A night run at the 100km run Biel

05 May 2014 03:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Credit : Biel Running Days

Hello, on June 14th 2014, you’ll be organizing the 100km run Biel. Can you tell us where it is located?

Biel is in the west part of Switzerland, located between 3 large lakes. The run begins in Biel and continues in one big loop of 100 km (all the way to Solothurn), and which brings you then back to Biel city to cross the finish line.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

This year marks the 56th anniversary of the Biel 100 km. The race was originally done by 39 young soldiers who wanted to see if they could walk/run 100 km at once (26 of the original 39 made it).

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The race begins in the evening and the runners run through the night. The route itself is quite varied, and slightly hilly. Approximately 80% is asphalt, 15% natural paths, and 5% trail.

The route also continues through small towns and villages, many of which take part in small festivities, (many restaurants remain open for the entire night) during this night, providing the runners with a lot of encouraging spectators all through the night.

How many runners do you expect on Friday night? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

For the entire event we expect around 4,000 runners to participate, of which approximately 1,500 will attempt the entire 100 km. Any and all types of runners are welcome to attend our event and we also attract all kinds, from professional race runners, to the elderly (the oldest participant to complete the whole 100 km was 90 years old).

Besides being physically ready for the race, all participants need to also be mentally ready as this race really takes place in your head.

Credit : Biel Running Days

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

Yes, for the past few years we also offer Marathon and half marathon distance races, which take place along the first part of the 100 km route. There is also the option to complete the 100 km as a team of 5.

On the Thursday before the 100 km there is also a kids run (where more than 700 kids participate) and a fun City Run (where many participants dress is costume, as the goal here is more to have fun then as a competition).

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

June is summertime in Switzerland, and this year we are expecting a full moon, so we will hopefully have a clear night! The average temperature at this time is between 12-16 degrees Celsius. The ideal conditions are of course when it doesn’t rain.

Credit : Biel Running Days

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

There is a party tent set up at the start and end zone of the race which is for runners, supporters and onlookers alike. In the party tent there will be festivities during all 3 days (Thursday to Saturday). There are also diverse stands set up around the starting zone from various companies (for example: with sport clothing, energy bars, etc). Furthermore, all along the route there are party tents set up in restaurants and on the street. The people in this region love this race and spend the entire night celebrating the participants as they pass them by.

Close by where the race starts and ends there will be a “tent-town” set up for those participants who wish to camp (the “tent-town” is directly on Lake Biel), there is also a very lively atmosphere to be found here!

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Biel before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

The surrounding area offers many possibilities. The city of Biel is directly on the lake of Biel and an excursion onto the lake with a boat to the legendary Biel Island is a must. On the small mountain behind Biel, there is the internationally acclaimed sport school, Magglingen, and a beautiful spot for some hiking.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the 100km run Biel?

If you are looking for a once in a lifetime running experience, the 100 km in Biel is what you are searching. Biel is distinctive, unique, and incomparable.

A repeat 100 km finisher once wrote a book about our special ultra-marathon, and I think that the title of his book says it all “Once, you have to go to Biel”. This is an experience is one that you will never forget.

100km Race
Credit : Biel Running days

Jakob Etter
Interview with Jakob Etter.
Jakob has been head of the organization committee for the past 7 years, and he loves being able to organize such a race which brings together thousands of runners.
The time and commitment it takes to organize such an event is always well worth it when he reads the comments left in the guestbook after each event.
He is also an avid runner and has already finished the Biel 100 km run 10 times. For him, arriving in Biel in the morning is also the best and most beautiful experience.