By Jamie Arrowsmith 16/08 Updated: 16/08 17:04
INTREPID Bromsgrove & Redditch AC chairman Len Quartly produced an inspirational performance to finish the gruelling Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos.
Len knew when he booked the race that it would be hard and having not trained as he would normally for a marathon due to injury, had serious doubts leading up to the start about being able to finish within his predicted time of 7.5 hours - or even the organiser’s cut-off time of 9.5 hours.
These thoughts, however, quickly disappeared as the great run unfolded. With adrenalin pumping it was a fairly comfortable first two miles on forest trails before running up the pretty cobbled main street/hill of Bergun.
Soon after, the first big test - some 14 km long - started at 1350m but he continued climbing up through the forest and above the tree line to Keschhutte at over 2600m.
At this point, Len noticed he is with others much younger than himself and wearing last year’s finishers’ t-shirts and knows he is going too fast.
However, he has to ditch the idea of using his Garmin for help with pace and time, because low thick rain clouds, surrounding trees and mountains deny him a signal.
The rewards for reaching the first peak are the magnificent views of other snow topped peaks and deep valleys as well as hot soup, bananas, water, iced tea, and coca cola that are to hand.
By now rain had given way to bright warm sun and he dropped down some 250m into the valley full of beautiful alpine flowers between Keschhutte and the next peak at Sertigpass at over 2700m.
A brief run through snow is next and then its back to single file trails. Although it’s now down hill, at no time can you relax concentration as the slippery, stony trails zig-zag down for around 5 km.
At last it gives way to more normal paths and roads. It is still mainly downhill - a welcome opportunity to relax a little and stretch the legs - but with around 12km to go Len has to concentrate hard again as he plunges back onto a twisting and turning forest trail.
The sun has long since gone, to be replaced by menacing clouds. Shortly, it is raining very hard with thunder and lightning, which lasts until the finish.
At the end, soaked to the skin, Len is spurred on as he hears his name and nationality announced over the tannoy at Davos Sportzentrum.
If ever Bromsgrove and Redditch athletes need some inspiration, they should look no further than their chairman Len Quartly, who at the age of 70, took on this alpine marathon and succeeded in a brilliant 6 hours and 49 minutes.
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