Silvesterlauf is a winter fun run through Zürich city in mid December. The course goes through the old town and along the river, where you can enjoy the Christmas décor as you run. Distances range from 1.5 km to 8.5 km, with a variety of race categories: families, school classes, charity events, costumed fun run and elite racers. It’s a fun tradition we suggest for anyone living in or visiting Zürich during this time.
This year, Silversterlauf happens on Sunday 11.December 2022. The family races start around 11:00, children at 12:00 and fun run at 18:20 so you can run with the Christmas lights all lit up. People dress in costume for the fun run, you should too! Even if you aren’t running, it’s fun to stop by just to see the costumes.
You can register online up until Dec 4, 2022. Prices range from about CHF 19-54 depending on the run category. You get a small discount for registering before 7 Nov 2022. The EWZ energy company sponsors the event and offers a 50% discount for EWZ customers if you register by 7 Nov 2022. Learn more.
In the days before the race, you have to pick up your start number at SportXX Migros City at Löwenstrasse 31-35, 8001 Zürich, near the Zürich HB. Start numbers are available for pickup on 9-10 Dec 2022 9:00–20:00 and Sun 11 Dec 2022 (race day) 9:00–18:00. You will not receive your race number by mail.
Here are some of the run categories you might be interested in.
- Familien. 1.4 km loop for family teams. A team is 3-6 people including 1-2 parents (or grandparents) and 1 to 5 of their children born in 2014 or younger. Race starts around 11:00.
- Kinder U10 – U14. 1.5 km loop for children born in 2009-2013. This group starts around 12:00, with groups staggered based on age and gender.
- Jugendliche U16 – U18. 2.7 km loop for children
- Eltern/Kind. 1.5 km loop for parent child teams. Teams may be 1 parent with a child born in 2005 to 2008. Race time start around 12:50, grouped by child age.
- Run for Fun. 5.5 km loop for those born in 2010 or older. You are encouraged to wear a costume and prizes are given to the best ones. Starts at 18:20.
The run start point is at Zürich Limmatquai near the Bellevue tram stop (see on map). The races end near Bürkliplatz (see on map), where you’ll also find an info booth, lockers, changing rooms, toilets and food.
The map below shows the course. Each category has a different distance, perhaps running only a portion of the course and/or running loops. During your run, the course is clearly marked for your specific race category, easy to follow.
How to get there
It’s best to take public transportation to reach the race since some roads will be closed and there will be more traffic than usual.
If you are coming from outside Zurich, the closest train station is Zürich Stadelhofen, less a five min walk from the race start. If you arrive at Zürich HB (main train station), you can ride tram 7, 11 or 13 to Zürich Paradeplatz, which is a short walk from the start point. Note that trams & buses will be diverted to avoid the race course.
Near the start point, there are a variety of services at Zürich Bürkliplatz, including an info booth, info booth, lockers, changing rooms, toilets and food stands. I was worried that all the lockers would be full, but we didn’t have problem getting on when we arrived around 17:45 for the Run for Fun. The lockers we used required a CHF 2 coin to use. Some people simply leave their jackets and non-valuables in the changing rooms.
How to dress
Temperatures in Zürich in December typically range from about 35-50 F (2-10 C) in the daytime and about 25-35 F ( -4 to 2 C) in the evenings. If you are doing one of the short loops with children, you could probably dress warmly as you won’t be running long enough to warm up.
We did the Run for Fun, starting at 18:20 and the temperature was about 3C. So we wore heavy jackets to the race and took them off about 20 mins before our start time, storing them in a locker. I wore long-sleeved thick running shirt and winter running tights. We brought thin running gloves and Santa hats for the race, but quickly shed those after about 10 mins of running because we got very warm.
If you are doing the Run for Fun, most people are wearing costumes, some simple and some very elaborate. Most costumes are Christmas themed, but not all.
Videos & photos
They have several photographers and videographers along the race taking official photos and videos. You can see one sitting below on the right.
You can download a highlights video that includes you in the race, like the one below.
You can also see the photos online (search using your race number) and download them for a fee. They will send you a race photo that you can purchase for CHF 13.80.
A few of my pictures from the race. I was running, so the pics aren’t the best quality. I’ll try to take better pics next year.
The course goes through the Zürich old town, which is really charming with the lights and decorations.
This is the end of the race, right before you reach Bürkliplatz where the changing rooms are.