My name is a Guillaume Arthus. I am 29 yo ultra runner from France. Starting September 14th, 2019, I will attempt to run [self supported] the Via Alpina Red. I am aiming to set the FKT record of 43 days. Previous known record (more a rumor than a documented trace) is told to be 60 days on French forums.
Day 1 (9/14): "VIA ALPINA - DAY 1 It is on! I started at 5:50. 8K done, only 2642km to go. Weather forecast is sunny for the 1st week. There is some minor issues with the tracking web page: it shows only the last location and not the track. It is getting looked at 😉 (The safety team has access to the full data, so nothing to worry about)"
Day 2 (9/15): "76K topped the 63 of yesterday. It was a good day despite a lot of road sections. Likely the last ones of those until Monaco area. Fine by me 😊"
Day 3 (9/16): "Only 52K done but with 4000m of elevation and one of the feared section, for its exposure and difficulty, is done. Perfectly on the expected target!"
Day 4 (9/17): "Done with Slovenia! Followed the plan today and cruised through Triglav. I am heading to the town stop for the "night" and getting ready for Day 5 monster. The real test is tomorrow."
Day 5 (9/18): "The feared 1st long day with its 69K 4500m is slaid. 321K 16900m done in total 😊 that's only 12% 🤣"
Day 6 (9/19): "Rain, fog for 8h turned to a clear sky for an epic 15K on ridges. 58K 4300m today😊"
Day 7 (9/20): "Dolomites ❤❤❤ Today was a transition day after the hard work of DAY 5 & 6. I finally got to this the heart of the Dolimites and it was amazing."
Day 8 (9/21): "Complicated to say to the least. Started by vomiting at 2:30am, felt like crap for 8 hours, managed to get some food down. I stopped earlier than planned to save the body and get some needed rest. I will be tomorrow 4h behind schedule. Not so bad for 8 days. Will see what comes next. Somehow I still clocked 60K. No idea how."
Day 9 (9/22): "Sunrise above #Anterselva and a 7K D+1600m to kickstart the day. Still in recovery of sickness. I am getting better but had to make the day somehow shorter to secure the stomach get fixed."
Day 10 (9/23): "It started so well in Italy. Glaciers, amazing speed and a monstruous sandwich gracefully made by the hut the night before. Didn't ask for it, they just did to help the Via Alpina. Then I crossed the border to Austria. Rain. 80kph wind, 0 visibility... for 8h. Drying out as much as possible before going to bed. This is going to be the clear challenge of the next few day in Austria. The entire weekend is forcasted with rain. Don't care. Bring it on. I'm ready."
Day 11 (9/24): "The clear day before the rain. It is quite a perfect day with a sweet mix of everything the Alps have to offer. Sunrise, sea of clouds, fresh air, bliss,... heaven. But tomorrow will be hell. 12 hours of heavy rain expected. So I am making sure DAY 11 is a big one because the following 48h will be damnation. Bring hell Austria. I got you covered."
Day 12 (9/25): "A crazy good day! 1/4 of Via Alpina done. Less than 2000K to go. Reached the 4th country: Germany. Logged 60K+ Only 1h of rain instead of 12 in the forecast. The best part? I caught back all my delays from being sick. I nailed it. EPIC."
Day 13 (9/26): "Like that tree, it was a mess. Rain, hostile terrain, fog,... I fell several times because of mud on downhill and manage to damage my jacket. It will need some duck tape. But like that tree, it is still standing. Reached where I wanted for the day. Clearly the hardest day so far. A true mental battle. Can I see sun now?"
Day 14 (9/27): "A hidden gem. The valley was supposed to be random without anything special. I was wrong. It kept on giving."
Day 15 (9/28): "1st third of the Via Alpina being done, it is quite nice to see the pace still hold. Tomorrow is a monster day. 69K D+4500m. Let's see how it goes."
Day 16 (9/29): "Incredible Liechtenstein! By far the most scenic day of the Via Alpina. This is not even close. The exigent path delivered blow after blow of epicness. I am speechless by the diversity of the trails of the day. A day to remember as one of the best one ever."
Day 17 (9/30): "Broke 1000K! Technical day to say the least. I reached the expected target but the trails were of the most commited ones so far. They also removed the bridge across a violent glacier torrent that forced me to make quite the detour just to find a way to go across with acceptable levels of risks. SO COLD."
Day 18 (10/01): "GOT IT BACK! After forgetting my pack of electronics and passeport at last night non garded hut, I had to find a way to fetch it. Receiving worldclass help from a hotel front desk, I arranged a 6h round trip with a taxi to get there. It was in the hut still, hidden under a blanket. Obviously the Via Alpina schedule took a hit, but it is still alive. Let's go back to the grind."
Day 19 (10/02): "With a late start as I was getting the electronics back, I still made good progress and reach the Stelvio pass under rough conditions: hail and snow. I found an abandonned building with more holes that a roof for the night. It will drop sub 0 for sure within couple hours."
Day 20 (10/03): "After sleeping in sub 0C temperature, the start was filed with wind and snow while going down the #Stelvio. The day was quite efficient with its 70K, allowing me to catch a part of the lost time. Still many hours to get back. Still many days to go. Less than 1500K to go."
Day 21 (10/04): "Another sub 0C night, but this time with a 00h30 start. There are 161 official stages of the Via Alpina. I do 3.7 on average. They usually range around 15K each. But not in that section. They all are 20K+, making it quite hard to see true progress is being made... besides loging 65K+ days."
Day 22 (10/05): "Snow day! ❄❄❄ 15K today was on crispy fresh snow. The 5cm layer was just enough to turn the mountain white and make lovely sound and feeling of opening a fresh trail. Accumulated delay from the bag event was up to 3 Rs (1R = 1 of the 161 official leg of the Via Alpina). After 3 days of grinding, it is down to 2! 9h late out of 22 days, not bad. "
Day 23 (10/06): "Half way and half frustrated. Despite starting the 2nd half of the Via Alpina, today was not fun. I couldn't make any speed. The fault? Maybe a little down in my constant grind attitude as I scored the big 1/2 landmark, but it is rather due to the horrible terrain. A 7K D-1400m followed by a 8K D+1600m. It wasn't easy under the foot either. To "top" the day, the right shoulder of my waterproof jacket is heavily damage and no longer waterproof. Left shoulder could follow at any time. Oh, and it will be raining all night until 7am. I think it is the Via Alpina way to tell me: "you got 50%. The last 50% is going to take you double the effort". I am ready. (But tonight, a bit pissed)"
Day 24 (10/07): "Injury, jacket and out of focus. Right of the bat, 2h in, I hit my knee on a slipery rock. Not damaged seems to have been done to any tendons but the pain is lasting. Hopefully the night will fix it. I found a replacement jacket. I had to wait an hour for the shop to open but it was worth it."
Day 25 (10/08): Switzerland. "A crazy down:D-1400m in 4.5K. The steeplest piece of trail I have experienced of my life. The knee held like it was nothing. Hit only is confirmed, no consequences. This night, snow ❄ is expected from 4 to 7 am. The problem, I am supposed to be on a 2800m pass followed by 5K of blocks with kern navigation. I don't really want to risk that as it is a legit safety concern. I specifically flagged that section as such in my plan. What are the options? Option 1.Kill the day now, have a late start and pass around 12 when snow will have somehow melted. Or... there is option 2. Going for it now before the snow starts. That means no sleep tonight."
Day 26 (10/09): Switzerland. "Taking my responsibility against the elements. Option 2 was taken. 1st pass was indeed giant blocks. It was the good call. Falling asleep mid descent, I found a chapelle and get 2h of sleep. I head to the 2nd pass. -4C, 40kph wind and light snow fog. Crossed the Rhone... and it them proceeded to rain hard for 7h... I am liquid. Via Alpina just delivered its worse weather day and, despite some heavy grunting/shouting/screaming, I got through. Also, I am now down 2Rs vs 3Rs since the bag incident. 9h diff vs schedule after 26 days. Time for rest and to do it all over tomorrow. But today feels like a hard battle. I won this one."
Day 27 (10/10) 57.6km: "Glorious. Le Valais delivered stunning landscapes all day with somehow easy trails under the foot and much more. It feels fantastic to have a "recovery" day and yet deliver K & D+. It is giving me a great opportunity to ease the body before the last 3 days of #switzerland that will require full commitment. I passed the 1500K mark. I am N°1 on strava worldwide for D+, N°2 for K in Oct. What a glorious day."
Day 28 (10/11) 58.1km: "Snow scare with slick shoes. The day eventless until the final pass and its unexpected snow on the ground in 30° slopes. My shoes totally gave up on traction. They have been surviving 1550K at that point and had less scupture left than roads. Only giving up after all of that? Damn those were good. Legendary. I chased down the clock to #Adelboden before 6, which I did with 15min to spare.That would be my timeframe to find a pair of trails in 48FR/12US. I somehow found that. The other pair is now gone. Trashed? Of course not, they are on their way to Paris."
Day 29 (10/12) 59.5km: "A bit of paradise. Good mileage, good elevation, crazy landscapes. The sunrise was a bliss, the passes were committed yet still fun, the weather was charmingly warm yet not to hot. Perfect."
Day 30 (10/13) 54.4km: "Despite ice on the trail at sunrise, I managed to take a safer official variant and got through. But I was still concern by the next pass which was at similar altitude. This video is that very moment of discovery. A great news. Less than 1000K to go! Quite exciting to move from 4 to 3 digits. One momth has now passed and I am quite please to see my mind and body holding still strong. The 43 days target seems to be gone as I am closer each day to get a full day behind schedule. 1 day loss for 30 days. That's only a 3% loss. Not bad at all. I would I signed for that. Sub 45 is still plenty in reach and I am super fine with that. That would still put a 15 days lead on the previous record."
Day 31 (10/14) 59.0km: "FRANCE + D+100K done. That's nice 😊 Fully restocked and prepared for tomorrow 12h rain above #chamonix."
Day 32 (10/15) 61.8km: "Barely 2 meters away. Unbelievable. this big horn allowed me to keep my temper under all this wetness. Rest of the day was rain and fog for 10h..."
Day 33 (10/16) 68.3km: "Goodbye Swiss 🇨🇭, Hello Aosta! [Italy] Switzerland is now completed. Feels amazing to finally close another country. This morning border crossing was fun in the fresh snow. The lac at the top was a nice touch too."
Day 34 (10/17) "Snow, Tarentaise, Snow. ❄🗻❄ Leaving Italy for a while, compacted snow and ice was the departure gift. After crossing all day a balcony trail to head to #Tignes, the winter refuge will be above 2800m tonight. Needless to say that snow will be there. The only question is how much. Either way it will be a late finish and a short night: rain is expected tomorrow. Hopefully I'll back moving before it even starts so that I can get down to #Maurienne safer."