Considered one of Switzerland’s most prestigious mountain races, the Sierre-Zinal is among the 4 longest circuits in the world, making it a true reference in trail running!

Each year, thousands of runners from all over the world come together to take part in what is also known as “the Race of the Five 4000-metre Peaks”. And, this time, it will be even more special, as it’s celebrating its 50th edition.

With its challenging 31-kilometre course in the heart of Valais’ majestic Alps, paired with its welcoming atmosphere, the Sierre-Zinal race is a truly unforgettable adventure!

A decades-old mountain race tradition

The long-distance Sierre-Zinal mountain race has been taking place every summer on the second Sunday of August since 1974.

The initial aim was to encourage tourism in the canton of Valais, while also promoting the virtues of physical exercise. This is how the Sierre-Zinal came to be a race in the heart of the mountains, with its spectacular landscapes and challenging course.

Over the decades, it has become an essential reference in the world of mountain racing. The aim of the race has evolved to become a challenge of athletic performance. Many legendary runners attempt to break records, fostering a tradition of competitiveness and sportsmanship.

On the other hand, what makes the Sierre-Zinal so special is the fact that it has been able to preserve its friendly spirit and welcoming atmosphere over all these years. The famous “Tourist” category was created so that professional and amateur runners alike could share a single course and a single philosophy: self-improvement.

Course Sierre-Zinal 2023

The stages of the Sierre-Zinal and its course

The Sierre-Zinal, with its demanding 31-kilometre course, links the towns of Sierre and Zinal with 2200 metres of ascent and 1100 metres of descent.

The first part of the course is very physically exerting. It involves an abrupt ascent along steep trails towards Chandolin, an alpine village located at the 11th kilometre mark and at an altitude of around 2000 metres. After the village, runners cross the Col de Forcletta and reach Tignousa.

Parcour sierre zinal

The Tignousa stage, located midway along the Sierre Zinal trail, is a significant and demanding stage for runners. Due to its position, it plays a crucial role in the participants’ race strategy, mental resilience, and physical endurance.

Then, the runners continue their ascent up the Weisshorn at the 19th kilometre, which is the highest peak of the Sierre-Zinal race. With an altitude of 4506 metres, it is a major challenge for participants, taking their endurance and altitude resistance to the limit.

The last stretch of the race involves a fast and technical descent to the finish line: Zinal, at an altitude of 1680 metres. The runners have to take care and maintain control to finish the race along trails that are sometimes slippery.

The Sierre-Zinal and its obstacles

The Sierre-Zinal involves several challenges and obstacles that runners must face throughout the race.

The course twists and turns through steep and technical trails, rocky paths, steep slopes, and slippery stretches that require runners to stay constantly focused and possess both physical and mental endurance.

In the mountains, runners are forced to face dramatic elevation changes as well as the effects of high altitude. The race involves long ascents at altitudes above 2000 metres as well as very technical descents. High altitude can have an impact on breathing, the body’s oxygen intake, and the extent of fatigue.

Weather conditions can change quickly and unpredictably in the mountains. Runners may be faced with sudden changes in temperature, strong wind and rain.

Despite these challenges and obstacles, several records have been set during the Sierre-Zinal race over the past few years. It is a source of accomplishment and satisfaction for all runners who are able to beat them.

Altitude Sierre Zinal

The Sierre-Zinal offers breathtaking panoramic views

Throughout the Sierre-Zinal race, runners have the privilege to enjoy gorgeous landscapes.

The panoramic views offered by Valais’ majestic Alps are simply spectacular. From snowy mountain tops to green valleys, a fresh view is waiting at every turn.

Participants and spectators alike are awarded by the amazing panoramas that inspire both awe and admiration. The imposing mountains, the glistening lakes, and the winding trails come together to create a backdrop fit for a postcard.

To follow the Sierre-Zinal race live, you have the option to watch it on Eurosport or even come in person to participate in the buzzing atmosphere that prevails throughout the event.

Come and experience the Sierre-Zinal trail

Come and stay in the heart of the Swiss Alps in one of our apartments. It’s the perfect time to experience a dynamic and lively sports event all while enjoying its unbeatable landscapes.

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