If you’ve read Sophie’s blog in the past, you’ll probably have heard her mention the vertical KM. It’s a 3.8km run from Chamonix town to the top Brevant cable car, with 1000m elevation. After a 3.15am wake up call, 6 hours of travelling to Chamonix from London, the thought of stretching my legs and testing my lungs on this challenging trail was thrilling. After last weekend’s hilly half, I knew I wasn’t going to be quick, but the views (and beer) would be worth it!
We set off from the Church in town with multiple layers in Sophie’s backpack incase we were cold, but quickly started shedding those that we were already wearing. It was so sunny and warm that we were both sweating within metres of starting the trail, the temperature explains the startling lack of snow in the lower regions.
The path zig zags up the side of the mountain, meaning you can’t see the top once you get started. Although a little disheartening, it does at least mean you can’t tell how far you still have left to run, and instead can look down to survey your hard work.
My tactic was to keep asking Sophie questions so that she would do most of the talking, while I was breathing loudly just behind her. Living in London, and running mostly on the Thames tow path, hill running is not my forte, so we mostly took it at a fast paced walk. Most of the trail was clear, with small patches of snow- my Brooks trail shoes did a brilliant job although I think you would want more suitable spike style shoes if it was snowier/icier.
Once you get to the top section, the gradient increases and there are areas which are slightly more technical, involving handles, footholds and a lot of scrambling on your hands (if you’re me!). I actually loved this bit, and although looking down was a little daunting, it was so much fun to challenge myself with something new.
This was the perfect way to catch up with Sophie, as well as tackling one of the challenges that I’ve heard her talking about so much. We completed the trail in under 2 hours, the mini goal we’d set for ourselves, although I’d love to come back and do it faster. Sophie’s best time is 1hr 10 however she’s hoping to complete the official Vertical KM race in June within an hour! Think I’ve got a lot more trail and hill running practise to do before I’m anywhere near that speedy.
Of course, the best way to celebrate is with beers at the top of the mountain!
Well done! Im planning to do the vertical km in Italy this summer; should be a great time. Is it scary? Do you ever feel you could fall?
NO I didn’t although I didn’t look down on some occasions. It all felt pretty safe with ropes and foot holds when necessary!
Ah you did it, awesome! I kept checking it out last week every time I was going up the bubble…but then skiing got in the way. (Also the Powerade bean bags at the bar at the top are the comfiest thing in the world…a lot of end-of-ski snoozing took place)
Hahah brilliant, you’ll have to give it a try next time!
Wow! Amazing. I’m getting vertigo just looking at it. And palpitations thinking about you being there. Another escapade I’m glad I didn’t know about until afterwards! x
Sorry Mum! Come and do it with us next time, you’d love it!
That’s awesome! It’s a goal of mine to get out and hike/trail run more this summer. I love getting your posts in my inbox each day. I just started a blog mimiruns.wordpress.com Hope you will take a look.
Thanks Mimi, will check it out!
Looks great, and super pics – and I just missed you! Blimey – you did it in 2 hours, and I’m aimimg for 1hr 30m. Looks like I have my work cut out!!
Oh no! You’ll be fine doing it in 1 and a half hours as long as you don’t stop to natter like Sophie and I did!
Wow what a beautiful challenge!!
Wow this looks amazing, the views are incredible! You’ve got some lovely pictures there.
I’d love to do something like this one day 🙂 and you’re right! The best reward for hard work is definitely a beer.
A beer with friends in the sunshine after a workout= best thing ever!
Gorgeous challenge and well done ladies! I definitely did the beer at the top, and took the gondola…
There is SO little snow compared to just 4 weeks ago, gosh.
Thanks Bibi! Beer at the top is a must, however you got there!
What an amazing experience! It must have been so much fun taking on the challenge and trying something new! x
It really was and I fell in love with trail running (not the hills though!)
Looks amazing!!! I can’t believe how little snow there is either– thank god you like running (and beer ) xxx
Haha I know, some of my favourite things! Not a bad way to spend a weekend with friends 🙂
This looks so amazing! Wow!