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Matterhorn UltraK: Running Uphill In Honor of Dad

Ten summers ago, my dad and I stood at the top of the Gornergrat train station admiring the snow-capped peaks around us, hoping that the clouds would give way to a clear view of the Matterhorn. The clouds eventually retreated into other corners of the sky to reveal an unobstructed view from the valley below. In awe, we gazed at the full pyramidal shaped magnificence of the Matterhorn in front of us.

Dad had a special love for the Matterhorn. Since his passing, I have felt a desire to come back to visit this area to relive some of our shared memories through soaking in the wonder of this Swiss-Alp landscape.

In dad’s honor and in deep gratitude for the love of nature and life that he has instilled in me, I chose to participate in the Mountain race of the Matterhorn UltraK – a 32 km race with a 2000m (~6500ft) elevation gain.

It was a race like no other – with such steep mountainous terrain, you could call it more of a group hike uphill and a run downhill, because it seemed that’s what many of us were doing.

The mountains know how to present their challenges: you think you’re almost to the summit and then around that next corner, you realize that the trail continues to wind and zig-zag further uphill. You thought the beginning of this section was steep but what’s ahead looks to be even steeper.

The sign that says “100m Vertical Gain to Summit” presents hope and despair at the same time – it’s only 100 more meters but up…but it’s another 100 more meters up after the last 600!!

Those ants in the background are runners climbing uphill

But everyone ahead of you keeps on pushing through, one steep step after another, and that keeps you going. People from many different nations (although a majority were Swiss and French), different age groups and walks of life, who at the moment the race starts all become one.

One group of runners focused on conquering their fears and doubts.

One community of humans who are there to enjoy the breath-taking journey through the rocky terrain with views of the Matterhorn. All hoping to make it to the finish line in the same condition as they started, maybe just a bit more exhausted but forever enriched by the experience.

It is always humbling and inspiring to be in the presence of other runners during a race – I think of all the hours of training they put in, the challenges they’ve overcome and the reasons they’re racing in the first place.

We’re all in this together, just working on bettering ourselves, on pushing our limits so that we can taste what it feels like to be just a little bit stronger than we thought we were, to expand the idea of what we thought was possible in our lives.

Dad, here’s to you and our love of this world that still runs so deeply through my veins. ❤ Perhaps it is this love that fuels my crazy desires to want to experience it all while I am still alive because I am well aware that our time in this physical plane is limited.

This life may be fragile but the inter-connectedness that runs through it all is Infinite.

We are all just walking each other home - back to our full potential, our soul-inspired sense of love, freedom, and joy.

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? If you re-draw the line of your limits and expanded your idea of what is possible for you?

If every possibility was within reach?

How persistent, patient, and courageous would you be if you knew that there is no way to not reach your target?

What limitations that you took on from others would you throw aside to let your true potential shine?

What if the success of many others depends on you stepping fully into the light of who you know yourself to be?

❤ SO

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