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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Morat-Fribourg 2013

Today, Switzerland held the 80th race from Morat to Fribourg. The race commemorates one of two cornerstone battles the Swiss Confederation won in the 15th century against the powers of the time, asserting Swiss independence from feudal taxation. Swiss commoners would remain free citizens unlike the subjects of surrounding countries who would struggle another 200 years to gain this privilege. I have written about the battle here.

In recent years, the race has been diversified into a multitude of events of varying distances and challenges. But the main event remains the course from Morat to Fribourg, roughly spanning the length of a half-marathon. The course leads the runners through beautiful countryside with distant view of the alps on small roads closed for traffic.

I remember three uphill grades of note. The last ascent had least grade, but was the longest and most taxing, passing through the medieval gates of the city of Fribourg and snaking up to the finish line in the city's heart. Make no mistake, the last half-mile was grueling. Plenty participants sickened at the finish.

Although the last leg has been rerouted since my day, the challenge remains. Regardless, as long as the runner households with strength, the course constitutes an enjoyable, memorable morning.

According to datasport.com, this year's winners are:
Ladies:
Martina Strähl (1:03.02.2),
Chelangat Sang (1:03.27.2), and
Aline Camboulives (1:03.47.3)

Gentlemen:
Benart Bett (53.32.8),
 Shadrack Kimauyo (54.08.2), and
Joel Mwangi (54.15.6)

As in years before, Kenyans have been strong contenders. Shadrack and Chelangat represented Kenya. The world's best long distance runners seem to hail from the cradle of mankind. Congratulations!

 

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