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No ordinary runner: Meet the Swiss skyrunner who’s breaking race...

No ordinary runner: Meet the Swiss skyrunner who’s breaking race records

If you watched the above video, you’ll have seen Pascal Egli in all his skyrunning glory, battling the gruelling conditions of the Resegup Skyrace in Italy to smash his way to victory in record time.

Despite worries about an injury and some strong competition, it took the Swiss athlete just 2hr 10min to complete the 24km mountain trail made up of 1,800 vertical meters in the 2016 race.

Here, in an exclusive interview with the Monocular, he shares his insight into the sport, his goals for next year and what it is to be a record breaker:

Why did you decide to enter the Lecco Skyrace?

My and my girlfriend, Katrine (a fellow Monocular pioneer!) decided to race there spontaneously because it was still early in the season and it would be good preparation race for other big races. It’s a steep, technical race, recommended by friends, and we love the atmosphere and friendliness at Italian races!

“I had to fight hard to keep the pace right until the finish line.”

Did you think you would win?

I thought I could run to the podium but because I’d had some problems with an injured muscle fibre, I wasn’t sure. When we arrived to the race, I realized that there were some strong contestants including two runners who’d completed half-marathons in 1hr02mins. But it turned out the uphill was too steep for them. There were also strong Italian contenders, who I beat mostly in the uphill.

What was the hardest part of training and the race itself?

In training, it’s always hard when you are tired though the hardest part is usually the interval trainings e.g. 10×3′ full-speed uphill running with 1′ breaks in-between. In this race, the tough part for me was when I was fighting closely with someone (in the first part of the uphill), and in the final downhill part, when my legs were very tired and I didn’t know how much ahead of 2nd I was. I had to fight hard to keep the pace right until the finish line.

“I did not know that I was running for record time! Only a few meters before the finish people shouted to me that it would be record.”

And what was the easiest part of training and the race?

If I am in a beautiful mountain environment, training is almost always easy, but it’s especially motivating if you can run up a technical summit on a sunny day. In the race, the ‘easiest’ part was the last part of the uphill: steep and technical as I like it, with many very cool spectators who cheered me on!

What advice would you give to other runners?

Train hard, but mostly do what you enjoy to do, and have enough breaks and rest days!

How does it feel to win in record time!?

It’s an incredible feeling, having overcome my own mental limits and to be the fastest one to ever complete that course.
In the case of Resegup it was very special because I did not wear a watch during the race, so I did not know that I was running for record time! Only a few meters before the finish people shouted to me that it would be record.

What’s your next challenge?

My challenge right now is to get my body fit and healthy again after a ligament injury during a little mountain accident this summer. My big goal for next summer season is to race the Skyrunner World Series for my sponsor Dynafit, in-between doing research work in the mountains.

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