Twenty-nine waves of no more than 500 racers make up the new starting grid of the Engadin Skimarathon. This modification to the arguably biggest cross-country skiing event in the Alps leads to more room for each participant in the starting area and promises to reduce individual waiting times. Ensuring the health of all participants and volunteers is of prime importance to the organisers of the Engadin Skimarathon. The new starting format contributes significantly to that aim.
The new starting format in waves gives more structure to the course of events before the start – as a result, participants no longer need to rush to Maloja at the crack of dawn to reserve a front-row spot in their respective category. Instead, arriving 60 to 80 minutes ahead of one's starting time will be sufficient. Athletes will only be able to enter the starting area 25 to 40 minutes before the start of their respective wave; arriving ahead of time no longer bears an advantage.
Easier social distancing before the race
Setting off in smaller waves will also ease the course of the race: «Until 2019, the race ran in 8 categories of up to 3,700 participants each; this year, we will have waves of no more than 500 participants,» explains Menduri Kasper, Managing Director of the Engadin Skimarathon. Racers within each wave will have very comparable performance levels.
The new starting format is an indirect consequence of the pandemic: «Starting in waves gives each participant more space at the start and gets rid of the pushing and shoving. Each racer has about four times as much space as in the former starting boxes. This is a good way of allowing for social distancing, which has become so important during the pandemic,» Menduri Kasper adds. The organising committee is looking forward to launching the new starting format. «I expect racers to be very pleased with this improvement,» says Kasper confidently.
The event website provides further details on the new starting format. The organisers strongly advise all participants of the Engadin Skimarathon to become acquainted with the new starting format.
The starting format for all other races of the Engadin Skimarathon week remains unchanged, given that they are much smaller in size.
Details on the new starting format can be found at
Christian Gartmann has been the communications and media officer for the Engadin Skimarathon since 2014.