The dancer

Trailrunning with Fränzi Gissler

Trailrunning mit Fränzi Gissler.
Fränzi Gissler auf einem Trail oberhalb der Bergstation Motta Naluns.

Light-footed Fränzi Gissler, the running specialist in the Engadine, runs on a varied trail above the Motta Naluns mountain station through the magnificent landscape of the national park region. Every step fits, feels stable and good. She confidently jumps over a small heel and lands safely again. She is in her rhythm, "in the flow, the feeling when everything is just right," as she describes the unique running experience. It's almost like a dance with the conditions of the trail, the stones and roots that are in front of her.

Trail running is like a little journey where you don't know what the end result will be. You start a story with an open end and you can finish it yourself.

Fränzi Gissler in Valsot im Unterengadin, Schweiz.
Auf einem Trail in Valsot im Unterengadin.

Runner with passion

Running, the need to move in the soothing nature, has always been in her. Growing up near Basel, close to Alsace, Fränzi was always drawn to the outdoors as a child. Full of joy, she runs across the fields and meadows in her neighborhood. It is her own way of playing. The feeling of freedom that she loved so much back then remains unchanged to this day.  
The private pleasure has finally turned into a vocation. In addition to studying geography, Fränzi Schweizer became a duathlon and triathlon national team member, triathlon leader as well as a member of the Salomon Trail Running Team - to give just a small excerpt of her diverse, athletic career.  

Trailrunning im Unterengadin, Schweiz.
Zusammen mit einer Gruppe auf Motta Naluns bei Scuol.

Making dreams come true: The running school in the Engadine

Sfänzi Gissler felt early on that she wanted to pass on her passion for running to others, and she decided to found a running school. In her search for the ideal location, she finally came across Scuol in the Lower Engadine.

Everything simply fits here. The intact nature of the Lower Engadine with numerous side valleys offers plenty of opportunities for running at all altitudes and levels of difficulty. Picturesque, authentic Engadine villages with mineral water fountains and the Romanesque culture in the border triangle fascinate me. The perfect connection to public transport and the possibility to get back home every hour, even from remote villages, ensures carefree running pleasure.

During her running courses, Fränzi wants to take away the uncertainty and doubt of her guests as to whether they can manage to run in a mountain region. Her experience that this is possible and that the course participants can enjoy the feeling of nature and freedom motivates her again and again.

People feel that they can do more than they first think.

The right running technique is what counts

As with many sports, technique is an important factor in the enjoyment of trail running.

The goal should be to run uphill as energy-efficiently as possible and downhill as gently as possible.

When running uphill, arm movement plays a big role. The better you can manage with the use of your arms, the better you can use your legs and save energy.  
Downhill, try to take the focus off the legs and feet, otherwise you will cramp up. The most important thing is to focus on the torso. This is what holds the body. The legs remain free so that they can adapt to the different terrain and you can play with the trail or even dance.  

Der kleine Bergsee Lai Nair im Unterengadin. Bild: Dominik Täuber.
Der kleine Bergsee Lai Nair oberhalb von Tarasp.

Fränzi's favorite trails

When asked which is her favorite trail, Fränzi smiles and says that it's beautiful everywhere in the Engadine. But there are some special places for her. From Scuol via Vulpera up to the small mountain lake Lai Nair is definitely one of them. This is a place of strength for her, where she can really perceive herself and nature. She is also enthusiastic about the way back, past the magnificent castle scenery at Tarasp and finally along the rushing Alpine river, the Inn. She can also recommend the Clozza Trail, which leads through a wild gorge, or the high-altitude trail from Motta Naluns down to the proud Engadine village of Sent, which is rich in views. The variety of routes in the Lower Engadine make the hearts of runners beat faster.

 

Text and pictures: Dominik Täuber.

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