed the snow-clad frozen lakes and wooded paths of the far eastern corner of Switzerland, in the Graubunden canon.
If you’ve seen it in the papers lately it’s mainly because Pippa and James Middleton – the siblings of Kate Middleton, Prince William’s wife, in case you live on another planet – were taking part.
Pippa was the fastest British girl at 2hr48 and her brother, James, took 2hr17.
The fastest Brit, Alan Eason, clocked an impressive 1hr41.
The overall female winner, a Finn in her mid-thirties, glid round in 1hr29, setting a women’s course record on her first Engadine outing.
She was only a minute behind the male winner, a 23-year-old Frenchman, while the slowest racers took six hours.
I was overjoyed with my time of 3hr30 (as a first-timer of questionable fitness, four hours had been my target).
Anyway, here’s the full list of results.
After clicking on Results 2013, you can view them by class (which corresponds to age and gender), or by nationality.
Something especially impressive is that there were 223 finishers in the men’s over-70s category – and the oldest racer was born in 1926. This is a sport for everyone.
Here’s another link some readers may find entertaining.
The super-efficient organisers have posted videos of – seemingly – almost every finisher crossing the line.
Simply find a person on the results list you want to watch, look up their start number (eighth column from the left), input it or their name into the field on the right of the screen and there they are.
Here are some numbers to try – though with the first few it’s hard to tell which is which as they’re going so fast:
Pierre Guedon (the male winner, from France) – 317
Riita-Liisa Ropenen (the female winner, from Finland) – 9
Alan Eason (the fastest Brit – I can’t identify him, but you get an idea of the speed) – 1079
Christian Wenk (a paraplegic who completed the race in a sitski) – 4191
Pippa Middleton (in red and black; photographer close by) – 4606
James Middleton (in black, I think, with red headband, skating past camera) – 41847
Me (in pink and black; the knackered-looking one making straight for the camera) – 5807
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