Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Bubble: Zurich Marathon To The Extreme!

Coincidental to our first holiday in Europe, Zurich Marathon was celebrating its 10th edition on April 22.  Zurich Marathon is the largest marathon in Switzerland since 2003 and the race starts and finishes at Mythenquai, the 'Pearl of Lake Zurich'.  The major parts of the running route goes by the scenic Lake Zurich and our two marathon maniacs, lo kong and Uncle Chew are already on the sign-up list.  The race starts at 8.30am and all registrants must cross the finish line by 2.00pm to qualify for the finisher T'shirt and medal.

Scenic Lake Zurich with snow-capped mountains ... 
you can even sense the fresh alpine air from this pic!

It may be spring time in Zurich but it is certainly not the best time to visit. There was a lot of rain albeit a little less than where we had arrived from ... London.  The weather intermittently changes from sunny to cloudy to rain throughout the day.  Heck, it was really difficult to get the best out of our outings on top of trying to get past the shock over price tags from even the simplest noodle in a cup.  Gosh, we could have the same brand for RM6.00 in Malaysia compared to their CHF6.00!  If you don't already know, Zurich has just recently overtaken Tokyo as the most expensive city in the world in 2012!

With strong winds, rain and cold, it was an extremely tough experience not only for both our marathon maniacs but even the rest of the 7000 plus runners who had set off from the 'Pearl of Lake Zurich' at 8.30am.  While all the enthusiastic runners had to contend with an additional hailstorms that struck halfway into the race, I was struggling with an equally demanding conditions at the start/finish line.  Lo kong's brand new umbrella was instantly blown inside out several times when the strong winds strike and whatever dust left on my camera from Paris' sandstorms was either blown off by the wind or cleansed by the rain.  Quivering legs, trembling hands and numbed fingers prevented the much needed quick reflexes to protect my camera.  Surprisingly, supporters from as young as the ones in strollers to the white-haired senior citizens still came out in droves.

I did managed to hide away from the challenging weather for almost an hour under a huge food tent that was already jam-packed with runners and supporters seeking shelter, hot drinks and food.  The smell of grilling bratwursts was so tempting but sadly, I had to turn my temptation off when I glimpsed the price tag.  Never mind, I know I can survive without the hot coffee and sausages!

With such extreme cold, I must admit I had doubted lo kong's ability to finish the race.  It was already past 5 hours, so I began eyeing the sweeper buses that passed by to check if lo kong or Uncle Chew were on board.   Not helping much is the sight of volunteers dismantling the barriers and banners along the route to the finish.  I had not been using my zoom lens for this trip but thankfully, my declining myopia still managed to catch a tiny speck of yellow in the far distant shortly after (lo kong and Uncle Chew were wearing their marathon maniac singlet).  Slowly, it became apparent that lo kong was still in the running ... but will he manage to cross the finish line within the qualifying time of 5 hours half?

Yes, he did!  Lo kong finished the 10th Zurich Marathon within 5:13:36 hours.  As I had withheld my urges to the loo since we left the hotel in the morning, a much needed pee that took too long to empty cut short my wait for Uncle Chew who finished at 5:35:10 hours.  Anyhow, congratulations to our two marathon maniacs!!

Check out this small compilation of photos taken at one of the most well-organized marathon I've ever had the privilege to the attend.

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