Skirting Switzerland!

Skirting Switzerland!

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i'm just done with breakfast and  i'm walking over to italy now is   what i'm doing. Do you see Italy? then  i'll start running across Switzerland.   Where is the border? okay so i'm gonna say  that this spot is where switzerland starts   and there's this gate that i guess they  can lock this is how you lock switzerland so i'm gonna go through this gate and start  running across switzerland the time is 7 31.   and here we go. You may be wondering how all  this started so let's go back to the beginning.   Hi everyone my name is Brian Stark, also known  as the States Runner. 23 years ago i ran across   the entire US on a collection of trails and it  seemed like it was time to do something like that   again. This will be much shorter but i am here  in Switzerland now where I teach at a boarding   school and tomorrow i'm going to head out and  start to run theTtrans Swiss Trail which is a   national route across switzerland it's about 550  kilometers or 350 miles i'm going to run alone,   self-supported and i've got a map with my route.  This map shows you all of switzerland and up here,  

for reference, is zurich where most of the  flights go in and out of there's also geneva   down here which is on the border with france and  Switzerland. I'm going to run across diagonally   so starting in the southeast i'm going to start  down at the border with italy and switzerland   down here in Chiasso. The trail actually  officially starts in Mendricio so i'm going to   go a little bit further south to get to the actual  border and then i'm going to go north. There's two  

places where the trail crosses water and i don't  know how but i'm hoping there's a boat. i'm gonna   work my way up on this trail towards what i call  Lake Lucerne it's got a local name of course but   the town of lucerne is more familiar to everyone i  hug the shore of that lake and then go across the   middle of the country which i'm not really sure  about somewhere in there into the town of Bern.   It's gonna be a big day into Bern. Most days are  around 50 kilometers, that day is, i believe,   60km. and then lake murat i'm going to go around  the shore of that and then there's the second  

body of water which is Neuchatel and i believe  there's a ferry that will take me across that   on the route. Finally, i'll end up in the north  at the border here with France. Porrentruy   is the destination, but I will go a little further  than the trail end to the actual border and finish   there (in Boncourt). My goal is that this will  take me 12 days maybe even 11 if i go about   50 kilometers a day. i'll be staying in hotels  each night. i've got a pack that i'm wearing and  

just to be a little more comfortable i'm going to  actually run in a skirt i haven't done that before   but it seemed like the right thing to do so i'll  try that out too. see you out the trail. hello   pre-race meal , this thing is huge on tuesday first morning of the run and i'm  ready to go down to breakfast in my new outfit   and I'm probably going to get a lot of looks. I'm  having those second thoughts that come around the   start of these things: what if my body doesn't  hold up, will people laugh at me, what if they   say something in italian that i don't understand  which is very likely? all right let's go run   across switzerland. I've got my pack on, got my  skirt on, got my gators on, got my sunscreen on,   got my chafing body glide on,  my hat, chapstick, mustache wax.

let's do it (turn off the lights) so i was pretty nervous for my first public  appearance in this outfit with my skirt. i   came down the steps and around the corner to the  desk and the clerk wasn't there. i walked into the   lobby and it was empty. okay i just remembered  the restaurant is outside and next door. there   was another couple in the dining room but neither  they nor the server really paid me any attention. so i just got stopped by the immigration.  he didn't like me filming the lock   of switzerland. all right, welcome to mendricio  

and the start of the trans swiss trail. i'm at the  mendricio train station on tuesday july 13 2021.   now we're starting at 8:54 official time  start of the trans swiss trail headed   northwest towards porrentruy in 11 days,  inshallah. this is my first section of pedestrian   trail on trans swiss trail. I just abruptly  left the road which i was fine with because  

you can tell Shel Silverstein i found Where the  Sidewalk Ends - lots of traffic but this is nice,   quiet , clean air, a little  overgrown, that's okay.   on the first real climb of the trip it's  about 300 meters plus up on this road,   no traffic. it's nice it's  been drizzling a little.   soaked through my shirt and the felt hat is  hot but other than that it's still cloudy   and that's a good thing. i just translated the  sign that says you're welcome no goes over the   fence. it's got a little fence around it I really  want to stand inside it but i'm going to respect  

this chestnut tree who is oh my god how many  years old do you think this thing is? look, it's   got a cable holding up this end. It has got trees  growing out of it. it's still alive a little bit.   hang in there chestnut tree. massive. so i made  it to the lake i'm on the pier there's no boat   there's no ticket booth so that's  curious and i think there's a boat   at 12 44 which is in a half hour and it's a  six minute ride across the lake to Morcote   so hopefully that's right and it was  right because the boat came right on time.

after a windy six-minute ride i  was on the other side of the lake   even more hot today. I had  a two scoop chocolate gelato   which really hit the spot and i need to go  up 500 meters. I'm already kind of tired. here we go um feel the burn wait, I'm not in  Bern, that's about a week away. He's still climbing? Inconceivable! oh my  god. While he's off running these stairs   let's take a look at the gear for this trip.  gear time! i've got my gear and food and water   for four days i have three more supply  boxes waiting for me at hotels up the trail   including a new pair of shoes halfway up  the route. the route is 560 kilometers these  

shoes have about 150 kilometers on them or so  they're okay for the first hundred miles. I've   got my running outfit. I'm wearing a Lululemon  skirt a traditional swiss shirt and a felt hat,   sunglasses, gps watch aftershocks bone conduction  headphones, slippers. i'm staying in hotels and   in switzerland they don't like you walking around  barefoot inside. I've got a couple of masks a   headlamp by fenix. I've got a hammer t-shirt and  shorts in case i want to wear something casual in  

the hotel. I have got some hammer nutrition  products, gels, electrolyte endurolights,   race caps and anti-fatigue pills also perpetuum  and recover right i've got some thin mittens   some patagonia sleeves ear buffs and a rain  proof jacket my black diamond trekking poles   water bottle sunscreen some body glide and stuff  sacks it all fits into a osprey manta 28 pack with   a two liter hydration bladder - 16 pounds ( 7kg)  with food and water. and let's talk about that   skirt for a second. i'm always looking for ways  to be more comfortable when running. i've always   liked baggy shorts. clothing companies that make  running skirts are also starting to make men's   running kilts and guess what? they're all sold  out there's not really a difference between a kilt   and a skirt and there's no reason men can't wear  skirts anyway - it's just about being comfortable   so while i was a bit self-conscious i decided  just to put on my big boy skirt and try it out. so after gollum's wild ride on the black stair  I finally finished that and super happy for my   efforts because now paradiso is only three  hours 45 minutes so i knocked out two and a   half hours of climbing in only about i don't  know 40 minutes not to dally too long but   it's a nice view worth taking in.

this lovely courtyard. Paradiso. after arriving in bellinzona i got cleaned up  and decided to check out the local surroundings   including this 13th century castle grande  which is well preserved and has more stairs this is a bear pit dug to trap bears good morning it's the fourth morning about 805  a.m just left Anzonico. I stayed in a tiny little   inn with good food and nice people. I was a  little cold last night i'm only at a thousand   meters now or 3000 feet and i'm headed up to  Gottard Pass. it's the highest point on the   Trans Swiss Trail it's over 2000 meters. we've  got a good climb this morning -1000 meters up   i just looked at the weather forecast and  there's a storm coming to gottard pass   this morning between 9 and 12. and the host just  now told me that it was snowing there yesterday  

and he didn't know if the pass was open so that's  not good so it'll take me a while to get there i   should get there after the storm blows over as  long as the forecast is right and then hopefully   it's passable and i don't know what to do if it's  not i don't know how to get around the pass major   public transportation detour but i don't know  how that affects the record-setting run i guess   it would disqualify me to do that or wait  it out and factor that in but then i get all   these reservations at hotels on the route so that  also messes things up so i don't know we'll see right now it's a nice day here going uphill can't resist - yeah - nailed it at the top of a hill i mean what  kind of diabolical kid does that? this is gottard pass 2000 meters I want to keep moving because i don't want to  get rained on or snowed on or stuck or cold this is a swiss armed forces training area i  think they go up the rock and do a training   course on the rock which is pretty crazy. Here is  a slot canyon with a river going through it i'm   leaving Andermatt headed down off the  alps essentially today about 1400 meters   it's still pretty cold and this is the trail.  it's got bars across it which makes it look   like you're not supposed to go there but the  trail sign says turn right and when i turn right   there's this though it doesn't look  like a trail but you pull on it and there's a door this is how you get down there i guess pretty posh and the train tracks going into the tunnel what is this place i'm gonna use my fenix  headlamp to check out this little room oh light comes on automatically but i can still use it here - no way oh up all right this is a rock slide system check out  the torque that this thing can take to unwind   when pressure goes against it on all these  cables and the extra cable that can be released   when this giant godzilla net gets pounded by some  big old boulders up here just massive love it this is the public restroom on the trail soap warm water cold water toilet flusher paper  towel toilet paper urinal baby changer super clean okay i don't know so 1 700 meters i like running through cities but i also like  the dirt paths in the countryside and woods,   what i especially love is the  transition from one to the other.   one minute i'm running past  fancy shops and busy street life and then just a few minutes later i'm alone  in a wheat field headed into a group of trees.   it feels like i'm the only one  who has the key to this escape.   when i enter a city on foot i feel like a  visitor coming in to see what's happening   and when i quietly leave i feel  like i'm the only one who knows how day 10 in Murton heading over to  Neuchatel, it's a pretty little lake town   about a 40km day today and then  maybe an 80k and wrap this thing up.

beautiful old structures let's take a look what's this uh okay that doesn't look good. she said  i could go. the lady at the hotel said   i could go all around i just want to know  where to go now because the lake is closed   i just remember what she said. she said  that there are barricades but that you   can just go around them and the trail's  fine so that's what i'm gonna do shh so here's the thing i went around the barricade  and the path was lovely for 10 meters and then it   was flooded and there were two more barricades and  i think it's going to be a constant jumping over   fences and avoiding lots of splashing like this  so i'm on the road which parallels the lake shore.  

i'm just 30 meters away and will work my way  around the lake. The receptionist did not know   what she's talking about she said that she rides  her bike on the path all the time and it's fine   but there are barricades but they just go  under them and there's no problem so here's   the barricade again there's fish swimming minnows  in the lake on the trail actually before you   get to the trail a second barricade and a third  barricade with the scissorjacks that are actually   chain locked to the fence so that you can't get  over them and then here's the trail with mud   and water and i'm sorry, no. she's not she's not  - that's not right it's not fine. so yeah i'm just   running the road next to this trail right now oh  i hate wrong directions just really chaps my ass. it's just after five o'clock on thursday  july 22nd maybe the next to last day. i'm   past Neuchatel. i took a bus and a train to  get around the lake instead of taking the   ferry which is the route. The ferry  is closed because of the flood and  

from the train station i ran down to the  pier where the ferry would have let me off   to officially begin from the lake again  and proceeded to run straight up the hill,   climbing from 300 meters up to now i'm at  a thousand. cloudy this afternoon which   i love because i was in the sun after leaving  Neuchatel crossing fields which would have been   baking hot. i'll keep this brief because i need to  shower and eat. today was 41 miles (62km). i'm in   Porrentruy on day 11. i ran here from St. Iminier  this morning i left at 6 30 am and i got to town   here at 8 o'clock p.m just checked into my  hotel and ditched my weight from my pack and  

then ran to the train station which is the end  the Trans Swiss Trail. I got there at 7 56 p.m.   tomorrow morning i'll get up and run 10k  to Boncourt, which is at the border but i'm   feeling pretty good. it was quick - 11 days. I met  some very nice people, saw some amazing scenery,   i was really happy with how my body held up. i  haven't run 30 plus mile days back to back without  

a lot of pain ever so 49 years old and i'm  really happy with that. yeah this is a good trip   it's 8 15 in the morning on saturday july 24  2021 i'm standing at the swiss french border   and yeah, I made it from  chiasso to here (Boncourt). It's pretty exciting. I had rain  this morning. it was a nine mile run   from Porrentruy to here. The early morning rain  felt good. It was the first rain of the trip  

and now i need to try to catch the train  to get back so yay - across Switzerland!

2021-08-05 19:07

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