Have you ever heard of Liechtenstein, a tiny European country in the middle of the Alps? It is only 24.8km long and 12.4 kilometers wide. But it turns out you can run a Marathon there. So I ran 42.195kilometers from North to South and 1800m of elevation gain from the bottom to the top at the LGT Alpin Marathon as part of my 12 Marathons in 12 Months project.
Liechtenstein is such a small country that it does not have its own airport. The closest big airport is Zurich, the next local airports are Altenrhein and Friedrichshafen. From the airport you can either take a train to Buchs in Switzerland or car to Bendern, where the Marathon start is.
Pre Race and Liechtenstein Marathon Bib Pick Up
The start of the race as well as the bib pick up is located at the “Ospelt Anstalt”, which is basically a sausage factory. (the first time I drove past I could totally smell the sausages) You park on the company’s premises, and bib pick up is in the company canteen on the third floor. Bib pick up is possible on Friday evening or Saturday early morning until right before the race. But as there are not a lot of people running the race there are basically no queues. Unless it is for the free breakfast buffet that they have set up.
LGT Alpin Marathon Course
The first 10km of the race go from Bendern along the Rhein river to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. There you pass the city center and subsequently climb towards Vaduz castle, one of the most scenic parts of the race. From kilometer 10 to 22 it is then fairly constant climbing, sometimes on road, sometimes on trails until you reach the first summit at 1500m. From there it is a nice downhill run towards the “Half Marathon +” mark at 25km. This is also where the relay switch takes place. The next 10km are mostly only on trails until you reach the top at 1770m. Even if the weather is nice it will be quite cold and windy up there. The course then decends downhill and around the valley of Malbun where you can actually see the finish line for the last 5km. You finish with the most beautiful mountains in the background.
The finish line area is very well equipped with food stalls, chairs and tables and to my surprise showers and even hairdryers. The showers were not great, but the water was hot and did the job. There was also a shuttle bus that took us back to the start. Fun fact: they did not give us a medal at the finish line, but a different kind of race bling: a sparkly Swarovski pen.
you basically pass the two most important sight while running the LGT Alpin Marathon course: The Vaduz Castle and the Modern Art Museum Liechtenstein. But of course you can’t stop during the Marathon, so you should totally come back and visit them the next day.