On Saturday morning at 5 am, 239 athletes set off for their SWISSMAN adventure at the Brissago Islands. After a 3.8 km swim into the sunrise of a beautiful warm and sunny day, the athletes left Ascona for a 180km bike course over the three alpine passes Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel. The views in the mountains were spectacular and the panorama absolutely amazing!
Between 12:18 and 18:15 233 athletes exchanged their bikes for their running shoes in Brienz. It became clear soon, that the first 30 km of the running course with its many ups and downs along the turquoise blue lake of Brienz and further on towards Grindelwald would be really tough in this warm summer weather! However, the breathtaking sight of the mountain massive of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau definitely made up for the effort it took the athletes to reach the check-point in Grindelwald. The final part of the SWISSMAN, climbing from Grindelwald up to Kleine Scheidegg, is just extreme! Once more, it has been proven that it is absolutely essential for the athletes to be in company of their supporter.
Andreas Wolpert from Germany was the first athlete to be welcomed at Kleine Scheidegg. He arrived at 16:49 after 11 hours and 49 minutes of Swissman experience. And this despite a momentous fall at the beginning of the run section where he twisted his ankle and tore his ligaments. Twenty-one minutes after Andreas, the two Swiss athletes Mike Schifferle and Rafael Wyss arrived within a minute. The first woman to reach Kleine Scheidegg was Barbara Bracher (SUI) at 18:20 after 13 hours and 20 minutes. Only ten men have finished before her. Julia Nikolopoulos and Alexandra Mitschke, both from Germany followed at 18:35 and 20:03.
Many athletes arrived in the dark and the sound of the cowbells to welcome and celebrate each athlete and their supporter at Kleine Scheidegg could be heard until 00:50, when the last team arrived safe and happy. Out of 239 athletes who started the adventure at the Brissago islands, 217 finished at Kleine Scheidegg. Twenty-five of them were women. They all have their own individual and adventurous SWISSMAN story to tell. They all reached their limits. And they all enjoyed a wonderful journey through Switzerland. Whether they arrived early or late doesn’t matter. To have been a part of the SWISSMAN is what makes the difference.
Here the list of all the SWISSMAN 2014 Finishers with their time of arrival at Kleine Scheidegg.