Sierre-Zinal is not a normal mountain or trail race. What Wimbledon is for tennis, the Wacken Open Air for heavy metal fans or the Lauberhorn descent for skiers, Sierre-Zinal is for mountain and trail runners: something extraordinary.
The course measures 31 kilometres and takes the runners from Sierre (570 m.a.s.l.) to 2425 m.a.s.l. for the first two thirds of the course, before descending 750 m to Zinal for the last third. This results in a total of 2200 metres ascent and 1100 metres descent. (19 miles, 7,200 feet of uphill and 3,600 feet of downhill)
Map and profile of the race: https://runningcoach.me/en/events/2313
Since 1974 the traditional event has been taking place, making Sierre-Zinal the oldest mountain race among the great European competitions in the mountains. There is much to be said for the fact that this year’s edition will be a very special one!
The reason for this are the numerous top athletes who will make the running course between Sierre and Zinal unsafe this year. Some of them in the shortest portrait:
Kilian Jornet, Spain, age 31
The Catalan set out to claim his seventh (!) victory at the Sierre-Zinal. He won the first race of the Golden Trail World Series and has the track record firmly in his sights.
You can read more about Kilian Jornet in the running.COACH blog post from 2018.
Jim Walmsley, USA, age 29
This will be his first start at the traditional mountain run. Actually a specialist for the ultra distances, the special distance profile could accommodate him however.
Davide Magnini, ITA, age 21
Coming from ski touring he is the shooting star of the scene. He won both the Mont Blanc Marathon and the Dolomyths Run. Last year, he finished 7th in Zinal, 5 minutes behind Jornet – betting that he will be a top performer again this year?
Nadir Maguet, ITA, age 26
His compatriot Davide Magnini stood in front of the sun twice this year – both the Mont Blanc Marathon and the Dolomyths Run Maguet finished 2nd.
Bart Przedwojewski, POL, age 26
The Pole is the leader of the Golden Trail World Series after the first three runs.
Marc Lauenstein, SUI, age 38
Unforgotten his triumph in 2013, when he won the race in the final descent. After a foot injury, Lauenstein is now back and wants to intervene again this year.
Article about Marc Lauenstein in the running.COACH Blog (2018)
Jacob Adkin, GBR, age 23
The British runner became European mountain champion in Zermatt in June. What can we expect from him on the 2.5 times longer course?
More favorites in the men’s race:
- Robbie Simpson, GBR (2nd 2018)
- Robert Surum, KEN (3rd 2018)
- Francesco Puppi, ITA ( 4th 2018)
- Petro Mamu, ERI (1st 2016)
- Rémi Bonnet, SUI (4th at Mountain running European Championships 2019)
- Stian Aarvik, NOR (2nd at Mountain running European Championships 2019)
- Elhousine Elazzaoui, MAR
- Jan Margarit, ESP
- Teboho Noosi, LES (Wants to break the record)
- Max King, USA (1st Mountain running World Championships 2011, 3rd 2017)
- Yokouchi Yutaro, JAP
- Florian Neuschwander, GER
- Sage Canaday, USA
- Julien Rancon, FRA
- Andrew Douglas, GBR
- Petter Engdahl, SWE
- Juan Carlos Carera, MEX
- Geoffrey Gikuni, KEN
Strong locals – Ready for a top placement
- Stephan Wenk, SUI
- Jonathan Schmid, SUI
- Joey Hadorn, SUI
- Pascal Buchs, SUI
- Stefan Lustenberger, SUI
- Martin Anthamatten, SUI
- Werner Marti, SUI
Lucy Murigi, KEN, age 34
This year the Kenyan woman sets out to bring home the hat trick. After two victories in the past two years, this year she could take her third consecutive victory at Sierre-Zinal.
Ruth Croft, NZL, age 30
After a victory at the Mont Blanc Marathon and a second place at the Dolomyths Run she is the current leader of the Golden Trail World Series.
Judith Wyder, SUI, age 31
In the Dolomyths Run, the 31-year-old Swiss shocked her opponents by improving the course record by seven minutes. This makes the former world class orienteer one of the favourites on home ground as well.
Maude Mathys, SUI, age 32
The highest ranking is probably the current and triple European champion in mountain running. At the Dolomyths Run she showed what she can do at the uphill. Her roller qualities are also very good. Last year she ran a street marathon in 2:31:17.
Eli Anne Dvergsdal, NOR, age 27
A victory at the beginning of the Golden Trail Series and the second place in the intermediate ranking speaks for itself. The Norwegian should be hot for a top place.
Simone Troxler, SUI, age 23
The third Swiss runner who can achieve a lot on home ground. At the last event in 2018, she showed what she was capable of and surprisingly finished third.
More favourites in the women’s race:
- Sarah Tunstall, GBR
- Elisa Desco, ITA
- Carrion Gisela, ESP
- Lina El Kott Helander, SWE
- Ragna Debats, NED
- Eli Gordon, ESP
- Yiou Wang, USA
- Silvia Rampazzo, ITA
- Sarah McCormack, IRL
- Holly Page, GBR
Strong locals – Ready for a top placement
- Theres Leboeuf, SUI
- Victoria Kreuzer, SUI
- Maya Chollet, SUI
- Alessandra Schmid, SUI
Who are your favorites? Are you a connoisseur of the trail and mountain running scene? Then prove it to us: https://forms.gle/Cr2YLY7ixcrpNkwB6
Start is on Sunday 11 August 2019 at 10:00 CET.
Race Planning / Runtime Calculator
If you are one of the 5200 participants and would like help with the race tactics, we can highly recommend our race calculator to calculate your possible finish time and your splits:
Written by Jonas Merz / Gabriel Lombriser
This post is also available in DE.