My Engadin Ultraks: the advantage of racing in my hometown

Racing home

I trained a lot for Engadin Ultraks. It was not enough.

I know, I had rather big pretensions, but I wanted to try to get in the top ten. I wanted to do it. I was lucky enough to be able to try the route. Looking at the results of the past years I had excellent chances to succeed.

It was the fifth edition of Engadin Ultraks. I chose this race for the thrill of running in my hometown and for the beauty of the route. I wanted to be one of those trail runners who know every single step of their race. And I felt like that.

I wanted to be a point of reference

This time I did not race to participate. I went to make a result.

I wanted to show people who follow me that I could be their point of reference even on trail running.

How can I talk about trail running without having won anything?

I’m a fitness instructor. But to be a reference point for trail running you have to be an athlete.

I did not win. I did not arrive close to it. But I learned a lot.

The first thing I learned is to never relax and low the concentration. I say this after having looked up for admiring one of my favorite views and having found myself face on the ground. Luckily I stayed on the path.

The second thing I learned is never underestimate your competitor. Uphill I slowed down. Certain to be able to overcome almost all the women who passed me, I took breath. Knowing every single inch of the path I thought that downhill I would be faster. I was. But partially. I only overtook half of the women who passed me uphill.

My Engadin Ultraks

The atmosphere is quite pleasant. Many stop to greet me.

I’m focused. I want to make a good result. I owe it to all those people who follow me. I owe it to my family who allowed me to train.

Arrival just in time. There are only fifteen minutes left. I feel weak. I did not sleep much tonight and I do not feel rested. I take off my jacket, I greet my daughter and my husband and I set myself up at the start.

I look at other women: I try to understand who comes from Engadine. Only they can win. I know the path and I know that you have to try it and know it. Only a person used to run at these altitudes can make it.

Starting in front

I’m starting as first one. What scared me most is to get slowed down in the first part of the trail when everyone starts walking.

My legs hurt. We enter the forest and a surreal silence reigns. I do not know anyone.

I at the first gate without stopping. There is nobody in front of me and behind me. I feel lonely and there is nothing more beautiful than feeling one thing with your mountains.

I do not feel well. My head is spinning. I tried this route last week. From my watch I realize I’m slow.

The climb starts, the tough one, and I start walking. I take a gel to try to recover. Nothing. My legs hurt more and more. A girl arrives from behind. It’s faster than me. I let her go.

I try not to give up. The head gives me other signals.

I at the Chamanna Segantini and start running again. From here I know it’s all downhill. I try to look where I put my feet. There are some rather technical steps. Many stones to jump. I raise my head to admire the lake of St. Moritz and I find myself face down. I get bloody and I think that for me today ends here. I think of my readers. I start running again.

I know that there is a straight line in which I can still recover. I pass some girls.

I dreamed of seeing my name in the top ten of Engadin Ultraks. But I begin to think that I will have to be happy with my result.

The last mile I raise the rhythm. I cut the finish line and see my daughter. I feel I have won.

The truth is that I have not committed enough. I did not concentrate. Something did not work in my head. The legs go with the head. Instead, on arrival I felt first. Sofie was there for me. And even if I was bleeding, I had to smile.

Congratulations to the winner. Of course from Engadin.

I have run with an altitude and in a distance never experienced before.