SHARE
COPY LINK

SPORT

IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

Hundreds of runners braved a lung-busting ascent into the Alps in Switzerland's Glacier 3000 Run on Saturday, albeit on a shortened course due to summer heatwaves melting the ice.

Runners on the last kilometres of a shortened version of Switzerland's Glacier 3000 run above Les Diablerets
Runners on the last kilometres of a shortened version of Switzerland's Glacier 3000 run above Les Diablerets on August 6, 2022. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The event’s 14th edition was back without limitations after being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and run in 2021 with restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The race is normally run over 26.2 kilometres but was contested on a slightly modified 25.2km course this year due to the glacier melting, with the last pass over its surface shortened.

Runners make their way under a ski lift  on the glacier run in Switzerland

Runners make their way under a ski lift during the last kilometres of the Glacier 3000 run. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

“The accelerated melting of the top layer of the glacier has created a camber and a soft layer which the runner sinks into,” said race director Oliver Hermann.

“Rather than intervening to flatten the track, we preferred to deviate the course.”

Runners on last stretch of Switzerland's glacier run

On the final stretch of this year’s shortened course. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

The finish line is 1,886 metres higher than the start, at nearly 3,000 metres up in the mountains by the Scex Rouge peak.

READ ALSO: Heatwaves close off classic Swiss and Italian Alpine hiking routes

The route begins in the jet-set ski resort town of Gstaad, at 1,050 metres above sea level.

It passes through forests, green mountain pastures before heading into rocky lunar-like landscapes and taking in the Tsanfleuron Glacier.

The course follows the Saane river upstream for 15 km before climbing up 1,800 metres over the remaining 10 km to the finish line — at an altitude of 2,936 metres.

A couple hold their hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets

A couple hold hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets, where the Glacier 3000 Run took place on August 6th. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

Some 311 men and 98 women completed the individual course, while 50 two-person teams also took part.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

The first man to finish was Kenyan competitor Geoffrey Ndungu in two hours and 17 minutes. He had finished in second place last year.

He was followed by compatriot Abraham Ebenyo Ekwam in 2:21 and then Switzerland’s Jonathan Schmid in 2:23.

Victoria Kreuzer was the first woman to finish, in 2:46, ahead of Nicole Schindler and Pascale Rebsamen — a Swiss clean sweep.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

ENVIRONMENT

‘Compostable coffee balls’: Swiss retailer Migros to take on Nespresso

Switzerland's biggest retailer, Migros, launched a new coffee machine invention on Tuesday -- fully compostable coffee balls which it hopes will shake up the global market and take on Nespresso's global dominance.

'Compostable coffee balls': Swiss retailer Migros to take on Nespresso

The Migros supermarket chain hopes its innovation will cash in on consumers’ environmental concerns by eliminating the aluminium and plastic
waste of regular coffee capsules.

Rather than capsules, the new pods are balls of compressed coffee covered with a thin film made from algae.

With its new system, which took five years to develop, Migros is parking its tanks on the lawns of its Swiss compatriot Nestle, the giant in the coffee
pod sector with its Nespresso brand.

The machines and coffee balls went on sale in Switzerland and France from Tuesday, but interest in other countries is “already huge”, chief executive Fabrice Zumbrunnen said at the launch in Zurich, eyeing a wider rollout.

There are other compostable coffee pods on the market but Migros believes that this is the first system to use biodegradable balls.

The balls have to be used in the Migros CoffeeB system and are not compatible with other coffee machines.

Switzerland’s largest employer said the new development was in response to the growing environmental consciousness of consumers, saying that some 63 billion coffee capsules are sold each year around the world, generating around 100,000 tonnes of waste.

Migros is currently a small player in the market.
According to market researchers Euromonitor International, the market share of its Cafe Royal brand was limited to 0.3 percent in western Europe in 2021, compared to 12.1 percent for Nespresso alone, while Nestle also owns the Nescafe and Dolce Gusto labels.

But Migros is hoping its compostable coffee system will gain it some market share.

It points out that the coffee beans used to make the biodegradable balls are sourced from sustainable crops, with fair trade and organic certification.

The cases the balls come in look like egg cartons and are made of recyclable materials. The coffee machines themselves are largely made from
recycled materials, Migros said.

SHOW COMMENTS