Course de l'Escalade 2011

I hadn’t run Geneva’s Escalade race since I lived there in 1981-82. In the mean time the Escalade has become Switzerland’s biggest running event, with 25000 participants in 27 races beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. I had often considered entering again, but had never got farther than good intentions until this year. In a drawing last month I won two free entries, so I gave one to Neighbor and kept the other for myself.

Saturday morning, J.W. offered me a ride to Geneva. We got to the Bastions in plenty of time to pick up our bibs, find our way to the locker rooms, and get back to the starting line to watch the 50 and over men’s race take off with C. in the lead followed by a sea of 1500 runners. By the time the leaders finished their three laps, it was time to warm up and get a strategic spot near the front of the 550 women 50 and over. It was kinda cool to be running in an all women’s race for once! It was also a change to be among the youngest runners! The canon went off (not a starter’s pistol, a canon!) and we were off for two 2.5 km laps around the old city. Three other women kept about the same pace as I did (one of them was in her 60s!). They would pass me going uphill, and I would pass them going down. But they had saved enough energy to sprint on the home stretch and I had not.

After experiencing the large crowds of cheering spectators, the friendly volunteers, and the festive atmosphere, I think I’ll be back next year.

Gotta run...

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