Extreme Distance! How I completed the SwissPeaks Trail 360 km at 60

Updated: Mar 28

The Swiss Peaks 360km Trail route map
Swiss Peaks 360km map

In 2018, a new race in Switzerland was launched. The Swiss Peaks Trail 360km, (224 Miles) and 25500m (about 87000ft) of vertical in a time limit of 160h. Truly an epic trail run the length of the Valais!

One evening at the beginning of 2018 with a bottle of 'Primitivo' Italian red open and a couple of glasses already missing, I was watching a video of the Tor des Géants. I had this vision that I could complete a distance over 200 miles. At 60 years old!!

As the Tor des Géants is notoriously difficult to enter, I decided to enter this new Swiss Peaks Trail this same evening. Amazing what two glasses of red can do for confidence!

700 Swiss francs less in my bank account, I woke the the next morning to the sobering thought of how I would possibly manage to complete this beast of a race with a distance of which some people happily take a plane.


Oberwald – Binn about 57km

Oberwald is the uppermost village in the Rhone valley just below the Grimsel and Furka passes. A beautiful location for the start to this adventure.

Sunday morning, race morning. After a hearty and delicious breakfast in the Hotel Furka, with my 50l drop bag and the Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 running vest fully packed, I made my way the short distance to the start area.

The first surprise of this epic race was the arrival of my brother Ruedi and his wife Imelda, to see me off.

The feeling was full of confidence with perfect weather conditions!

already confused at first feed station! 😂 'No Petsch, the race goes straight ahead!'

Reckingen Stalen chapel

The first 26.8km to Reckingen Stalenkapelle passed without problems. This was the second feed station and the start of the first big climb to the Chummefurgge at 2656m. It was also the time to get the head torch ready for the first night in the mountains. Towards the top and now already in the dark it became very foggy and wet. It was difficult to see the next way marker. Probably over confident, I tripped over and had quite a big tumble. Result: A gash on my knee. Nothing serious. But within an hour, I fell again….more of loosing my balance and fell to one side. This time no injuries, but a broken carbon pole. Now I had to have a good pep talk to myself, I could not afford of having more falls like this. I told myself to be much more careful. It must have worked, because from then on, I had no more falls for the rest of the race.