The SWISSMAN is a point to point race starting in the southern part of Switzerland, leading over three mountain passes to the central part of Switzerland and finishing with a final climb in the heart of Switzerland just at the bottom of the massive mountain backdrop of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful and the challenge of the course absolutely extreme with 5750m of elevation gain.
Only minimal support is provided by the organizer during the bike and running course. It is the duty of the supporter to provide his athlete with everything he needs during the race. This makes the SWISSMAN as challenging for the supporter as it is for the athlete. On the final climb to Kleine Scheidegg the supporter accompanies his athlete and they cross the finish line together, sharing the experience of this event and their unforgettable memories of that day.
Interview with Katrin Simioni
co-founder of the swissman Xtreme Triathlon
How did you come up with the idea of SWISSMAN?
Having competed in the Norseman triathlon in Norway, I felt exhilarated and inspired by the experience, as did my friends and family. It was so thrilling and such a contrast to more traditional triathlons whose sole focus is performance.
Its “return to the roots” approach was the feature that really won us over, fusing a spirit of adventure with teamwork in the heart of nature. To create an exclusive event, limited to a small number of competitors in a friendly ambience: this was our dream.
Why did you choose Ascona for the start of the event?
We wanted to showcase the amazing beauty and diversity of Switzerland and Ascona, with its mild southern Alpine climate, together with the charm and culture of Ticino, emerged as an ideal choice for national and international athletes alike. The wonderful lakeside setting is a superb contrast to the mountainous backdrop of the Kleine Scheidegg, the SWISSMAN’s finish line.
The distance from the Brissago Islands to Ascona’s Lido – 3.8 km – is perfect for the long-distance swimming leg of the triathlon and so Ascona came to be our ideal starting point.
What do you especially like about Ascona?
I adore the unique combination of Ascona”s splendidly preserved old town – the Borgo – and the gorgeous lakefront.
Let’s talk about hospitality…
We received a wonderful welcome all round. The authorities, the Yacht Club, police and residents have always provided for all our needs, in terms of infrastructure, permits and of course, enthusiasm.
How are athletes selected?
Of the 250 who take part, half are Swiss and the other half are drawn from the rest of the world. There are no other criteria for entry and anyone can put themselves forward. Lady Luck will extract the winners.
How do athletes view the SWISSMAN event?
SWISSMAN takes them through the richest landscapes in Switzerland – from the palms of Ticino to the eternal ice of the Jungfrau – and all those who take part, athletes and fans alike, can experience this amazing journey. Emotions come alive when their own personal challenges interfuse with their team’s support and collaboration and the event organisers and fellow competitors. They carry this unforgettable feeling wIth them for a very long time. Many athletes acknowledge that the friendly atmosphere is more rewarding than their own timed results.
From our point of view, the praise and respect expressed by competitors and the thrilling experience as a whole continue to inspire, energise and motivate us to make SWISSMAN an ongoing success.