London 2001 was my first marathon and I thought it was a fantastic experienced, crowded roads included. I am by no means obsessed with time but I was proud to have finished in sub 4 hrs on my debut marathon and then a little dissapointed that my official time did not reflect this achievement. I have entered through the ballot again this year, so fingers crossed, I will be able to run again and clock a "real" time.
On the subject of times, my first and only London marathon in 2001 was officialy clocked at 4 hrs,46 seconds, the time on my certificate and exactly the time that showed when I came accross the finish line. What I have since wondered about, is why the 6 minutes it took me to get to the start line (due to the large number of runners) was not subtracted from the 4 hrs, 46 seconds. Is this official London marathon policy or was I just unlucky?
Jungfrau was my first `mountain´ marathon. Most of my running, including marathon running has been completed over flat terrain. My finishing time was exactly 5 hrs, which is about 1.5 hrs more than I could presently run a flat marathon. Most people say that you should add approximately 1 hr to your normal marathon time, though I ran with 3 friends who are all sub 3.5 hr marathon runners and they all came in around the 5 hr mark. My goal was to finish without crawling, so I ran a very steady first half marathon (2 hrs) and saved my energy for the climb. I live in Denmark, which isn´t known for it´s hilly terrain. I found the biggest hills I could and trained at least once a week running up (there is very little downhill running at Jungfrau). I also joined a gym and ran once a week on a running machine which I could set to various inclines. I would say that some form of specific training is a must but it sounds as if you already have that covered. I would like to run Jungfrau again and improve my time, so I will definitely be focusing more on hill training in the future.
It might be helpfull for you to look at the results list from the Jungfrau marathon and compare the split times of various runners. http://services.datasport.com/2002/lauf/jungfrau/
I also have a slight problem with heights and `narrow ridges´ but there are no particular hazardous stretches that I remember. The part which you have heard about is I would guess 40 - 41km where you run/walk up the side of a glacier, but by this point I was mentaly and physicaly a bit numb, so I don´t remember feeling uneasy about the trail. I can only recommend that you give it a go.
I´ve just returned from Switzerland after running the Jungfrau Marathon (7th Sept). The race starts in Interlaken and climbs to about 2200m, with a view to the sumit of the Jungfrau mountain.
The organisation is excellent, as is local support and the run itself is breathtaking, in more than one way.
The first 26km is `relatively´ flat and climbs about 400 -500m. From 26 km it´s up up and up. The majority of participants combine walking and running. Like so many others I was determined to run all the way but was sadly mistaken. The last km is downhill, so it´s a sprint to the finish, a welcome relief after the severe climb from 38km - 41km.
The course itself is a combination of asphalt, dirt roads and mountain trails. The race is limited to about 3500 participants due to the nature of the course, thought this year there was a marathon on both Saturday and Sunday as the event celebrated it´s 10th anniversary.
Best finishing time for men in this years race: 2.53.28 and for women: 3.25.18
I will definately go back for more, it was without doubt the hardest, most scenic, most inspiring run I have yet experienced, forget about time (easier said than done) and enjoy the views.