Kleine Scheidegg, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
The Jungfrau Marathon is one of the best known mountain marathons in the world, in full view of the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains in the Bernese Oberland area of the Swiss Alps.
The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) course starts in Interlaken and climbs 5,960 feet (1,823 m) in elevation to the finish at the Kleine Scheidegg. The first 10 km of the course are flat. The race begins in central Interlaken and circles around the town centre before moving east to Bönigen, where runners briefly run along the shore of Lake Brienz. The race proceeds southwards to Wilderswil at the 10 km mark. From there the course heads upward through Zweilütschinen (at 15 km) to Lauterbrunnen (at 20 km). The course loops for 5 km south of the town before returning to Lauterbrunnen and then heading eastward up the alpside. It is at this point that the race is steepest, zigzagging up the hillside and climbing 450 m in the 5 km to Wengen. The course heads southeast and relentlessly upward over the Wengernalp, turning east and then northeast beneath the Eiger toward the finish. It reaches its highest point of 7,234 feet (2,205 m) around the 40 km point, and then heads steeply downhill for the last kilometre to the finish at Kleine Scheidegg at an altitude of 2061 m.
In 1989, the Jungfrau Marathon was voted the "world's most beautiful marathon" in the "Ultimate Guide to International Marathons". The book was published by American authors Dennis Craythorn and Rich Hanna The first Jungfrau Marathon was held in 1993. Approximately 3,500 runners from 35 different nations participate. The 2007 edition of the competition incorporated the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge and attracted 4200 participants from 50 countries.
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