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If you think the 4-person relay at the Delaware Marathon Running Festival was long, tough, and crowded, take a look at another kind of racing a Creek Road Runner is doing in Switzerland (also see the recent exploits of CRR Paul Amer).

photo of Martin Wolfer during the SOLA relayCRR Martin Wolfer, a native of the Zürich area, has been running in what we would consider an ultra-distance relay for more than three decades. He explains, “[This] relay was invented in 1973 and was inspired by a Swedish relay race. It’s organized by the sport club of the two Zürich Universities—ETH Zürich and University of Zürich. It consists of 14 legs, with distances between 4 [2.5 mi.] and 14 km [8.7 mi.]. The overall distance is about 116 km [72 mi.], and the winning time is just under seven hours.”

The race is held around Zürich, mostly on the hilly parts along the Lake of Zürich. All relay transition areas are easily reachable by public transport, so no one needs a car. “This is a necessity,” Wolfer says, “because this year about 900 teams took part and the roads couldn’t take the traffic.” Participants are mainly students or alumni of either of the two universities.

Wolfer adds, “Of course there is a big party after the race. If the University of Delaware intends to participate next year, I certainly could help.”

This was Wolfer’s 32nd time running in this relay. He finished 6th fastest in his division, and his team came in 17th overall.

Wolfer trained on Creek Road back in the late 1980s while a post-doc in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware. A superior competitor, by the time he had returned to Switzerland, Wolfer held the Delaware resident age-group (25-29) records in both the 5k and the marathon! Those records have since been broken, though they held up for 20 and 16 years, respectively. In 1988 he helped the Creek Road Runners team comprising seven University of Delaware runners place second overall in the silver anniversary edition of the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon.

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