Running in Zürich in spring is a real treat. The air is crisp and starting to get warm and comfortable. There are colorful flowers everywhere - cherry blossoms on the trees, tulips in the gardens and wild flowers in the grass. The snow capped backdrop of mountains by Lake Zürich completes the picture.
That is why every year, thousands of runners gather here from all over Switzerland to run the Zurich Marathon. The runners complete the official distance of 42.1 km, starting at Mythenquai, going into the heart of the city towards the Zürich main station and then running by the lake to Meilen and back.
If you have lived in Switzerland long enough, you already know how unpredictable the weather in spring really is.
Spring is infamous for showing you all four seasons in a single day. That is what awaited runners in 2016. The marathon day started with light drizzle, converting into a light snowfall in the first hour. Then we were blessed with some sunshine, which did not last very long and there was more rain and hail on the way. This year was much better, with full sunshine and temperatures rising to 20 degrees. With flowers in full bloom, runners were in for a very pleasant and beautiful run.
In 2010, the marathon organization also added a team run where teams of four complete the full marathon distance as a relay. With stretches of 9 km, 11.7 km, 4 km and 17.5 km, the team run is geared for runners of various strength levels. Our team run was a boon for the non-profit organization that I support, Asha for Education.
The organization is aimed at fundraising in Switzerland to support the education of children in the underprivileged parts of Indian society. The organization has grown to support more than five schools in remote areas of India, and the Zurich Marathon is our biggest fundraiser event. This year, 15 teams participated at the Zurich Marathon team run, raising over 40'000 francs from donors.
Some marathons for those living in Zürich
In 2012, the Zurich Marathon introduced 10k city runs for individual runners who just want to enjoy a "fast" stroll through the city without the stress of completing a longer distance. If running in the unpredictable month of April is not your cup of tea, the Winterthur Marathon at the end of May might be perfect for you.
With similar options as in Zürich such as of team runs, 10k, half and full marathons, Winterthur definitely has something for everyone. And in June, the annual Schweizer Frauenlauf in Bern is taking place. And every September, the Greifensee Lauf attracts many runners of all levels to this scenic lake route just outside of Zürich.
While preparing for upcoming marathons, try out the newly opened Green Marathon Zürich. This is a self guided stretch through the city's streets, parks and forests, and it is open 365 days of the year. With so many options and (occasional) nice sunny days, running in Zürich is a great way to get fit and enjoy the nature. Due to frequent weather changes in Switzerland, it pays to be equipped with some flexible running tops.
(Photograph copyright Green Marathon Zürich)