Langley Mill Man's Adventure running the Jungfrau Mountain Marathon
13th October 2011
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Many of us try to stay fit by doing a little exercise, some at the gym, some playing Sunday football, and others by jogging gently through the streets, but for one Langley Mill man none of this is enough.

Not content with running 4-5 times a week around the many routes in our area, Dave Kolebuk and a group of friends recently travelled to Switzerland to run a marathon up a mountain. Yes, that’s right – a marathon, up a mountain!

The whole idea started about a year previously in a pub in Sheffield.  Dave and his friends were talking and one mentioned a competition he’d heard about, running 26 miles up a mountain in Switzerland. Where many such conversations would sound good at the time but then quickly be forgotten, this one took hold and the friends were soon making firm plans for the trip (some of which actually included training).

Nearly a year later and the team were travelling to Interlaken to take part in one of what must be the hardest marathons in the world.  Set in the Swiss Alps, the race covers the triple peaks of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Moench mountains, ranging from the shores of Lake Brienz all the way to the foot of the north face of the Eiger, a climb of more than 6000 ft.

After a day or two acclimatising and a couple of short training runs, Dave and his friends made their way to the start line on the morning of the race along with over 5000 other runners aged from 18 -70 years old. Over 50 different nations were represented with runners from Brazil to Hong Kong and Australia.

Dave describes what followed as "An amazing experience running through stunning and unbelievable scenery! Simply amazing, just incredible." (I think Dave must have used the word 'amazing' over 20 times during our conversation).

After initially setting off with his colleagues, he ended up running alongside strangers, but with the atmosphere of support and camaraderie this was no problem.  The whole route was lined with crowds and well-wishers, endless cowbells and even some bagpipes. In some places the route was so steep they had to walk, but Dave describes his elation at finally running across the finishing line 26 miles, 192 photographs, 3 medical massages and 6 hours later, but he explains that the time wasn't important to him "I just wanted to absorb everything!", he says, "Next time I will aim for a time of 5hrs 15 mins...without my camera".

Of course, having run so far up the mountain, there was still the task of getting back down.  Thankfully for everyone who made it to the finish, the way back down was via a glass train, packed full of elated runners congratulating each other and celebrating.  And everywhere the runners went after the race, proudly sporting their finisher's medal and t-shirt, people applauded.  The team were even invited into a wedding reception so that the guests could speak to them.

Obviously celebrating in Langley Mill won't have been quite the same, but the Arboricultural Consultant did enjoy a drink at the popular Inn the Middle when he got back.

We know that many local people from Heanor and Ripley achieve amazing feats every day, but we thought this story was definitely worth telling....well done Dave!

About the Author

Sarah A

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...

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