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Run, Basel, Run

One of the most popular forms of exercise, running is rapidly growing in prominence throughout the Basel region.  Be it performance athletics or recreational jogging, the city offers a multitude of events and opportunities year-round.


By Ella Revitt

Running has one advantage: you can do it anywhere, any time. Basel also has its share of runners – you find them along the Rhine, in the various parks, on the tracks of sports grounds, or even in fitness centres on the treadmills. And we have all heard of the health benefits of running until the cows come home – sometimes quite literally in Switzerland.

However, the racing experience is one of a kind.  By bringing people together, everyone has something to gain from these races.  Expect commitment from organisers, persistence from competitors and support from spectators in a wholesome, happy event. This north-west region of Switzerland is a hub for competitive and recreational runners, with plenty of prospects for all. For those new to the area or looking to participate in an organised race, The Basel Journal lists a few – without claiming the list to be complete.


Picture courtesy of Basler Bruggelauf

Basler Bruggelauf
At a glance: this event is advertised as “Basel’s most beautiful 10 miles” – and it certainly allows runners to experience the best of both Gross- and Kleinbasel. The 16.1km route takes runners along the Rhine for a total of three different loops. For young athletes or those preferring a short distance, 1.2km, 3km and 6km categories are also on offer.
Something special: focusing particularly on health and wellness, the event organisers emphasise the family appeal and friendly nature of this local race.
Be aware: watch out for the heat!  As a summer race, runners should ensure they can handle potentially high temperatures.  While a largely flat race, the course does feature some sharp hills, turns and sections on cobbles.
Date: Sunday 13 August 2017

Crossrun Therwil
At a glance: a relatively young event that was first organised in 2009 by the Crossklinik (a leading Swiss sports medicine clinic) and Leichtathletik-Verein Therwil (LCT).  The challenging and undulating courses, ranging from 1.3km to 10km, showcase the beautiful countryside of Baselland.
Something special: although small-scale, the casual atmosphere of the race attracts both club and recreational runners, and the welcoming environment helps make this race memorable.
Be aware: due to the somewhat remote location of this event, the collection of start numbers is in the Therwil centre, around a 1km walk from the start.
Date: Sunday 3 September 2017



IWB Basel Marathon
At a glance: with a new format this year, it is important to note that, unlike previous years where a full individual marathon race was held, only a half-marathon (21.1km) or 10km distance are now on offer for individuals. However, with that also comes the chance for teams (be it companies, clubs, families or friends) to participate in relays of half or full marathon distances.
Something special: the route will differ from previous years, being a series of loops around the Altstadt. The organisers have focused on centralising the race, which should dramatically improve spectatorship in the city centre.
Be aware: runners may need to be flexible for the 2017 event.  That being said, the organisers have no doubt worked very hard to ensure a smooth, successful run for all involved.
Date: Sunday 24 September 2017

Muttenzer Herbstlauf
At a glance: heading towards falling temperatures, this race combines both the town and landscape of Muttenz to provide athletes with 10km and 5.6km courses (and shorter distances for children). The feature of the race – with the läckerli prizes even being awarded in a cardboard model – is the church in in the centre of Muttenz, which can be seen at various points throughout the race.
Something special: start and finish are located at the Margelacker track, so the organisation by TV Muttenz and the council is excellent.  The autumnal months are some of the best to run in.
Be aware: The locality of this event means the participant numbers are sometimes low, and consequently the course may feel a touch lonely at times.
Date: Sunday 22 October 2017

Augusta Raurica Lauf
At a glance: the oldest race in Baselland, this event has history all over it, set in the majestic Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica.  Complete with trumpet players dressed in tunics, the hilly 12km race goes from Augst to Liestal, featuring picturesque countryside in between.  As with most runs in the Basel area, this also provides a shorter 5.5km distance, children’s races and a walking event.
Something special: popular with many from the region and beyond, in recent years all distances have featured some quality competition, complete with quick times, despite the undulation.
Be aware: parking can be busy, so if driving, provide plenty of time for arrival.  Also note that the timings of the events are quite spread out.
Date: Sunday 12 November 2017


When running is more important than Christmas shopping (picture courtesy of www.stadtlauf.ch)

Basler Stadtlauf
At a glance: the pinnacle of the Basel running calendar!  This race coincides with the first weekend of the Christmas Market, so as competitors run through the inner city, they are guided by the Christmas lights and decorations. Both the start at Münsterplatz and finish at Marktplatz are lively and festive, while the entire route boasts many supporters.  Adults run two laps, totalling 5.5km, while children run one lap of 3.25km, or a shorter 0.9km down Freie Strasse.
Something special: the elite races have previously featured exciting international calibre!
Be aware: While over 9000 participants (at last year’s 34th Stadtlauf) contribute to the incredible atmosphere, races can quickly become congested, so if aiming for a fast time, try and get to the front at the start.  With so many children, it can also feel a little overwhelming; however, there are plenty of emergency services and meeting points to remain safe.
Date: Saturday 25 November 2017

Allschwiler Klausenlauf
At a glance: For those looking for festive racing spirit in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Allschwil’s race has plenty to offer.  Leading and trailing bikers, finisher-gift presenters and organisers dress in St. Nikolas outfits, with their race logo being an iconic reindeer.  Particularly important for the junior categories, local clubs also compete for the overall prize.
Something special: this is a true family occasion, with the event epitomising Christmas festivities.  Additionally, the warmth of the large school hall and hot post-race meals helps keep spirits of both parents and youngsters high.
Be aware: Only one week after the Stadtlauf, those with less experience should be wary of racing too often and may need to adapt their training to cater to these races.
Date: Sunday 3 December 2017

At a glance: A race growing in popularity, the 10km course along the Birs river, beginning at St Jakob, is flat, fast and enjoyable.  With no awards or categories, this is simply an opportunity for athletes to test themselves.
Something special: registration for the Birslauf is completely free!
Be aware: Although on roads for the initial section, the course does narrow onto trails as it hits the river, which can make it difficult to overtake.
Date: Saturday 7 April 2018

At a glance: a unique experience of entering three different countries in one race, the Dreilanderlauf half marathon runs through Switzerland, France and Germany.  For those not quite ready for such a feat, 10.3km and student races are also held.
Something special: Included in the entrance fee is a race T-Shirt, and the post-race celebration at Marktplatz is not to be missed.
Be aware: Previously, organisation of this race had been a bit hit-or-miss; however, it has dramatically improved over the last two years, with all events running very smoothly.
Date: Sunday 27 May 2018


Some further information about running in Basel and Switzerland:
Athletics Association of Basel:
Swiss Athletics:
Swiss Running:
Basel Dragons Running Club:
Basel Hash House Harriers:

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