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#swisshistorypics Fifty years of going flat out on frozen Swiss lakes

Switzerland’s largest cross-country ski race is turning 50. On Sunday 14,200 athletes will take part in the Engadine Ski Marathon. 

Images of endless lines of skiers snaking across frozen lakes have become a trademark of Switzerland as a winter sport location. The 42-kilometre (26-mile) race is the most popular in the country – to the extent that organisers have been forced to limit the number of places in order to guarantee the event’s quality. 

When a group of stalwarts got together in 1969 for the first Engadine Ski Marathonexternal link, they were probably unaware that they were real pioneers. Today, similar events pop up everywhere in all endurance sports. The aim is always to attract thousands of hobby athletes to the region where the event is being held. 

The images document the development of the marathon from a local cross-country run for a few people bitten by the cross-country skiing bug to a massive sporting and logistical event, which attracts not only hobby skiers but also the world’s top professionals.

(All images: Keystone)

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