On Thursday night, the full moon ended up with the short end of the stick: the first Engadin Night Race was held in the rain for the most part. The 462 racers thus turned on their headlamps before setting off on their way across the lakes and through the forests of the Upper Engadin. At the finishing line, they enthused about the pleasant ambience and the spirit of camaraderie among the racers as well as the support they received from the spectators and the music bands.
In-between the villages, the race turned still: almost mystical, is how many participants described the allure of the course of the first Engadin Night Race. The rain did not dampen the mood: neither spectators nor participants paid much notice to the wet weather. 429 racers eventually made it across the finishing line in Pontresina.
By lunchtime, bibs were running out
The organisers were both surprised and delighted by the final count of the sign-up for the race: "Even though everyone knew that the weather would be ghastly in the evening, an extra 100 people signed up on Thursday," said the marathon's managing director Menduri Kasper, smiling broadly. "By lunchtime, we were running out of bibs, and we had to resort to spare ones that we keep for the marathon." "Altogether, the race was very well organised," Kasper sums up. Lighting had been put up at the tricky spots, and many dozens of helpers along the nocturnal route made sure that everything worked to a T. There were no incidents during the event.
Curdin Perl, the winner of the men's race and a Pontresina native, praised the organisation and the atmosphere at the first Night Race. "It was fantastic to race in the night," he said after the finishing line "even though I was surprised by uneven terrain once or twice." Adding, "The fun tonight was a real booster after having messed up the 50-kilometre race at the World Championships in Lahti. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now looking forward to Sunday's marathon."
More highlights to follow during the Engadin marathon week
The 18th Women's Race last Sunday marked the start of the marathon week. The conditions for the race were perfect, and 979 runners made it across the finishing line. Friday will see the next highlight of the marathon week: youth and elite runners will compete in the 37th St. Moritz Night Sprint; world-class athletes from Norway, France as well as Switzerland have signed up for the race.
13,000 participants are expected for the highlight on Sunday: The 49th Engadin Ski Marathon is set to take place in brilliant sunshine. Registration is open until Saturday 5 PM; registration on site at the start number pick-up desk.
Images: Free download from flickr.com