City Trailrunning, Saalsporthalle – Zürichhorn | 12 km, 120 Hm
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Early on Saturday mornings, Zurich city centre is a car, tram and shopping-free oasis for trail runners. Marked by the Linth glacier and long since urbanised, the moraine landscape offers constant ups and downs: Sihlberg, old botanical garden, Lindenhof, Polyterrasse, Hohe Promenade. Narrow alleys, sharp corners, steep ramps and a historic aid station on the Lindenhof with a view over the Alps and the Tiefenbrunnen stage destination. Hurdling through the Max Bill sculpture and a sprint section in the Ulmberg tunnel. The race starts to applause from the team members and supporters directly next to the breakfast table in the Saalsporthalle. The trail leads through the freestyle park in Allmend, across the Sihl and under mature plane trees to the trendy Hürlimann complex where Zooglers socialise, through the grounds and leisure facilities of Freudenberg cantonal school into the beautiful setting of the old botanical garden, to Bahnhofstrasse and through the idyllic old town up to the Lindenhof. In front of the Grossmünster it crosses the Limmat and turns into the Niederdorf district. After Neumarkt, steep steps lead to the Polyterrasse. It would be tempting to linger at the university or in the baroque setting of the Rechberggarten park, but the grounds of the Rämibühl and the Hohe Promenade are beckoning and then it will soon be time for the grand entrance at the Opera House. Intoxicated by all the sights, the breathless trail runners pass through the beautiful grounds of the Seepark to arrive at the finish by the Tiefenbrunnen lido.

Swimming, Zürichhorn – Zürichhorn | 3 km
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Every summer sees cinema at its most exciting against the idyllic backdrop of the Zürichhorn. The open-air evening cinema on Lake Zurich has had over 50 000 film buffs flocking to see blockbusters, arthouse movies and exclusive previews for nigh on 30 years. The star performances, heroic deeds and mini-dramas will not be played out on the big screen today, however, but in the waters of Lake Zurich in the light of the rising sun. The transition zone for Singles and Couples extends across the lake shore in front of «Heureka», a masterpiece by the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely, whilst Teams of Five prepare for action near the Lakeside Casino. Clad in neoprene in case the weather turns against them, the Gigthletes hurtle down the ramp and throw themselves into the cold water long before the first boat on Lake Zurich comes in to dock or the sun worshippers fight for space at the nearby Tiefenbrunnen lido. For two hours, 1800 arms and legs will leave a trail of foam all the way to the municipality of Zollikon on the Gold Coast and back to the bay. With every intake of breath, the swimmers will be peering through their goggles at either the Albis or Pfannenstil chain of peaks. If the weather is fine, anyone taking a bit more time will also be able to make out the alpine panorama on the south horizon or get their bearings from the silhouette of the city of Zurich after the turning point so that they can head directly for the stage destination.

Cycling, Zürichhorn – Uster Buchholz | 80 km, 1200 Hm
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The course leads from Lake Zurich over the Adlisberg past Dübendorf airfield to Wila in the upper Tösstal valley. The route is dotted with small alpine passes, but «the hills» still mount up gradually, metre by metre, to an impressive elevation gain of 1200 metres. Fresh air, long-distance views and abundant flora – the Zurich Oberland is an oasis of nature just a few kilometres from Zurich. Steep ravines and romantic viewing points refresh the mind and keep energy levels high. Riders will reach for the stars in the highest mountain community in the canton of Zurich; Sternenberg. Sadly, the famous Restaurant Sternen, which was a central feature of the film «Sternenberg», burnt to the ground shortly after being completely renovated. As regards the condition of the course, it includes some tough uphill sections and demanding descents to be enjoyed with caution, and a whole range of surfaces from fine asphalt to dirt roads and a gravel section. This is a challenging course for all entrants and may well require manual dexterity as well as muscular strength and good cycling skills. It will be full of ups and downs, in terms both of its topography and of its mental demands.

Running, Uster Buchholz – Uster Buchholz | 19 km, 190 Hm
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After the transition zone at Buchholz sports centre we cross the motorway near Winikon and plunge straight into the hardwood forest. The contrast with the early morning trailrun in the city of Zurich could not be greater, making it easy to forget that we are in the middle of a densely populated agglomeration. The wide forest paths are conducive to a relaxed run beneath the canopy of the tall trees. After five kilometres, an industrial site appears unexpectedly on the edge of the forest. The region's many ponds are a reminder that gravel mining was once done on a large scale here. Today Volketswil is a modern town, popular not only for its outdoor recreation area but also for the tranquil village centre through which we pass here. It is the first and last village we encounter. From now on, it will just be farms, paddocks, pastures, organic gardens, meadows, fields, forests and floodplains and, if the weather is nice, a series of fantastic views of the alpine panorama on the distant southern horizon. The ascents and descents to be conquered are all moderate and there are no cars or any technical problems of note. Running as meditation – it really is the best way to clear your head. The effort of climbing 50 metres shortly before the end of the course as far as Wermatswil will be rewarded with yet another glorious vista. In Chammerholz the runners will finish with a downhill track to the final transition zone in Buchholz.

Biking, Uster Buchholz – Saalsporthalle | 57 km, 1000 Hm
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The mountain bikers leave Buchholz transition zone and head south. The reed-encircled Greifensee lake is reached in Riedikon through the Oberustermerwald forest and Aathal. The Wassberg mountain near Forch is silhouetted on the horizon in the evening sunlight, its deadly elevation gain standing between us and the day’s finish line in Zurich. The «Flamme bronce» soldiers' memorial simply marks the highest point of the route for the mountain bikers rather than the «last kilometre of the course». High above the city of Zurich, they still have to propel themselves across the Adlisberg, Zürichberg, Käferberg and Hönggerberg. A series of sights, science parks and business centres of international renown are situated along the way: the Dolder Grand Hotel and spa, ice rink, golf courses, FIFA headquarters, Zurich Zoo, University of Zurich Irchel campus and, last but not least, ETH Hönggerberg. Near Grünwald, high above the Gubrist tunnel within sight of the A1 but far, far away from any traffic congestion, is the place to be at peace with oneself. The motorway and the Limmat are swiftly crossed in Oberengstringen, then the course climbs past the old Schlieren gasworks through the foothills of the Uetliberg. Dense deciduous forests, the lungs of the city, now swallow up the mountain bikers, with only occasional glimpses of Zurich's sea of houses. There's no time to stop and enjoy the view, however. It's now vital to summon up any remaining strength because the approach to the day’s finish line via Triemli and Albisgüetli will sap energy reserves prior to the descent to the Saalsporthalle for the final departure on Metropolitan Saturday.

NEW DISCIPLINE AT THE GIGATHLON SWITZERLAND 2017

Because the Gigathlon Switzerland 2017 is to run right through the heart of the city to make the most of Zurich’s unique attractiveness, we are going to dispense with the traditional inline discipline in 2017 for traffic- and sporting-related reasons. This does not mean that inline will be struck from the list of Gigathlon disciplines forever.

City Trailrun, the new fifth discipline, will cause quite a stir among gigathletes as it will require them to discover and negotiate Zurich’s best spots, squares and parks on unfamiliar paths. The City Trailrun challenges less the gigathletes' endurance and more their skill, flexibility, alertness, curiosity and sense of adventure.

What is a City Trailrun?
The 
City Trailrun is an additional foot race involving running up and down steps, through water, over bridges and through underpasses. In terms of ability, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to manage this discipline. It is neither an orienteering course nor a Fisherman’s Friend StrongmanRun. A cool urban race for everyone.

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