While we were in Davos, Amy Wong (a jounralist with Swiss World Radio) covered the event .
You can watch her short film here.
Despite there not being a picture, Michael did actually finish, although it appears nobody was looking when he did. He’s quick like that!
It would be a shame if this was the real finish line for Bed and Sudip. They have shown here the talent that they have. Just £50 a month is enough to feed them, clothe them, house them and get the trianing they need to improve.
Three ultras and one marathon have been completed this weekend, and all very respectably. For Tim this was his first ultra, a nervous and daring thing to attempt and he did so well. Proper planning and preparation…..
It’s a sad day. Even though this team has been a virtual team, even before we all got here it felt like we knew each other well. We’ve had such a short time together and have made a wonderful bond. This is my favourite thing about ultras. It’s deep and lasting. This afternoon we will be sad to part, and remember forever our experiences here.
Bed and Sudip started early this morning with chick peas, rice, some fruit and tea. Sudip was in a buoyant mood, ‘I’m looking forward to the race’ he said cheerfully. Bed wasn’t in such a good mood. He’d had a bad dream – his father scolding him for running, that he won’t earn an income from it.
But races don’t wait, and off to the start we went. An entirely new experience for Bed and Sudip as they were squashed and squeezed in the bunch of front runners, a loud PA system with dance music, thousands of people milling around. All this and they kept focused on the job at hand, and after the first few kilometers they were third and fifth.
We next caught up with them at 39km and the leaders had spread out over the course. The big Swede was striding out in the lead in an incredible time, and still looking strong with the hard part of the race about to begin.
Bed was maybe 20 minutes off the lead, and had been battling with a stomach upset (the food? the water? who knows….). But it was still an impressive 2 hours and 50 minutes to that point. Sudip was 10 minutes behind that, struggling over the tarmac road. Both were still well in contention, and keeping up with the fast pace of the leaders.
Ramesh and I headed to the finish line to wait, anf the first runner we saw was the incredible Swede. Just over 5 hours 45 minutes – that’s two marathons in a row, both under 3 hours. Incredible. And the organizers were determined to get a good 5 minute interview before they even let him sit down!
Bed was our first runner to come in – cheering, waving and looking in trouble. His stomach had been causing him problems for the whole race it seems, and he was very disappointed with himself. I said well done and all he could reply was ‘not well done sir’. I thought he was going to cry.
Sudip was a little further behind – he crossed the line and his legs cramped up. He had had problems since the tarmac section at 39km. An 8km section rising 350m in altitude – it had tightened his legs so much that h had struggled on the hill.
They were a little over 7 hours, which was a surprise for us all. Still, with the problems they had, which e did expect at some point, they have done well. These two runners were both in the top flight and in very good times – these will be posted once the organizers confirm them.
Right now both Bed and Sudip are disappointed, they feel they could have run better, faster. They could. They do have the talent, maybe not yet the experience on tarmac and at racing Europeans, but the ability and determination is definitely there.
Tim is still running, we saw him at 39km after a little more than 4 hours and he was looking strong. Michael has finished his marathon over the Alps in 5 hours.
The race begins at 0800 Swiss time on Saturday.
We’ve got our race numbers, been welcomed by the race organizers, met many many friendly Swiss people who will be cheering for Bed and Sudip, I wouldn’t call it carbo-loading but our runners have eaten stacks of food,
There’s a very burly Scandinavian runner here, who is rather fast. He’s won this event for the last three years. But our runners are not too worried. Sudip says ‘I will do the best I can, I know that once the tarmac part is finished and we get into the hills I will be strong’.
Fingers crossed for our boys in Davos!
We’ve been in Switzerland for five days now, and race day is just a few hours away. I thought I’d share some of our favourite moments of this special week.
The views, the countryside, the animals, the climate (Sudip)
Finally meeting in the flesh Tim van der Veer, and enjoying how this group of people spread across the world have created such a brilliant team spirit. (Rob)
Finally meeting Rob in the flesh, and enjoying how this group of people spread across the world have created such a brilliant team spirit (Tim).
Spending three days exploring the race route, seeing a new country and area. We did a lot of hiking, trekking, exploring, a few adventures, seeing how the Swiss live. It’s a multidimensional action activity (Ramesh)
The dal baht (Sudip, I think he means the team spirit because well laugh and joke at the table….)
Swiss bananas (Sudip)
‘Ramesh Action’ finding a brand of meat here called ‘Action’ (Rob)
The natural beauty is wonderful, and I enjoy being here (Bed)
Exploring the route from Bergun to Chants as a team, laughing and joking together (Tim)
What can we say about Bed. Quieter than Sudip, but once he’s comfortable around you he’s a barrel of laughs. Joking, teasing, posing… it’s really hard to keep a straight face when taking his picture.
He’s a dedicated runner too – if he knows the person in front is close he speeds up, gets faster, then faster until he catches him, and then goes faster to get a good lead in front of them. He is quite possibly the most competitive person I know, though you’d never know it until he races.
At 14 years old he had to leave school and his village to escape the Maoists in Nepal. A hard start for a young man, and he really does have limited options in Nepal. These three months of training have really opened him up as a person. He’s happier, more comfortable, more confident, more outgoing. And he’s been so very grateful for the opportunity – ‘I feel this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will work hard to prove my gratitude and my worth’.
He’s also a dab hand at a chick pea curry, and makes a mean cup of masala tea.
Good luck on Saturday Bed, you’ve worked hard for this and deserve to do well.
Quiet, playful, and really really strong. Really strong. In three months Sudip has been transformed from the porter regularly lugging 90kg up to Everest Base Camp, to international mountain runner. He got into running to earn some money, but often he’d have to borrow the money to enter, then his winning was spent on paying the money back!
He’s humble and grateful about being here in Davos. I get the feeling he understands how fortunate he is, and that doesn’t want to let anyone down.
I asked him how he feel about being here and it’s an easy answer for him – ‘it’s a lifetime opportunity. My friends and family have told me to do my best, in honour and gratitude for the people who have made this possible. I hope to win, and I will do my best’. That’s not the usual answer I get from runners about to embark on a massive ultra……
He doesn’t miss his life in the village and portering. It’s as though with us he has come out of his shell and loved the chance to work at something he loves. He’s lapping up all the knowledge and training tips, and and really is using his brain here in Davos. Not keen to horse around the course as fast as possible, he’s been asking about the other runners, their records, how they run……
Sudip’s record this year is pretty good too – 1st in the Everest Ultra, 2nd in the Everest Marathon. All form a previously unknown village hand who had never had any training.
Let’s see what this talented and dedicated young man can do in Davos.
Tim is Mr Connected and an all round top banana. Whilst he lives in the Netherlands, he is regularly on the phone connecting Mexico with Hong Kong, and other far flung places. And he’s been connecting Nepal and me to Europe for this project.
An accomplished and fast marathon runner, Runners World columnist, this will be his first ultra. And his attitude is super – he wants to do well, but he knows it is more important to finish, And he can laugh his way through the worst of experiences. He once said he was drinking beer ‘to kill the brain cells that might remember that terrible run’.
This project also sets the scene for his book about why we run. It’s quite refreshing to hear about a non-technical book, instead looking at the stories people have. And he tells these stories well.
Tim won’t be anywhere near Bed or Sudip at Davos. But that doesn’t matter. He’s really brought this event to life, and will finish well. He is also the tallest person I have ever met – when standing next to him Bed and Sudip are about knee height.
Here’s to Tim, the tallest man ever.
After my long runs in preparation for the Swiss Alpine marathon with Project Davos I’ve gone from the sticky Genevan heat immediately into the famous runner’s ice bath. I plan on doing the same on Saturday night after negotiating possibly the most difficult terrain of my running life. Ice baths are an easy method to offset the risks inherent with longer taxing runs. It is thought that they help constrict blood vessels and decrease metabolic activity to reduce swelling and promote faster blood flow return on warming up again. In any case I always feel better afterwards despite the tricky entrance of the first minute or so (in tandem with a boat load of swearing). The discomfort associated with sitting in a bath full of ice water puts off some athletes. I admit that after my longer runs I’d rather reward myself with a nice hot shower and a creamy pint of Boddingtons – especially in the winter months. However, I have been running ‘serious injury-free’ for 18 months now and I reckon ice baths have really helped along with more sensible training schedules.
Here are my tips if you fancy joining me (not literally) in the ice bath ritual:
1: Don’t get too naked – keep your shorts on as it helps reduce the shock (especially for us blokes). I always put an old pair of trainers as well to reduce the foot and ankle pain.
2: Put the kettle on – whilst running the bath make a nice cuppa to enjoy during the ice dip.
3: The ‘ideal temperature’ is around to 12–15º range; remember that the temperature will rise steadily with your body heat.
4: Don’t go overboard on adding the ice – a few ice packs out of the freezer should do. It is thought that significantly colder baths offer no additional perks and can lead to cold-induced muscle damage or fainting. It might be a good idea therefore to have a someone knocking around to keep an eye on you!
5: 10 to 15 mins is an ideal time in order for the ice bath to serve its purpose.
6: Dry off but don’t go immediately into a warm shower or bath until around 30 mins after.
7: Pop a pair of recovery socks on for the rest of day.
Anyway, I’m off to Davos at the crack of dawn on Friday and will be joining up with the team in the afternoon. Looking forward to meeting everyone and learning a lot from their vast collective experience on the thing we all love so much – running. Hopefully we’ll all kick some alpine backside in our own ways come Saturday. If you’re of a betting disposition, I’d put a few quid on the Nepalese lads! Or better still, you could help them continue to develop their immense talent and access to competing in other ultra races by chipping in here 🙂