Zurich hosts Europe's top athletes This is the country's second time as a host. The last was way back in 1954. Allison Turner finds out more.

Issue: 3 / 2014
With an estimated 25,000 spectators per day, the European Athletics Championships Zurich 2014 will be the biggest meet in Switzerland this year.

Excitement is heating up for an event where nearly one and a half thousand athletes will compete in 47 different events. Around 40 competitors are from the host nation. One of them is the fastest man in Switzerland, the 100m record holder Alex Wilson, who's based in Basel. I asked Alex how he feels about competing so close to home, and he said he couldn't wait, adding "I think because it's at home I will perform much better".

The Letzigrund stadium is also home to the annual Weltklasse Zürich, the one-day athletics event, and as such is primed for the six-day championship. Each day will include a variety of men's and women's running, jumping and throwing events. There are men's and women's running races from 100m to 10,000m; the 4x100 and 4x400 relays; hurdles and steeple events; high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump; and the four throwing events: shot, discus, hammer, and javelin. Only men compete in the decathlon; the corresponding event for women is the heptathlon.

The other event for men only is the 50k walk, on Friday morning, which goes back and forth along the Limmat. The 20k walk follows the same route, covering it fewer times: Wednesday morning for women and Thursday morning for men.

The marathons will loop through the city four times: From Bürkliplatz along the lake to Mythenquai, up to the ETH (almost 50 metres higher), back down to Zürihorn, returning to Bürkliplatz. The women's event is Saturday morning and the men's Sunday morning. You can watch Swiss marathon great Viktor Röthlin and the others from your favourite vantage point along the routes: it's free and the entire route is open to the public.

The organizers are stressing that this year's event is more than a sporting event. The House of Switzerland that was built for the Sochi Olympics was designed to be reusable, and it will be rebuilt on Sechseläutenplatz for the City Festival accompanying the championship. Meet friends and some of the top athletes there, and after dark watch video installations on the façade of the Opera House.

Zürich 2014 takes place from 12 to 17 August, check it out in the Hello Switzerland Events Calendar.

For more information visit the official website of Zürich 2014.

Author: Allison Turner

From Montreal, Canada, Allison was the Hello Switzerland editor for Zurich, Zug, Luzern and Schaffhausen. Allison is an English teacher, and mother to two fearless teenage girls.

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