As I walk to the start line on the last day, I realize my body is actually still in good shape. I feel the miles have piled up, but I don’t feel like my running legs are useless. All those days, weeks, and months of non-stop running must be paying off. I have conditioned my body to make running the most natural thing to do.
Today starts with another very steep and long climb to the Monte Mauro pass.
The pack is silent this morning. This climb is very steep and today might not be as tough as yesterday. However, it’s still no joke until the finish line.
At the top of the climb, runners are welcomed by the On Running crew. They graciously set up the aid station with warm drinks, a massive diverse buffet and a huge amount of cheering! This makes the finish of the ascent quite joyful and lifts the spirits before the technical downhill.
We had been warned that after the pass, the downhill section would be technical, but nothing can prepare you for both the magnificence of nature’s work and that level of sketchiness. Imagine swimming pool sized blocks of granite with a thin crusty layer of fresh ice—that’s exactly what we had to scramble down to reach the actual trails. Later on, I would hear from Seb that in this very section is where he took off and gained a further lead in the race. Personally, I am just glad I made it down alive!
I am welcomed in Saas-Fe by a group of tourists. They can’t help but snap a couple of shots like I am some sort of superhero. Which I’m not, let’s just agree on this. ;)
Francis, Sarah, Oscar and Katrin catch up to me as I fill up my water bottles in a stream. We’re cruising along like a little train through beautiful mountains and I think we are all anticipating getting closer to the finish line.
As I reach the last aid station, my little train has split in pieces, but I’m still very happy with my pace and the energy I have left. I bump into the volunteers, hand over my cup and seek out some soda.