Marathon runners scale new heights

PUBLISHED: 16:54 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

STILL STANDING: Ely Runners Adam Etches, Natalle Coles and Charlie Barker with their medals. Photo: SUPPLIED

STILL STANDING: Ely Runners Adam Etches, Natalle Coles and Charlie Barker with their medals. Photo: SUPPLIED

THREE members of Ely Runners travelled to Switzerland to take on Europe s highest marathon on Saturday. Adam Etches, Charlie Barker and Natalle Coles lined up among an international field of 764 competitors for the gruelling 26.2 mile Swiss Alpine Maratho

THREE members of Ely Runners travelled to Switzerland to take on Europe's highest marathon on Saturday.

Adam Etches, Charlie Barker and Natalle Coles lined up among an international field of 764 competitors for the gruelling 26.2 mile Swiss Alpine Marathon which is subtitled "The Crazy Peak Experience".

The run, which starts in Bergen and ends in Davos, is widely regarded as one of the toughest marathon's in the world due to the various levels of elevation, with climbs of 1890m (6200ft) to reach heights of 2,632m (8,635ft) above sea level.

Etches, running his 15th marathon, came 22nd in the male 30-35 category and 182nd of 584 men with a time of 4:51:60. He said: "It was really tough. If you don't live in a high altitude it's almost impossible to prepare yourself for the thin air and it was really difficult to breathe. We're used to running on the flat land around Ely so it's a huge difference."

Ethes added: "I've been running for about 10 years and this was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. Myself, Charlie and Natalle started travelling around to run marathons all over the country last year and we've gradually been building up to more and more difficult tests. The Snowdonia Marathon, which takes you up to 1,000 metres above sea level, is the hardest I've done until this one, but this was unbelievably tough."

Coles finished 14th in the women's 30-35 category and 73rd out of 180 women overall with a time of 5:30:22 and Barker came 15th in the men's 55-60s and 281st out of 584 men with 5:14:08.

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