Today the Swissman Xtreme Triathlon took place for the seventh time. And again it was confirmed: No Swissman is like the other. With changing weather conditions, 218 athletes from around 40 nations tackled 5500 meters of altitude difference and exceptionally only 223 kilometers. The triathlon was dominated by the Swiss Mathias Nüesch and the Englishwoman Flora Colledge, who reached the finish at Kleine Scheidegg today for the second time in a row as the first woman.
Weather conditions demand creativity
Dark clouds pulled over the Bagno Publico in Ascona the evening before the seventh Swissman Xtreme Triathlon. Although the forecast improved during the night, the race control decided to shorten the swim course due to the uncertain weather conditions. Thus, after the punctual ringing of the traditional start bells at 5 o’clock in the morning, the athletes swam only 1 km instead of the usual 3.8 km. What guaranteed a safe swimming experience for the athletes, caused hectic moments for supporters and crew. But the decision proved to be the right one. About half an hour after the last athlete had left the water, the thunderclouds came up again. The weather remained changeable. Accompanied by wind, clouds, rain and rainbows, the athletes covered the rest of the challenging distance, which led them from the palm trees in Ticino over three Alpine passes into the Bernese Oberland to the eternal ice of the Jungfrau Region.
Athlete and supporter on the final climb up to the Kleine Scheidegg at over 2000m a.s.l. ©Photo: Alessandro Annunziata
Fresh and familiar faces among the first men and women
The Swiss Mathias Nüesch and Stefan Graf had a head-to-head race on the entire track, with Nüesch reaching the finish line at 16:15 pm, Graf following with only two minutes difference at 16:17 pm. As third Lorenz Erland Linde from Norway crossed the finish line. While the Swissman was a premiere for Nüesch and Graf, Linde took part for the second time in 2019.
For Flora Colledge, her second Swissman ran at least as well as her first: At 5:34 pm, the Englishwoman was the first woman to reach the finish line on Kleine Scheidegg, for the second time in a row. At 6:22 pm the meanwhile seven-time Swissman finisher Julia Nikolopoulos from Germany followed, her closely on the heels the Dutchwoman Heleen de Hooge, who crossed the finish line at 6:25 pm.
Helveticman and Swissultra as guests at the Swissman
With Peter Ackermann and Daniel Meier, initiators of two further Swiss extreme and ultra competitions, the Helveticman and the Swissulra, took part this year. For both the participation was a successful premiere, they reached Kleine Scheidegg at 18:49 and 21:29 respectively.
Swissman, Helveticman and Swissultra are three competitions with different focuses, held at different locations throughout Switzerland and a common denominator: love to the extreme.