The Time I Accidentally Ran a Trail Half Marathon

I just realized I failed to update on how my half marathon in the Swiss Alps went.

Well, ladies and gents- I am not a trail runner. I have been trail running exactly once in my lifetime.  It was a baby trail run for beginners and only 5 miles. I had no intention of ever trail running again. I like races where I can tootle along and daydream and not pay attention to things like tree roots and cliffs and danger. Road races are much more my speed.

I learned only after starting this race that it was 13.1 miles of technical trails. Meaning full of tree roots and rocks and steep hills and ditches and cliffs.

I wish I could tell you more about the scenery. I’m sure it was beautiful because we were running through farmland and woods in the Alps.

But all I can tell you is exactly what 13.1 miles worth of a particular section of ground in the Swiss Alps looks like because I stared downward the entire time to avoid tripping.

I did not know this was a technical trail run in advance because the website was in Swiss German and Google Translate did a bad job of translating. If YOU are considering running a race whose website is in a different language than the one you speak, I would highly recommend getting a friend who speaks the language to give you an accurate translation.

It rained during most of the run. There were sections where the mud suctioned my feet to the ground and turned the hills into slip and slides. Also, there were cows. And where there are cows, there are cow patties.

Usually I am a happy go lucky runner. Not during this race.

Here is a comparison of how excited I get running on the streets vs. my trail run face.

Road races make me want to dance!!


The world is my oyster!


Par-tay in the very back!


I’ve got the expression of one of those serial killers in a Dateline true crime story.



Also, I was the only American and the only fluent English speaking runner at the race.

EVERYTHING was in German except, inexplicably, these two signs. I did not see any pirate party and I can’t confirm if there was a bar.




It was probably a good thing there were no English speakers because the entire course I was muttering: “Seriously, F this.  Are you kidding me, F this.”  And I wasn’t just saying “F” you guys. There were some other letters I was saying too.

This is the start of the race. Fast forward to 2:40 to see me glancing up at the mountains and it starting to sink in that this might be a trail run. You can see the exact moment where horror set in on my face.

Kevin took the below video as I finished the race. He was able to easily spot me because there were only 10 or 11 runners that finished behind me. Unfortunately he ended the video before I came to a stop thinking I had finished and the race organizers had to convey to me by way of gestures and “Up! Up!” that I was not done yet.

Click here for video of finish

I’ve got no medal or t-shirt to prove I finished, but my worst ever half marathon time was recorded for posterity.  I didn’t really run besides at the beginning and the end.  I didn’t want to risk taking a tumble and getting injured so I just walked the dang thing.



To be fair, this race would be an awesome race for a trail runner. Particularly a trail runner who speaks German. And who does not mind running in the rain and stepping in cow poop once in awhile.

Here’s a couple of photos of the start and some runners warming up.





I’ve never finished a race so covered in mud. Even the back of my shirt had mud on it from when I had to crab walk down the really steep hills.

Also, not all of that is mud.


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