Engadin Ski Marathon in aid of Bowel & Cancer Research

Our amazing fundraiser, Germaine Hitchins, completed the Engadin Cross Country Ski Marathon on Sunday 10th March 2019 and raised over £13,000!

Read on to find out more about her epic skiing experience across Switzerland...

Saturday 9th March 2019

A day of rest and carb loading – a happy day! My husband Jeremy arrived last night and was a fountain of advice. After a huge breakfast, the first stop was to collect my bib.

Then we spent several hours escorting Jeremy around the course so he would know where to be and when – exhausting!

The weather was lovely (sadly some much needed snow did not arrive) so sunbathing was in order…

Jeremy also thought it would be a good idea to practice my position post for the next day (wishful thinking!)

Final preparation to my kit – some salted nuts and the all-important jelly babies.

Sunday 10th March 2019

At the railway station in St Moritz, we joined the queues for the shuttle buses to the marathon start. It was just like the London tube during rush hour!

    

Then it was time to enjoy the incredible atmosphere. With 14,200 participants plus supporters and organisers, the place was buzzing.

Time for a warm up! Pockets loaded with salted nuts and jelly babies…

     

At 9am, my group was herded into the starting pens – a rather strange experience.

With 12 pens of participants to be released, the waiting was eased with some loud disco music!

As each group was released, the music changed to war-like stuff which was somewhat gladiatorial!

At 9:40, I was on my way.

The start was challenging with people vying for strategic spots. My main aim was to stay out of trouble and finish in my target of 6 hours 30 minutes.

I took advice from those in the know and the plan was not to rush early on, saving some fuel for later.

The conditions were far from ideal. At the first frozen lake, I was somewhat alarmed to see the ice defrosting, leaving puddles of water to wade through. I was worried the ice would crack under my weight and I would sink to the bottom of the lake leaving my bib floating on the top!

However, things settled down nicely and the crowds started to file out and I ploughed on. Sooner than I thought, I had completed 15km and was feeling ok.

Although the next 5km were going to be hard with a lot of uphill work. I got through it – slowly – and then the scary trek through the ominously, orange-padded trees before a very steep descent.

This area was packed with spectators as this was a good spot to watch a myriad of fallers.

I set off from the top, doing my best impression of a constipated elephant, moving slowly downhill. However, I became over-excited when my name was called out – GH from England – and I promptly fell over to much cheering from the crowds!!

Before I knew it, I was at the halfway point. A big relief to be within the time limit as they would have otherwise stopped me continuing to complete the full marathon.

Onto the second half. By now, the snow was in pretty poor shape – slushy and hard work. The classique tracks were non-existent in a lot of places. I was grateful for my earphones and music for the next hour. More gruelling uphill climbs lay ahead – the descents were fun though!

The last 2km were hard work as the snow was very cut up by then. As I rounded the final bend and saw the finish line, I was thrilled. Job done. The sight of Jeremy was a joy to behold – happy me.

All that was left to do was celebrate with a glass of bubbles after nearly 3 months off alcohol, this was a huge treat!

Click here to view more and donate to Germaine's fundraising page.