Are you feeling bored by a mere triathlon? Is the Iron Man just a piece of cake for you? Then it is time to get into Gigathlon. The Gigathlon race in Switzerland for 2013 is a six day event starting in Chur in the East and ending in Lausanne in the West. The distance to cover is roughly 1,400 km (870 miles) long. Are you game?
The Gigathlon is a sporting event hosted and organized by the Swiss National Olympic Committee. The first Gigathlon took place in 1998 and was organized as a one day event. It included mountain biking, race biking, inline skating, swimming and running in this order. The race was open to individuals and teams of five. Teams were allowed to substitute the inline skater by a wheelchair driver. The event was a big success with the competitors, who had loads of fun, and therefore was repeated in 2000.
In 2002, Switzerland did one of its infrequent and sporadic ‘National Exhibitions’ (shortly called Expo) the last of which had been in 1964, whereby a huge effort is made by everybody to represent all the different parts of the country in a cohesive exhibition area usually covering a whole region. Parallel to this, the Gigathlon was held as a seven day race. The race asked for each of the five sporting disciplines on a daily basis. Contestants were allowed to enter as a team of five, singles and couples.
Since then, the Gigathlon has been held yearly as a race during one to three days. Every year in October, the next year’s event is announced on the official Gigathlon homepage. If you have a look at the routes of previous years, they are all marked for their technical value as well as for endurance and views. This is not only about sport, but also about seeing as much of the Swiss countryside as possible.
For 2013, the sporting disciplines have remained the same, swimming, race biking, mountain biking, inline skating and running. The five are competed daily in a changing pattern. Singles are expected to complete all five disciplines every day over six days on their own; mixed couples have to split the daily quota whereby the female part has to do at least two of the day’s disciplines; teams of five nominate one member to do one discipline each day whereby two team members must be female. New is a category Team 6 to 15 aimed at company or club teams; the requirement for two disciplines a day to be contested by women remains.
As an example, the 2009 race was held over three days, whereby the first was called Cool Down Friday for everybody to have a go at all disciplines in small warm up races. This was followed by Hilly Saturday, leading the race through Liechtenstein and Austrian territory, and Flowing Sunday making the way along the Lake of Constance. The race covered a total length of about 450 km (300 miles) and asked for ascents and descents of over 8,300 m (25,000 ft) altitude.
Entries for the 2013 event are no longer accepted, but they are still looking for volunteers. It might be the ideal holiday for you and the chance to find out if in future you will be up to it. The Gigathlon 2013 is held from July 7 to 13, 2013.