EIGER ULTRA TRAIL 2020 CANCELLED DUE COVID-19: THE EVENT WHICH WAS GOING TO BE CELEBRATED 17-19JUL IS POSTPONED TO 2021

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Eiger Ultra Trail 2020 is not going to be celebrated, after looking at all possibilities the organization has decided to postpone the event to next year. The Eiger and its north face are legend of mountaineering. The Eiger Ultra Trail with its 101km + 6700d and also having 3 other events, no less harsh and beautiful; was supposed to start in the Swiss town of Grindelwald this July, but will need to be postponed due the COVID-19. This even takes part of the Ultra Trail World tour 2020 and runners like Pau Capell had had the victory there like in 2018. Our team from carrerasdemontana.com was able to interview him there. Let’s have a look at the interview (in Spanish).

 

 

 

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EIGER ULTRA TRAIL 2020: THE EVENT TO BE POSTPONED TO JULY 2021.

 

The notorious Eiger stands at 3970m above Grindelwald and has been enthralling visitors to the valley for decades, most notably since 1858 when local Mountain Guides Christian Almer and Peter Bohren together with their guest Charles Barrington, reached the summit for the first time. The Eiger began attracting a wealth of aspiring mountaineers from all over Europe wishing to tackle its steep north face – known as the ‘last problem of the Alps’ in north face climbing terms. It was finally conquered in 1938 by Anderl Heckmair, Fritz Kasparek, Ludwig Vörg and Heinrich Harrer, in a battle waged over 4 days. Inspired by the myth of the Eiger, we launched the Eiger Ultra Trail in 2013.

With the race routes passing through Grosse Scheidegg, First, Faulhorn, Schynige Platte, Wengen, Männlichen, Kleine Scheidegg and the traverse along the base of the Eiger North Face the organization offers a truly spectacular alpine experience. With four routes on the weekend, the E101, a race of 101km and 6700m height difference is a mighty challenge to even the most seasoned of trail runners.

 

 

Together with the big whale, we do also have the E51 which can be also done in couples, E35 and E16, a compound of events that will allow the runner to enjoy the marvelous views of the Eiger trails. A team of trailrunningspain.com and carrerasdemontana.com was supposed to be there this year to show you the beautiful landscapes of the Swiss zone plus giving you all the details of these races as we did in 2018 with our colleague VladyTrail. Unfortunately, this will not be possible in 2020 due the COVID-19 outbreak which has force the organization to postpone the event to next year.

Let’s have a look at the official statement from the Eiger Ultra Trail organization:

HERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME TO RUN EIGER

We have to admit, it was a decision that really broke our heart. There will be no Eiger Ultra Trail in 2020. There will be no lights of the E101 runner beneath the Eiger North Face. During the past few weeks, we were still grasping at straws of hope. Our emotions were all over the place, ranging from “Nope, no way we’re going to have an event” to “Look, they’re starting to lift a few restrictions in some places!”. Now, however, viewing the situation with emotional distance and foresight, it appears impossible given the circumstances and the continuing worldwide travel restrictions for us to host an Eiger Ultra Trail with our international trail family while ensuring our quality and safety standards. At the same time, we cannot find conclusive answers to the questions (Facebook Post 14 April) about how our volunteers (often retired), our doctors, medical staff and alpine rescuers are doing personally and what we can expect from them in these difficult times.

The cancellation of any event is accompanied by so many emotions. The hard training, the time you were aiming for, the relatives and friends who wanted to cheer you on, the goal of reaching the finish line and being overwhelmed by joy and relief at having made it now seem to be all in vain or have to remain dreams for the time being. Perhaps it affects us even more deeply as an absolutely passionate organizational team that launched our non-profit event eight years ago. Countless hours of preparation, and now the great feeling of emptiness after the cancellation. Our attempt to carry out an “orderly cancellation” for everyone involved is our new focus, and then, in the future, we will pick ourselves up and start all over again for the coming years. And somewhere in the background sits a big, gaping hole in the event bank account. We founded the Running Grindelwald association more than eight years ago in order to organize the Eiger Ultra Trail and welcome the running world to our beautiful region each year. For many years now we have continued to develop and improve the event, exchanging ideas with the participants and taking responsibility for the race – even when thunderclouds gathered in the sky. One thing has always remained the same – our philosophy and values: passion, family, quality and risk management.

Contrary to the popular belief that organizing running events only requires a few days or weeks of work right around the race, we, like many other events, labour all year round. We set up a professional office a few years ago to better meet the demands and to equip ourselves for the future. We have two employees, whose combined hours total 90% of one full-time position, and we have obligatory mandates in place for key areas of responsibility. Everything we do is always accomplished with the aim of developing ourselves further, delivering a top-quality experience, and greeting the runners safely and with smiling faces back at the finish line. The logistical implementation of the Eiger Ultra Trail is challenging and must be precisely coordinated with numerous external and local partners. We have signed multi-year binding contracts with order deadlines dated six to ten months before the starting gun goes off. Some of the items have already arrived – emblazoned with the year 2020, of course. Promotion and planning costs, advance payments for infrastructure, rental costs, insurance, association contributions, administrative fees, and payments for social contributions have to be paid all year long.

With an unexpected ban on events due to a virus, we are now facing a hitherto unimaginable situation. It calls for solidarity with fellow human beings and – in our case – with runners and events. Mutual solidarity is a valid path in our eyes. Our suppliers, partners and sponsors, Grindelwald Tourism, and the community of Grindelwald (all of whom have been severely affected themselves by this situation), have demonstrated their solidarity and extended concessions to us. This means that even though the competition rules do not provide for a refund in case of cancellation, we can offer you the following two options for your 2020 registration:

  • Refund of 60% of your entry fee
  • Donate your entry fee to Eiger Ultra Trail

Your donation will help to ensure the future of your Eiger Ultra Trail and give us the financial support we need to keep it going. We are non-profit – and we like it. All runners who were on the starting list at the time of the cancellation have a guaranteed starting place in 2021 for the same distance chosen in 2020 – provided that the entry fee is paid as usual in October 2020. Additional information will be sent out in September.

The event t-shirts and sweatshirts you ordered at registration will be shipped to you free of charge from the beginning of June so that a piece of the “Eiger” can accompany you on your training runs. If you wish, you can also pick up your Eiger clothing items from the first of June onward at the Backdoor trail running shop in Grindelwald or at a possible substitute event in Grindelwald.

Please let us know which option you want to choose by clicking on the corresponding link in your e-mail you received. If we do not hear back from you by Sunday, 31 May 2020, we will assume that you would like to donate your entry fee. The right to a refund and the 2021 starting place guarantee will expire after this date. Thank you. The Exchange Platform will be inactive until 1 December.

We will inform you via our social media channels if and how an alternative event (Trail Happening) may/can take place on a small scale from 17 to 19 July. We are already looking forward to the Eiger Ultra Trail from 16 to 18 July 2021. Thank you very much for your understanding and your kind gesture during this difficult time. Of course we are here for you if you have any questions – info@eigerultratrail.ch.

Please stay healthy! We look forward to welcoming you in Grindelwald as soon as possible.

On behalf of the founding team,
Marcel Marti, Daniela Roth, Werner Marti, Sabine Luggen, Marc Blanc & Ralph Näf

 

Hope to see you next year in Eiger Ultra Trail 2021

 

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MORE ON SKIMO, TRAIL RUNNING AND MOUNTAIN GEAR

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Info by Abel de Frutos for Trailrunningspain