Mountain races were not common in the 1970’s.
Mountain races were not common in the 1970’s. Jean-Claude Pont, Dr. of Mathematics, Professor of “History and Philosophy of Science” at the University of Geneva and a certified Swiss mountain guide, once imagined a running event set in the spectacular mountains of Anniviers where people could “rediscover the virtues of physical effort and regain bodily fitness by taking on a unique running challenge”. It would also considerably contribute to the development of the Anniviers Valley in the heart of the Central Valais. As he recalls in his book, “Courir dans une Cathédrale”, dedicated to the story of the first forty years of the race, he prompted the tourist industry to focus on racing opportunities available. He aimed to showcase and celebrate the breathtaking Anniviers mountainscape that had enthralled him since childhood. The race would be named, not just Sierre-Zinal, but the “Race of the Five 4000 m Peaks”!
At the heart of the race, and an enduring draw, is the humanist philosophy. With this in mind, a new “Tourist “category” was created - unique to Sierre-Zinal as it was designed for runners “whose sole aim is to get together, push their physical limits and measure them against a challenging trail.” Runners in the “Tourist” category receive a certificate with their final running time but with no ranking. Personal excellence and goals of camaraderie, fun, appreciation of nature and physical challenges are most valued. In brief, the philosophy of “the heart before the watch” wins!
Those running as “Tourists” are given the opportunity to run the whole distance both as actors and spectators in an event attended by some of the best runners of their time.
By joining the many participants in the race of the “Five 4000 m Peaks” you will run at the foot of the “Imperial Crown” composed of the Weisshorn (4.404 m), the Zinalrothorn(4.221m), the Obergabelhorn (4.063m), the Matterhorn (4.478m) and the Dent Blanche (4.357m). It is hard to imagine a more spectacular setting for an event that creates a unique atmosphere and unbelievable mood of excitement!