Yvette de l’équipe Team HandiConcept (aka Heidi Run) nous raconte son expérience de la FISHERMAN’S FRIEND StrongmanRun à Engelberg. La troupe de femmes intrépides («EASILY the oldest women there») n’était pas seulement là pour l’honneur et la gloire mais aussi pour une cause extra forte.
It was 8 degrees out of the wind and raining; mist rolled down the hills and the valley was humming with waterfalls and a muddy river in flood (normally crystal clear) as well as 5300 odd people talking, shouting, singing, chanting and the music blasting from the speakers. Above us it was snowing and when the mist and clouds parted you could see those waterfalls as well as the snow and mud slides higher up. Europe was flooding and Eastern Switzerland was not excempt! Because of the instability of the terrain and the flooding river, the authorities and organisers shortened the run to 10km – 1 lap. Yes we were disappointed as we had been training hard and were fired up to do our best…but in the end we agreed that 1 lap was best as conditions were marginal and risky…and exhausting anyway!
Over 5300 people participated and finished the run.
About a fifth of the runners were women.
95 percent (guessing here!) were born in the 80s and 90 and we were EASILY the oldest women there!!! We were cheered by the spectators and patted on the shoulder by young men (but they didn’t help me get over the obstacles!). Our team came 214th out of 742! But an objection has been lodged – they failed to count our 3rd fastest team member and so I believe we will move up to 212th place!
I came 290th out of 1180 (mainly young) women runners and 2635th out of 5349 all the runners. I am feeling pretty chuffed with myself.
The start was hilarious. The costumes were inspired and many were very un-PC – so Swiss!
15 of us in our blue vests, paisley kerchiefs and plaits for those who had long enough hair and surrounded by young smelly men out to have a great time. At least we stayed warm while we waited. We got a chant going…Heidi, Heidi, Heidi, RUN, RUN, RUN (as in Aussi, Aussi, Aussi, Oi, Oi, Oi!). We got people dancing (well jumping) to the music, we waved our black clad arms so our support crew could see us in the sea of people.
- Obviously VERY muddy and they didn’t need to make any mud – the combined efforts of over 5300 people and rain soaked ground guaranteed muddy conditions.
- The swim was not possible! Yes we could have tried swimming against the current in the side pool beside the white (muddy) water river (there was a wetsuit clad diver standing on the weir wall waiting to throw ropes to stop us flowing into the river) but it was £$%&ing freezing. The hip deep wade through the 20 metres of glacial flood water was extreme enough – our legs were frozen and lets not mention the pain elsewhere!
- The best obstacle was the water slide – I dived onto it and passed about 10 people J! Getting to the slid was tough – the ski slope had turned from groomed grass to steep slopes of mud, rock and holes.
- The up and over steel rails at the beginning was hard – very high to get over and slippery. I am now starting to feel it in my arms and my shins are revealing bruises.
- Actually I lie! The rope climb up the ski jump slope was TUFFest! My feet slipped and the only thing stopping me from slithering back down to the bottom was my frantic and desperate hold on the rope – I actually hoped the man behind me would help me and stop me from sliding but he just went around me!!
- And oh the tyres! Wet, muddy, tangled, unstable piles of tyres with people falling over and against me or tyres on ropes that swing and bowled me over onto the piles of tyres…soon learnt to avoid those – swinging tyres and people!
- Try running in sticky, slippery, heavy, sucky mud…OMG I think that is what exhausted me the most.
- The hay bales were fine just had to make sure the jump up was timed and placed to maximise the efficiency of the jump…otherwise it was a crawl up. The other side required careful assessment so as not to implant oneself in the mud and get stuck or lose a shoe!
- AND dangling strips of electric currents! Seriously! There was a warning as we entered the obstacle but it was in German! But a quick visual assessment and the sounds of clicks and screams didn’t require me to understand German!! This would never be allowed in Australia! Hilarious!
- Gravel hills to go up and down and for the young to show off their skills by rolling down for the cameras (as you do!) and the piled up stack of logs (they didn’t roll down those!)
- And crawling under fine fish netting, tarps, a truck (!), climbing on roped nets and trying not to fall through…
Click here for photos from Fisherman’s Friend StrongmanRun, apparently more will be posted.
And finally, we are also doing this to raise money for Association HandiConcept if you haven’t already donated and plan to, please go to and click on the red donate button.
BTW we have all agreed to sign up for next year’s Fisherman’s Friend StrongmanRun!!