The flat, gentle terrain of Oundle riverside runs definitely does not prepare you for
the ascents on offer in the Alps, and, upon reflection, I should have known better before coming up with the insane idea of running
one hundred miles across three countries in the span of a week.
Luckily, Jimmy and Izzy were just as crazy as I was, and so we headed
off to Courmayeur with absolutely no idea what we had got ourselves into.
Shattered from our 6am flight the day before, we started off with a lung-busting climb up to the Tête de la Tronche.
Not even halfway up, the sun decided to hit our backs with a fury; water-, foodand sleep-deprived,
along with 1400m of ascent to go, having ‘one foot in the grave’ was precisely how we felt.
We kept on climbing for what felt like an eternity – there were moments when we thought the top was in sight,
but were immediately hit with disappointment once realising that it was just another ridge.
We kept our heads down and pushed on, and finally reached the mountain hut after dragging our aching bodies up for a very long time.
After several attempts at communication with a combination
of our non-existent Italian and hand signals, we were welcomed into the refuge,
only to find out that a token two minutes’ worth of freezing water was what they called a ‘shower’,
and a rundown shed with narrow mattresses side by side was what they called a ‘room’. It was a new level of coziness, so they say.
We made another discovery the next morning – drinking coffee in a cereal bowl, the French way.
Buzzing with caffeine and adrenaline, we handled the (relatively) flat section of the course with ease, until another monstrous mountain stood before our eyes.
We plodded on trying to maintain a semblance of poise and focus, determined not to be passed by a group of elderly yet sprightly Europeans in their professional Salomon kit.
The ascent up Grand col Ferret was brutal, but every turn revealed a stunning new vista, which diverted my mind from thinking about my horrible blisters and made the pain a bit more tolerable.
Our arrival at La Fouly signalled our official entrance to Switzerland: of course, we had to treat ourselves to a well-deserved rösti,
and I managed to surprise myself with the amount of food I was able to devour.
Still feeling depleted from all these epic climbs, a rest day in Champex Lac came at the right time.
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