Trans-Alps: 99 days and counting

Today is the start of my 99-day countdown to the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on. From Sept 4 – 11 I’ll be competing in the Trans-Alpine Run, a 296km 8-day stage race through the German, Austrian and Italian Alps.

The race will be extreme – not so much because of the terrain it’ll cover, the altitude it’ll be run at, or the 18 000m in altitude I’ll have to haul myself up over the duration of the race, but because of its toughest test: my partner in this two-person team event will be world champ ultra-distance trail running champion Ryan Sandes.

They call him the Sandman, for his astonishing ability to run at speed through extreme desert conditions. But he’s also sloshed his way at high pace for 7 days through the Amazon Jungle and won. And I’ve seen him run up a rocky path that’s barely visible and make it look easy. Forget Sandman – this man’s a Speed Machine!

For eight days I’ll be chasing a time machine up alpine mountains, over glaciers and snow-covered shale slides, across rock faces and down valleys, competing against 62 other mixed teams in the hope of a podium finish. We’ll be running at an average altitude of 2 600m, which will be tough for us both as we live at sea level. The scenery will be incredible... although I doubt I’ll get to see much of that!

Ryan and l will be competing as Team Salomon / Velocity Sports Lab, named after our two amazing sponsors without whom we’d still only be dreaming of doing the race. This is an opportunity few people come by, and it’ll be a tremendous experience.

So I’m in boot camp for the next three months. And if I have any hope of keeping up with the Speed Machine, best I sign off right now and get running up mountains!

Check out the race info by clicking on Trans-Alpine Run 2010 flyer

Happy weekend running!

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