Written by Majell Backhausen

Races becoming know by their acronyms, are also becoming in demand events to attend.

Let me give you insight to one of Switzerland’s most well know, four letter events- TVSB

maj1

The main event has stout characteristics, with 111km and 8,400m of vertical gain- aptly named X-Alpine. Topping out at Orny with 2826m and traversing through historical locations such as Grand Col St Bernard.

And like most enthusiastic and committed organisations, they hold 4 other, events on the same weekend. Allowing people of all ages and ability levels to experience trail running, Swiss style.

Traversèe: 61km with 4000m elv. gain

Liddes-Verbier: 29km with 2500m elv. gain

X-Direct: 6km with 650m elv. gain

Discovery Trail: The Sunday morning event for kids aged 4-14 y.o.

Verbier and its surrounding regions including Pays du St-Bernard (Yes, its symbols is the St-Bernard dog) are investing a lot of time an effort, into its Summer season offerings.

Is it working? Based on a successful 8th edition of TVSB. Its certainly on the right track or trail, I should say.

maj2

Switzerland is very… beautiful, but it is a very clean beautiful. Although I am an Australian, I can tell when I enter Switzerland, it has a special look and feel to it.

Its orderly, chalets are uniform, its mountains and gardens are beautiful- Just like Toblerone.

Except when a man, asks you to lowering yourself, face first down a damn wall from 100m high. At this point, I started to question the straight Swiss rationale. But it was legitimately safe and fun.

There are different Valleys within Valais (south west pocket of Switzerland). They all produce a different cheese, are home to different fighting cows and have different, yet still beautiful views, of the same mountains. Each valley is home to different mountain huts, housing mountaineers, day hikers and guardians all summer long.

The mountain huts hold a different view of the mountains, which can only be described as utterly magnificent.

Visiting the Valais Region for the TVSB event, allowed myself and PIC Lucy, to experience some of the summers best activities.

Probably not ideal for event preparation, but for experiencing the region, meeting the locals and getting an understanding of the history, they are all, must do’s.

Jumping off a mountain from 2000m high, with a paragliding wing and a large man strapped to my back, was a little nerve racking. Until he humbly mentioned, that he is 3 times, Swiss National Champion in Paragliding. Its the middle ground between skydiving and base jumping. My advice is to continually acknowledging that you feel fine and would like to go faster and be in control of the steering, from time to time. That way, your in for one incredible ride.

Not partaking in the TVSB 111km event, was due to the upcoming Skyrunning World Championships. Being 2 weeks away, it just wouldn't allow adequate recovery for the main event of the year.

maj3

TVSB statistics are very similar to The Skyrunning World Championships, this is a little indication, that TVSB is a serious mountain race.

Allowing a swift transition to the 29km event, participation in one of the TVSB events was still on the cards. I didn't want to miss the energy, that was building for the weekend ahead.

That week, we met Jules-Henri Gabioud, I was told he has won the Tor Des Geants… instant man crush. Then he proved to be one of the nicest people in the sport. We hiked up to l’A Neuve Cabane, for homemade rossti, made by his mother, with a view of Mt Dolent, which is home to the borders of Switzerland, France and Italy.

Jules went on to win the TVSB 111km X Alpine event. A BOSS!

There was no end to experiencing this region in its full light.

Going a step further to experiencing the mountain hut life at 3030m, was at the Valsorey Hut. Made even more fun, by not mentioning the small detail of being vegetarian, until after the tray of meat for dinner, was place on the table.

Staying in the Grand Col St Bernard Hospice was eye opening for two main reasons. One building dates back to over thousand years old and walking through it, makes you feel and realise, that 1000 years is a long time! Secondly, it is along the Via Francigena Pilgrimage, walked by many, which goes from Canterbury (UK) to Rome (Italy). Approximately 1700km… That is an Ultra!

Missing the 111km event, meant missing some of its great trails on race day. So It was planned to run on the TVSB course from the St Bernard Hospice to the town of La Fouly. A small climb over the snow covered pass and a large decent to town.

It was just one of those unforgettable days on the trail.

But Its not all running, when there is an event on the weekend, so we were matched up with one most enthusiastic e-Bike guides on the Mountains. Taking breaks for traditional herbal liquor and hearing the truth behind Swiss art, fighting cows and why Verbier is a place to ‘recharge, relax and become alive, again’.

The 29km event, although shorter, still packed the required punch for mountain running. With 2500m of elevation and organised with Swiss like military precision. It was what you hope for when you run, in this part of the world.

Although the 29km event is not a race. The organisation, hold this event to encourage participant to enter with no, ‘race’ like pressure. A way to encourage.

‘The ranking is not what matters most, which is exactly the philosophy we like’- Matt Girard, TVSB

With this philosophy, trail running will always be inclusive, welcoming and encouraging.

Growing in a way, that will largely ensure longevity for the sport.

I have repeated a number of adjectives in this article, mainly, beautiful, to try describe Switzerland.

But this word does not apply to Raclette. This stuff, is not conducive to a good night sleep, despite how enjoyable it is to eat and the laugh it creates for tourists, at the dinner table.

Trail Verbier St-Bernard, is on again in 2017, July 7-8-9th.

Also be aware, that when a Swiss local, describes a run as ‘Flat’, that immediately translates to very hilly with good views. There is no exception to this rule.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

Great Glen Ultra Report

Great Glen Ultra Report

Written by John Kynaston - https://johnkynaston.com After the Hardmoors 160 at the end of April I have entered 3 more ultra-races for 2016 and all of them will be new races to...

Read more

Beacons Ultra, Wales | Force 12 Events

Beacons Ultra, Wales | Force 12 Events

Written by Stephen Cousins - http://filmmyrun.com There was a time when I was an ultra virgin, and it really wasn’t all that long ago. Back in April 2014 I had just completed...

Read more

Dorset CTS Ultra

Dorset CTS Ultra

Written by Nick Grahame Dorset Ultra was the third Ultra race I've entered, having got bitten by the bug earlier in the year. The biggest draw for shoe-horning this in at...

Read more

Badwater 135 – The Race

Badwater 135 – The Race

Written by Michelle Jane - https://dreamweaverconsulting.com (This is from memory, and given the length of challenge and sleep deprivation, is as I remember it… the crew may likely have a slightly different...

Read more

2017 Lon Las Ultra

2017 Lon Las Ultra

Written by Paul Ali - https://ultraavon.com After a dream race at the Liverpool Leeds Canal race (link here) there was only one way race results could go and this is a brief report...

Read more

JFK50 MILE 2017

JFK50 MILE 2017

Written by Doug Fernandez Earlier this year, I’d finally won my age group (AG) in Boston. Even though I’d run it 4 times, even setting my PR there, the AG win...

Read more

Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Race Report

Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Race Report

Written by John Kynaston - https://johnkynaston.com Saturday 10th September 2016 Ever since I came across this race last year I’ve been looking forward to taking part and it didn’t disappoint! Katrina and I were...

Read more

Cotswold Way Century 2017 race report

Cotswold Way Century 2017 race report

Written by Marcin Krzysztofik - http://wolnybiegacz.pl/en Welcome to my blog after quite a while! Almost 2 months have passed since my last entry (http://wolnybiegacz.pl/en/kacr-2017-race-report/). In a nutshell, in August I was recovering from...

Read more

Lakes in a Day Race Report

Lakes in a Day Race Report

Written by John Kynaston - https://johnkynaston.com Saturday 8th October 2016 The ‘Lakes in a Day’ ultra was my fifth and final ultra of 2016 and I was really looking forward to it. When I...

Read more

Leadville 2017: Shuffle and Whine (A Mel…

Leadville 2017: Shuffle and Whine (A Melodrama in Five Acts)

Written by Katrin Silva - http://runkat.com Cast of characters Our Fearless Heroine:Katrin, ultra runner in pursuit of another belt buckle at the end of the rainbow, otherwise known as the 100-mile Leadville trail...

Read more

Ultra Tour du Léman (UTL) 2017 race revi…

Ultra Tour du Léman (UTL) 2017 race review: a journey to the end of the night

Written by Eric Grant - http://www.lhtrailrunning.com The Ultra Tour of Léman holds a special place in my heart. First of all, there’s the fact of going around a lake that I’ve called...

Read more

V3K Ultra Race Report

V3K Ultra Race Report

Written by Marcin Krzysztofik - http://wolnybiegacz.pl V3K (Vegan 3000 Ultra) is a mountain ultramarathon that I heard of for the first time about 2 years ago. Of course I got really keen to...

Read more

Taming the Beast: Javelina 100, 2017

Taming the Beast: Javelina 100, 2017

Written by Katrin Silva - http://runkat.com I registered for the 2017 Javelina 100 in late September, after two difficult 100-mile finishes earlier in the summer. Bryce and Leadville had gone well until...

Read more

Javelina Jundred 2017 – Chasing The Moon

Javelina Jundred 2017 – Chasing The Moon

Written by Avery Frantz - https://averyfunadventure.wordpress.com Spirits are up early in the race. This is a very long report that combines the months leading up to the race and the race itself, if...

Read more

Kierat 2017 race report

Kierat 2017 race report

Written by Marcin Krzysztofik - http://wolnybiegacz.pl/en International Extreme Walking Marathon Kierat (http://maratonkierat.pl/indexeng.html) is an event that has been on my mind for years. However, there were always adverse circumstances preventing me to...

Read more

Highland Fling Race Report

Highland Fling Race Report

Written by John Kynaston - https://johnkynaston.com I really enjoy the ultra races that start early which is just as well as the Highland Fling starts at 6am. I was up just before...

Read more

TOOTING 24H TRACK RACE – 2017

TOOTING 24H TRACK RACE – 2017

Written by Luke Latimer - https://jurarunner.wordpress.com It turns out that just as there are different kinds of pain, there are different kinds of listening too. There’s a silly joke that somehow managed to...

Read more

Autumn 100 2017 – the final of the Centu…

Autumn 100 2017 – the final of the Centurion 4 x 100 mile Grandslam – and not quite the end I had planned

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com I was a mixture of nervous and excited ahead of Autumn 100. I did this race last year, and it is what inspired me to aim...

Read more

Share This

Follow Us