The sixth Swissman Xtreme Triathlon starts Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. This long-distance triathlon crosses the Swiss Alps for over 226 kilometers and 5500 metres of ascent. The Swissman Crew are in full swing with the preparations that bring 250 athletes, their supporters, and spectators into the most beautiful and extreme corners of Switzerland.
The starting horn will blast Saturday morning, June 23rd, on Brisago Island, Lake Maggiore. Athletes move from the palm trees of Ticino, across three alpine passes in the Bernese Oberland, to the eternal ice of the Jungfrau region. If one asks Swissman cofounder Beat Stadelmann about how proud he must feel to kick off this sixth anniversary, he laughs: “I wouldn’t call it pride, but it brings me such joy to draw so many people together for this Swissman adventure.”
Starting slots promise a unique experience
The Swissman offers an unforgettable adventure to the 250 athletes who secured a starting slot. The Swissman Crew feels equally inspired. Starting at 5:00 am, the extreme athletes swim 3.8 kilometers, bike via the Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel passes for another 180 kilometers, to finish with a mountain marathon from Brienz to the Kleine Scheidegg.
The athlete is at the heart of the Swissman Xtreme Triathlon: they must be self-reliant. As the Swissman provides only the basic logistics to complete the race (in addition to hearty encouragement), athletes must coordinate their own food, hydration, and transition supplies with a personal supporter along the way. This same supporter accompanies the athlete in the final trek from Grindelwald to the high alpine.
Weather — the big unknown
While the course never changes, no Swissman can be the same. Dramatic shifts in weather and temperature challenge the athletes and supporters each year. But exposure to these elements is what distinguishes the Swissman Xtreme Triathlon – in addition to the breathtaking Swiss landscapes, the encouraging crowds, the comradery, the pit stops, the length, the tiredness, and finally, the overpowering sense of joy felt at the finish. Athletes are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
Diverse field from over 40 nations
Of all the athletes from more than 50 countries who applied this year, the Swissman Crew will welcome to Ascona a lucky group of 250 participants, visiting from 41 nations. They are traveling from Nordic nations like Norway and Canada, but also from tropical
ones, like Brazil. Although the experience is what attracts most participants, we are intrigued by the potential of these elite athletes: the Swiss, Gabriel Hopf (Belfort Triathlon middle distance 2017: 10th / Murten Triathlon middle distance 2017: 3rd / Swissman Xtreme Triathlon 2017: 2nd / Aubonne Triathlon 2017: 1st); the Swede, Johan Hasselmark (Adventure Racing World Champs: 4th / Celtman 2014: 1st + overall time record holder); the German, Julia Nikolopoulos (5-time Swissman finisher); the Canadian Richele Frank (Haute Route Pyrenees 2017: 5th / Ironman Chattanooga 2016: 1st / Canadian Masters National Time Trial 2017: 1st); as well as Flora Colledge (England) and Cristina Cominardi (Italy).