What’s 15 km (9.32 mi) long, includes nearly 1 km (3,000 ft) of elevation and takes every ounce of strength and stamina you’ve got? Well, you’re already reading this article, so it’s probably not too hard to guess. It’s almost Cirque Series time in Engelberg, Switzerland and, as sponsor of the race, we couldn’t be more excited about it.
Every year, the best of the best (and many of the rest) flock to the starting line of the numerous different Cirque Series races. When it comes to vertical trail running, it doesn’t get much tougher than this. The race series has been based in the US since getting started but this summer it’s coming to the Swiss Alps for the first time. And few places offer more vertical meters than Engelberg. In winter, the famous skiing options attract winter sports fans from all over the world. But on Saturday, September 24, 2022, Engelberg turns into the capital of trail running.
Your intro to trail racing
“The elevation is serious but the mileage is manageable. The race is as hardcore as you want it to be.” – Julian Carr, Cirque Series organizer
The beauty of Cirque Series races is how inclusive they are – and Engelberg is no exception. While the pro runners will aim to put up a good time and secure the cash prize, because the route is “only” 15 km (9.3 miles) it opens the door to a wider range of runners – including first time racers. In fact, roughly 70% of all Cirque Series participants enter the beginner/intermediate category.
But don’t be fooled by the distance. The races are no walk in the park. Running for that long is never easy. And when you thrown in technical terrain, tricky climbs and flying downhills – well, it only gets harder. But it can be an exciting next step for those looking for a first taste of trail racing or a tough but doable challenge for beginners. Plus, if your legs are struggling to get you up and over the climb, then the in-it-together spirit and feel-good vibes will give you the push you need.
Leave it all on the trail, but don’t forget to celebrate
After crossing the finish line, your body will most likely need a minute (or 20) to calm down. But once you’re back on your feet, it’s far from time to head back home. Cirque Series makes a point to include the local community into the event and bring runners, volunteers and locals together after the race – with good music, food and drinks. A post-trail-race-party, if you will. Rest assured, there will be cause for celebration, even if your achievement was just to get up and down the mountain in one piece.