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Running From Laufen to Laufen With Florian Neuschwander

Ultra-runner and record breaker Florian Neuschwander set himself a new goal: 550 kilometers, 9,000 meters elevation, 7 days to execute. Joined by local runners along the way, Flo managed to complete yet another epic journey.


*All images used in this article were taken by Phil Pham as part of the Redbull project.


Ultra-runner and On athlete Florian Neuschwander is known for his epic challenges. This year alone he broke the record for fastest 50 kilometers on a treadmill (for tips on how to beat the dreadmill, read here) and completed a full marathon with an elevation of 2,000 meters in less than three hours (more on the benefits of uphill running here).


This time, as the name suggests, Florian ran from Laufen, Switzerland to Laufen, Germany. And if you’re thinking two towns with the same name is slightly confusing, the German word laufen literally means “to run.”



The name might be a tongue twister, but the mission itself was clear: 550 kilometers, 9,000 meters elevation, 7 days to execute. 


Along the way, Flo was greeted by many runners who joined him for parts of his journey. Discover the details of the route and a Q&A below. 


Stage 1: Laufen, CH to Zurich


On the morning of October 1, Flo began the first leg of his journey with an Alphorn send-off. This 100-kilometer stretch began with the smaller villages of inner Switzerland and finished at the On HQ in Zurich. 



Stage 2: Zurich to Goldach 


Day 2 involved a cross-town commute as Flo navigated the city streets of Zurich. With trams, fellow early morning joggers and electric scooters successfully avoided it was back to the trails. 


102,5 Kilometers later, Flo reached Lake Constance, the meeting point of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. 


Stage 3: Goldach to Oberstaufen 


Joined by supporters, stage 3 was off to a great start. But by mid-morning heavy showers called for an early break. 


By 14:00 the sun reappeared, and Flo was back out on the road, finishing day 3 at 56,7 kilometers near Oberstaufen. 



Stage 4: Oberstaufen to Steingaden 


Running along picturesque lakes and through small villages, day 4 stretched 81 kilometers. Flo took to social for an update on the journey:


“Overall I’m now at 345km in 4 days. This has been tough but I’m giving it my all!”


Stage 5: Steingaden to Gmund am Tegernsee 


Day 5 included the steepest climb of the entire route at 1,300 meters. The distance and elevation started to take its toll with Flo commenting “I’m pretty done.”


But the mission outweighed fatigue and our record breaker continued his journey. 93,5 Kilometers later, Florian completed stage 5. 



Stage 6: Gmund am Tegernsee to Bergen


With the finish line in sight, Flo started at 5:45 am to get as close to the end as possible, taking only two short breaks along the 73-kilometer route. 


Day 6 finished on a high with the 500-kilometer barrier broken.


Stage 7: Bergen to Laufen, DE


The last stretch was an easy marathon distance to finish the goal of 13 marathons in just 7 days. 


So, if you’re wondering what inspires Flo to complete such epic challenges – you’re not alone. We caught up with the ultra-champ to find out all the details.



On: Hey Florian, congrats on completing another epic challenge. 7 days, 550km. That’s just over 13 marathons with no rest days – what motivates and inspires you?


Florian: “Yes, it was awesome. I was so motivated to do this project because it has been in the works for two years already. And it was also a way to test myself. I wanted to see and feel how my body reacts when I run two marathons every day on average for one week.”


When I have something in my head, I give everything to reach my goal.


Was there any specific preparation you did in the weeks building up to the challenge?


“Yes and no. As an ultra-runner I have to be fit year-round. So, I did my normal training before. That’s usually around 80-140km in a week with 2,000-5,000 vertical meters on my local mountains. I did this for six weeks.”


“After these six weeks, I did two weeks of 422km. I did two 50km runs, one 63km run and one 70km run. With four rest days in total.”


“So, I had 10 days with an average marathon every day. After these two intense weeks I had one rest week with only around 70km before I started my project.”



Why this particular route?


“I thought it was a funny word game. Start in Laufen and finish in Laufen. I also live not too far away from the finish, so it was a long run home for me! That motivated me as well.”


“I also like to run in different countries and meet people who join me along the way. There were more vertical meters and climbing than I expected. I planned the route myself, but it’s different when you’re running it.”


“There are always some surprises. This time, it was far more trail running than I had expected. That was a really nice challenge for me.”


Was there a specific highlight moment for you? 


“Yes, there were people and runners waiting for me even in areas where you would never expected someone. There was this 14-year-old boy for example. He waited in the dark somewhere in the forest before Gmund am Tegernsee. I came down a trail with a flashlight in my right hand because it was already really dark. I’d forgotten my headlamp. And when I reached the road, he was waiting in the dark just to run with me a little bit.”


“It was great that he was there because I had already run 10 hours of really tough terrain. And he knew the way to my finish point for that day. So, we were both happy. We talked and had a good night run. That was really fun!” 


You must have some pretty great tips for a quick recovery? How did you end each stage? 


- Recovery massages

- Food that fuels (pasta, potatoes and lots of vegetables)

- I didn’t get a lot of it, but sleep is essential


What was the biggest challenge?


“I had some quad problems. My feet were really fit with no problems at all. But the course was just very up and down and that’s hard on the quads.”



Which On did you run in for this challenge and why?


“I actually ran in three models. The Cloudflyer, the Cloudsurfer and the Cloudstratus. They all offer good cushioning and support on long runs.”


The Cloudflyer
The lightweight road running shoe with added support. Made for making light of long runs – so you can go further.
See it here
The Cloudsurfer
The original On. Famous for how it feels, this training shoe with racing speed is one of the most fun shoes to run the road in.
See it here
The Cloudstratus
Twice the cushioning, twice the distance. Swiss-engineered for maximum cushioning. For runners that demand more. More clouds, more performance, more run.

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