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!