2020; a new challenge

Along with the rest of the world, my plans for 2020 have taken some rearranging.

The Ironman World Championships were originally postponed from October 2020 to February 2021. Those of us who had already qualified were given the option to attend the February event, or defer until October 2021. After several spreadsheets were made and many variables considered, I decided that deferring to October 2021 was the best choice for me. Which, now that the February event has subsequently been cancelled, was definitely the right call.

My mad plan to pop to Argentina last year for no other reason than to swim 3.8km, cycle 180km, and run 42km, has now also been further justified. If I hadn’t done that, I would still have to qualify for Kona 2021 along with every other long-distance triathlete from around the world. Now I can focus entirely on training for The Big Race next year and not have to squeeze in another qualifier alongside our wedding celebrations (which have also been postponed from this year).

Disappointingly, this means that my goal to compete in the Ironman World Championships in the 30-34 AG won’t be possible and I’ll be in the 35-39 AG from next year instead. But with all the madness happening in the world right now, that is a tiny blow that I had no problem getting over.

It also means that it’ll be almost two years between my qualifying race in Argentina to standing on the hallowed start line of Kona. Whilst, for a short second or two, I toyed with the idea of taking some time off training, I soon started thinking about other challenges I could try that would put this year’s training to good use.

And so my plan to run across Switzerland, along the ViaGottardo national trail, was created.

I wanted a challenge that was different to my usual events and would push me right to my limits. It’s a challenge that I genuinely don’t know I’ll be able to complete. Ironman is, of course, a tough race, but the challenge for me has never been finishing it, but to finish it towards the top of my age group.

This is a different ball game altogether. The aim is to run 320km in 7 days; over a marathon a day with the Swiss Alps conveniently in the middle (10,400m of ascent). I’ve never had to train for, or run, those distances back-to-back and it’ll be interesting to see how my body reacts.

To help me push through those inevitable dark moments, I’ll be raising money for Re-engage, a charity which helps tackle social isolation and loneliness in the older generation. With Covid-19 and lockdowns keeping people away from loved ones, their work is more vital than ever. If you can, please donate on my JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adam-runs-across-switzerland

I’ll be starting on 11th September and (hopefully) finishing on 17th. If you want to get updates during the run, I’ll be (or more likely Michaela will be, whilst I recover) posting updates on instagram- @adamlabbett.

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