Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012 Ironman Switzerland, Zürich Race Report

Prologue

After the “fun and games” of 2011’s Ironman Switzerland adventure I had decided to sign up again one boring, cold winter night, with the idea that I could put right all the mistakes from last year, while training harder on my swim and bike skills, and take a massive chunk out of 12 hours 48 minutes and 13 seconds.

2012 hasn’t really gone the way I wanted, illness in May, over worked, life getting in the way, so it wasn’t a perfect lead up to the race in any way, but then again it never is for anyone, that’s what happens when your trying to fit stupid amounts of training into an already packed schedule.

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2011 vs 2012 training volume

Getting back to that illness, which I think was caused by not using earplugs when swimming, which lead to an ear infection, which lead to a respiratory infection, so my fault, anyway, this resulted to a measly 15 hours of training in May, compared to 26 in 2011, and consider six and half of those were spent at the Cyclotour du Léman, a 180KM sportive around Lausanne lake, something I would have dropped out of if I hadn’t already paid upfront from a starting place and Hotel room, you can see I’d done hardly any training at all in May. On the upside I’d managed to knock out 24 hours in June, up from 20 in 2011, although this had been all at an easy pace trying to regain some base fitness after being on my ass for weeks on end.

The week leading into the race I had two other problems, firstly on my last taper swim I couldn’t make it to my normal pool so headed to the local 50 metre outdoor pool after work,  I was expecting the water to be cold but with the sun out all day it was fairly warm and I started to knock out some easy laps, I felt rubbish from the start, not a big deal, what I wasn’t expecting though was to suffer some of the worse cramps I’d ever experienced only 10 laps in, these were so bad I had to stop immediately as I nearly sunk. The remainder of the week my right leg was aching, by Sunday it had gone but it might just explain the issues on the bike later on…

To add to this I was gluten poisoned while testing some High5 energy bars I got especially for the race…

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Wiggle labelled these as Gluten free…

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But clearly there aren’t, as per High5’s website

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Two days leading into race day I spent most of the time, ahem, on the shitter……which was nice, unsettled guts going into an Ironman is not the best preparation.

So, a lot of things didn’t go to plan, it was no way perfect, but when is it ever perfect?  I really do not believe that I would have squeezed much more out of my 2012, no matter about the training I missed and the health issues. so these events are in no way excuses for what happened on the day.

I managed to get down to the race briefing this year, I have to say I liked the changes they had made, a big tent on the Landiwiese with lots more seating…

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and plenty of seating outside for friends, family and bikes..

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Swim

Conditions on Friday were perfect..

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..but not so much on Saturday and by Sunday we were set for Rain, luckily on the morning of the race the sky was pretty much clear and the conditions were good. The plan was to go out fairly hard and try and get nearer 1 hour 20 minutes, it was going to be tough and it turned out that way, they say to cruise on the swim, I can’t cruise I just float, I found myself pushing hard but getting surrounded by too many other swimmers going at a similar pace, when that happens and there are no extra gears to move through it’s a case of being blocked, having to find another route or having to push and shove to get swimming space.

One decent thing about my swim was I was able to sight and find a straight swimming line on most of the swim, much better than in 2011.

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The first 1.9KM were decent, a similar time to 70.3 Rapperswil and although it didn’t feel like it on the second lap I must have paid heavily for it as the time was way down, looking back I can only think my arms tired, I remember the my hands started to feel cold in the water, temps around 20 degrees.

For all that pushing, huffing and puffing I managed to come out with a time of 1:27:47, a couple of minutes faster than last year.

Bike

The bike this year was a bit like the Tour of Switzerland, there were so many people drafting, like these jokers below…

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Drafting Jokers

I was hopeful, after putting in more bike work, that I could get my time down to around 6 hours this year, last year I’d run out of energy having not eaten enough throughout the ride, the good news is I got it right this year, eating little but often throughout, the bad news is that during the second lap of the bike I started to get sciatic nerve problems on the right hand side, similar to what happened at Rapperswil but ten times as painful. I was in enough pain to just want to quit there and then, I nearly stopped, turned around and went back to transition.

While the first loop of the bike had been spot on, around 3 hours, the second half was just slow and painful, and I was being passed constantly, not good for anyone's ego. I trailed in after 6 hours 26 minutes and 30 seconds, about 3 minutes 30 seconds better than last year.

Of course, the GoPro was hooked up to the bike and here's some footage of the day and the first loop of the  bike course...


Run

I enjoyed the run, after taking my time in transition and hitting the portaloos…as my guts had started to play up by this point post “glutengate”, I was happy to be out running and couldn't help smile as the rain started to piss down as I passed volunteers handing out wet sponges while dressed in plastic macs to keep dry.

I settled into a nice 6 minute per KM pace and knocked out the first 18KM before I had to hit the portaloos again, this was the point when my run fell apart, after the comfort break I couldn't get back into a rhythm, I switched off and began to walk, 30 minutes later I was still walking , by that point it had stopped raining, I had a few jokes along the way with spectators, telling me to get moving, it was probably the best point of the whole race, then it started to rain again, with near enough a half marathon to go, and wind and thunder thrown into the mix, it was enough for me to speed up and get moving. Two hours and a bit later and I had finished, and despite of the crap that had happened I still managed to knock out a marathon time of 4 hours 32 minutes and 53 seconds and a new Ironman PB of 12:39:44.

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Epilogue

I have to admit, one of the first things I said when asked how I felt after the race was to say “I never want to do another one of those again” whatever I had on the day I’d put everything I could into it. Since then I’ve mellowed a bit on those words, I’d like to go again, the real issue I have is putting in all those hours, looking forward to something all year, to see it all go wrong due to illness, it’s pretty disappointing, when you throw in the cost involved it really adds that extra bit of ouch to proceedings.I will be going again, at some point in the future, it may even be next year, who knows, work is getting in the way of training, spending time with my boy is more important to me and the cost of these events is so high it gets to the point where you need five credit cards just to sign up, so lots to consider.

I think now is a good time to finish this blog up, thanks to everyone who has left comments and taken the time to read, hopefully anyone who happens to stumble across it might find the info I've included of some use.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

2012 Ironman 70.3 Switzerland Rapperswil-Jona Race Report


Prologue

First up I’ll make an apology, this report is going to be pretty downbeat. Four weeks leading into this event I had one of the best training sessions of the year and things were going well, three days later I started to come down with what I thought at the time was just a cold, over the next three weeks it turned into a sinus infection, and a virus that is still lingering up until today.
 
The week leading up to the event I was a misery to be around, in a pretty pissy mood, and not looking forward to it at all, if I was a pro, or someone with money to burn, I would have definitely dropped out, missing four important weeks of training and still suffering from the tale end of a virus meant taking part was pretty stupid in all honesty.
 
The plan at the beginning of the year had been to go go under 5 hours 30 minutes, if, and it’s a big if, I had been well leading right up to the race I strongly believe I would have hit the goal, and that is why I was so pissed about the whole thing. I don’t have much free time to fit training in, like most of us amateur Triathletes, I have a job which involves a lot of anti-social hours, I have a kid I love to spend time with, if it’s spending time with my son or training then my son wins every time, I’m not a selfish, self obsessed parent, time is at a premium, to spend that small about of free time I have training and then get ill has been hard to take, then again, on the other hand if that’s the only thing I have to complain about then things must be good ;-)

Rapperswil transition
the old "picture of bikes racked"
Conditions on Saturday looked perfect, the sun was out, I took a quick swim in the lake along the swim course buoys and the water was a perfect temperature for wetsuit swimming, chances were that come race day it would be a mixed bag of sun and rain, and unfortunately that is how it ended up.
 
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Lake Zuerich, along the swim start, the day before the event
Swim

What can be said about a triathlon swim leg that hasn’t been said before, normally every blog write up involves the words “washing machine”, but really, is a triathlon swim really like being in a washing machine?? How the hell would I know! when was the last time you were in a washing machine? ;-)
 
Lets keep it simple

Times kicked full in the stomach = 1
Times pushed head first into the lake = 1
Times full mouth of water gulped due to being dunked =1
 
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Another view of the Lake on Saturday, just because it's amazing!!

For anyone who hasn’t taken part in an open water swim before and fears it, let’s be clear that the list above is only really going to happen to you if you decide to start at the front of the swim start. I think, and I hope, that in Ironman racing, amongst the age group athletes at least, most participants aren’t out purposely trying to kick, punch or flatten other swimmers, there is a lot of bravado about how in the swim “I kick this person, or punch the other” if you’re thinking this way have a word with yourself, you’re an idiot.

Point is, if you want to go quick, you may have to give a polite reminder to a fellow competitor that you are in a certain space in the water and if they want to get past they will need to find another path, this may involved a few extra kicks of the feet (as an example) but that’s as far as it needs to go */steps off soapbox/*
 
While I'm on the subject, here's how not to treat your fellow competitors....
 

During my swim I did spend a lot of time next to Mr Orca (for he was wearing an Orca wetsuit) we were for a lot of the distance going at the same pace, bouncing off each other and generally all over the top of each other, it’s just one of those things, never take it personally ;-)
 
If I ever do another race report my swim part will from now on be one sentence, I really can’t make a 1.9KM swim sound any more exciting than it is to actually take part in. Hopefully all further swim reports will read something like this…

Felt decent, kept swimming, got out of the water at the end, and that was that.The swim this year was one of the more positive sides of this race, turning in a time of 38:35 minutes (2010’s time: 40.10) a nice little 1 minute 35 second best time.

Bike

I really took my time in transition 1, between swim and bike, I wasn’t in a rush at all, I knew I had to try my best to treat it as a training session, to avoid making myself any more ill than I had been.
 
The climbs on the Rapperswil course didn’t seem so daunting to me as they had in previous years, hopefully that’s a big pay off from the mountain bike training I put in this year. I suffered a little on the second loop, and my sciatic nerve flared up in my right leg which meant I had to block out a fair bit of pain for 90 minutes, but considering my fitness I was fairly happy with breaking 3 hours with 2:59:52 (2011’s time: 3:03:24)

Here's a few highlights captured on my GoPro..

1. As you head out of T1 and onto the course you turn and are faced with a beautiful view of the lake and the mountains behind...

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2. The climb up the Witches Hill passes this nice little church, quaint...isn't it ;-)

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3. Here is just one of the causalities I saw walking up the Witches Hill, second loop in..I don't blame them!!

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4. This made me laugh at the time, half way up the Witches Hill someone had written LANGSAM (SLOWLY) :-D

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5. The start of The Beast, how nice of them to label it just in case you hadn't noticed...

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6. The view as you reach the top of "The Beast" at Goldigen, it really is bliss to make it up to here..

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Finally, here's my customary video highlights from the bike split...




 
One thing which I only realised this year, after losing my garmin and having no GPS data last year, is that the Bike course at Rapperswil is around 5KM short, which is fairly shocking in my view.
 
Here’s my data from 2012, 85.1KM in total:
 
and in 2010, 84.9KM....
 
Obviously GPS isn’t going to be 100% accurate, but 5KM difference, twice, there’s has to be some truth in that, and if so it’s really shoddy of the organisers to be palming off a 85KM bike course (no matter how great it is to
 
ride) as a 90.1KM one.
 
This seems to be a real problem with official Ironman events, short bike course, short run course, and who knows about the swims!! (Just of note, my swim data, using the Garmin in the swimcap method, came up with a swim distance of 2KM). It matters to me, with the cost involved, you’d hope the distances would be near enough spot on and verified. It’s a big point for debate, I won’t discuss it further here, but if the course is short it really takes the piss, for want of better words.
 
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The final decent before heading back into T2, an amazing view across the lake.
Run

I really took my time in transition before heading out on the run, I knew from one test run I’d done during the week that something was still not right, with my heart rate all over the place. I sat there cleaning some sand off my feet and pondered if I should speed up and decided I really wasn’t that bothered.
 
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Check out the dude still with his areo helmet on using the urinal...speedy...
I can’t actually remember the last time I despised a run as much as this one, I felt crappy, the first 3KM where ok, pace wasn't amazing but I was at least moving, but then the bonking started, I felt unstable on my feet, had to start walking and couldn't stop wrenching, all good stuff.
 
The strange thing is this happened in the exact same place on the two laps of the course, just after a loop of a graveled path, ringed as the twilight zone in the image below, just after the twilight zone was an aid station and on both occasions I had to grab some water and whatever I could get my hands on and then the next few KM’s where spent running/walking. The gels I took around this point must have helped as I was able to start running again, getting around the course without issue.
 
Rapperswil run

I never thought I would finishing an Ironman event feeling deflated, disappointed and fairly pissed off, but that’s exactly how I felt when I finally finished the line in 5:48:20, funnily enough a 14 second best, enough to say to me that had I been able to train and not be suffering a virus then the 5:30 would have been within my grasp, all ifs and maybes of course, it’s just a shame it’s the last event here.

*****UPDATE: Rapperswil-Jona WILL return in 2013***

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The finishing chute, Saturday afternoon.
When picking up by bike to leave one of the volunteers looked at my bib and said ""Matthew, you don't seem so happy"...it must have been that obvious ;)

Epilogue

So, this week I've still been blowing out thick yellow gunk out of my nose, obviously not a good sign, the last few days have been better, but a run midweek showed a real high heart rate for the pace I was running at. It's four weeks till the full Ironman in Zuerich and I'm starting to wonder if I should think about taking up a cheaper and more sedate hobby like knitting. Let's see how it goes....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland “Review” and Tips

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*****UPDATE: Rapperswil-Jona WILL return in 2013***
It’s amazing to think that nearly a year has passed since I completed my second Ironman Switzerland 70.3, when I wrote up my race report shortly after I said at the time that it was my plan to also write up a review of the event as well, obviously I never got round to completing that task, and with the event a few weeks away I thought it was about time I fulfilled that promise.
 
Unfortunately this years 70.3 in Rapperswil will be it’s last, it seems mainly due to financial issues, possibly due to lack of spectators (out on the bike course for example) and participant interest, and while the first in 2007 sold out quickly, in the the following years it’s never really taken off, which is a real shame as it’s one hell of a great race hosted in a beautiful location.
 
so..instead of giving a full review of the event as whole, I thought I would give some tips on the run, bike and swim, which may just help a few first timers and average Ironman types like myself make the most of this amazing race.
 
Tip: The last two years have been hot, you will burn, so prepare, make sure you apply plenty of sunblock.
N.B There are no volunteers with sunblock, make sure you bring your own and apply before the race.

The Swim

The first thing to remember about the swim start and exit is there is approximately 150-200 metres between entering/exiting the water and your bike in transition.
 
When heading down to the start from transition you will have to factor in that you’ll be crossing the swim exit lane for anyone who might be exiting in age group phases who start before you, the lane from the swim exit to the transition area if taped off and manned at all times, and with so many spectators moving to and from the start area it can be very busy, you will have to wait your turn to get through.
 
Swim Tip: Get down to the swim start early, don’t get caught in human traffic moving between “standweg” and the swim start, see below or on the official website here

Capture

 

Of all the triathlons I’ve taken part in in Switzerland, this swim course is the best marked course bar none. It’s simple out and back, if you stick close to the buoys and keep an eye out you’ll easily be able to see how far you have travelled as they distances are conveniently marked along the way (as of 2011, hopefully this is still the case in 2012). See below, or on the official site here

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The swim starts in the water, so expect to be treading water for a while until the starting gun goes off.

Swim Tip: If you are a weak swimmer, wait in-shore and listen for the announcer counting down and move to the start line when the last minute is announced.

The swim is straight forward, strong swimmers want to get close to the buoys for the best racing line. When exiting, note that the lake floor is spongy, full of weeds and shells which can be sharp on the feet.

Swim Tip: Swim right up to the final metre of the swim exit, you will get bogged down in the spongy lake bottom, it's difficult to walk along the bottom and full of shells.

N.B There are NO wetsuit strippers at Rapperswil, you’ll need to remove your wetsuit yourself!

The Bike

Depending on your definition of what a climb is, you’ll either find Rapperswil bike pure hell or pure adrenaline, two laps of the course.

I asked Ronnie Schildknecht last year what was tougher, Rapperswil or the full Ironman Switzerland bike course, he said Rapperswil! Take note of the pro's words ;-)

First up, if you want more detail on the bike, you can see on my Strava data (from 2010) below or here:

 
Now, I need to point out I am not even an average cyclist, nor am I a climber of any sort, this was the longest road bike I’d ever done at the time and I suffered a lot. Tips or advice I can give may be utterly useless….just saying ;-) therefore my first tip is this

Bike Tip: If you can, ride the bike course a few days before the race, even if it’s just a slow scouting mission.
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The profile of one lap of the bike course
The first 10KM are virtually flat, with more downhill than up, if you’re chasing time then this is where you can hit it hard and make some up.
 
Once the honeymoon of the first 10KM is over you’ll hit the witches hill, if you are novice I say the following
 
Bike Tip: Before hitting witches hill, drop onto your smallest chainring and lowest gear and don’t push to hard, don't panic!
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The witches Hill - 1.5KM @ 6.7% average gradient
The climb is approximately 1.4KM in length with an average gradient of 6.7%, gradient vary, it can get near to 20% in places so be prepared and stay calm. Once you’re over witches hill you’ll have time to take a breathe and get back into a steady pace, there are some smaller downhill sections and flats to help.
 
Bike Tip: A water/aid station is situated at the top of witches hill, be ready to take on fluid
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You can now, if you like, grab some fuel and get some energy back, if you’re a powerhouse then this is a great time to push on, between the top of witches hill and the start of the Goldigen climb it’s fairly flat with some downhill as well.
 
The climb up to Goldigen is a killer, 4KM at an average of 5.5% gradient according to my Strava stats. If you’re a below average cyclist like me this section might just bore you death, it’s a grind, don’t complain I didn't warn you :-)
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The profile of the Goldigen climb, 4KM @ 5.5% average gradient, Cat 3
 
Tip: Don’t get caught it too low a gear, you’ll be on this climb for what seems like an eternity, once at the top it’s a rocket train back down to the start and loop 2.


Personally, Rapperswil is all about this climb, up to Goldigen, the second loop can make our break your bike split time. Once your at the top you're only worry is that you'll soon have to do it all over again, push on and make up time before you hit the witches hill for the second time.
 
Here's my bike split from last year, with some tips, check out that weather...amazing!
 
 
 
The Run

The run is pretty much your bog standard Ironman 70.3 run, 2 laps of 10KM of so. The only thing I can say here is that it has been hot the last two years, very hot, nearing 30 degrees Celsius (in the 80 degrees Fahrenheit range) and there is very little shade along the way. Be prepared!!
 
Run tip: Be prepared for heat, sunblock and good hydration are a must, take these into account, wear a run cap if needed.

...and by the way...enjoy the stairway to heaven ;)

Final thoughts and a found farewell to Rapperswil

I'll really miss Rapperswil, I never planned to race it this year, but once I knew it would not be on the calendar again I had to sign up.

It holds some great memories for me, being my first Ironman branded event, it set the standards I now judge other races by, great organisation, real friendly local spectators, which unfortunately seemed to have dwindled in numbers for the 2011 race (possibly to it overlapping with local holidays), great weather. Both years I have been there it's been hot, sunny, although it has rained late on into the day, which reminds me....

Tip: Make sure you have some waterproofs for after the race, just in case.

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Rapperswil, Thanks for the memories!





Monday, January 2, 2012

01.01.12 - Neujahrsmarathon, Zürich - Review & Race Report


Introduction

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http://www.neujahrsmarathon.ch/
The Neujahrsmarathon is an annual Marathon, that’s 26.2 Miles (42.195KM), held in Schlieren, just outside Zürich, Switzerland. The race starts bang on Midnight as the date changes to the 1st of January, so, while most are out already heavily drunk you can console yourself with the joy and pain of a full marathon in the dark along the banks of the Limmat (the main river which flows into lake Zürich)

Getting there


It’s public transport all the way for me when travelling to events, Schlieren is a few stops from Zürich central train station and the S-Bahns are frequent even on New Years eve, it’s worth remembering that, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of revellers out on this night, although most are travelling into Zürich, not out of it. I travelled in from the opposite direction, the S-Bahn coming from Brugg, and indeed it was full.

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NJM this way, follow the grumpy old Swiss guys ;)
If you take the S-Bahn you’ll have to make the ten minute or so walk to Unterrohr Sports hall by foot. Now, if you are travelling alone you might want to reconsider the suggested route given by the organisers, the area surrounding the station is very “industrial” with little residential housing, and the route given, shown in on the image below, is poorly lit, although they had gone to a lot of effort to mark the way with flags, plastic barrier tape and a couple of larger signposts.

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From train Station to Sports hall, Green vs Red Routes
I would suggest taking the alternate route shown above, the streets are wider, better lit, and I’m sure anyone walking alone would feel safer.

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Marathon, yes please...
Location, amenities and the Start Line


The great thing about this marathon is that the start/finish line is indoors, within the sports hall! Not only that, but there is a large seating area, food and drinks (even alcoholic drinks ;-)) are available, with a number of changing rooms, showers, and plenty of toilets as well. It’s very well organised, especially considering all those people volunteering behind the scenes, you really can’t be anything but impressed.

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Sports Hall "unter-terror"
I took a small amount of footage to give you an idea of the atmosphere before the start of the event >>

Footage before the start of the Marathon, inside the "Unterrohr" sports hall.
The Race


First up I have to mention the amazing start to this event, once the start is announced and you run down towards the river you are welcomed by what seems like your own personal fireworks display, and it goes on for a long, long time. I think I spent the first 30 minutes looking into the sky as fireworks went off right, left and centre, simply amazing, I wish I had some camera footage of it. I had to keep reminding myself to keep an eye on the track as to not run off into the river or down a ditch.

As far as the route of the Marathon goes, the organisers couldn’t have been any more generous, fours loops of just over 10.5KM (6.5 Miles) which are as pancake flat as you could hope for, with the only ascending you’ll be doing is to run up the ramps which link the bridges at the two river crossings.

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Follow the blue line, counter clockwise.
The track and the elements are what really makes this a tough race. First up it’s dark,and although there are a few lights, burning logs, and lit flairs along the course it can get very dark in some locations, you WILL need a head lap, make no mistake about it, a nice bright headlamp, I made a big mistake of only using my standard lamp which was way to small. I would go as far as to say if you don’t like the dark, this race is not for you, on the later laps, when the field had thinned out there were large parts of the race you’ll find yourself alone and it can be very dark, don’t be surprised if you pass the odd stray pedestrian taking his dog for a walk at 3am (…I have no idea, and I didn’t stop to ask ;-))

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Size matters!! get a bigger one.
One area when a good headlamp is especially invaluable is when you cross the river for the first time, for a few hundred metres on the other side are some nasty big tree roots running across the trail, and although they have been painted red or white, they were very difficult for me to make out and I had to slow down and be careful on each of the four occasions I went through this area.

TREES
Caution: trees!
Be warned, expect some harsh conditions, bits of snow, rain, cold, puddles, BIG puddles, feet will get wet, very wet, make sure you’re dressed correctly and your footwear is up to the task. Luckily It was mild temperature wise for me, if it had been colder it would have been super nasty, if you like the possibility of tough conditions, then this race is for you.

As you would expect, there aren’t many spectators on the course, there was a bit of rain and snow around, so it’s possible on a clearer night there might be more watching, but essentially you are out running alone with your fellow competitors. There is also only two fuelling stations along the way, but these split the 10KM route, gels, isotonic drinks and water (water warm!) are served, it’s also worth pointing out that these areas also have burning logs, so if you do succumb to the cold you could seek refuge here.

DIRECTION
Go right, right, right....
One last thing to mention, on the first lap, make sure you turn to the right after the second river crossing, NOT left as a big group of runners did in front of me, confusing the hell out of me to the point I had to stop and look around for confirmation I wasn’t 1. hallucinating and 2. about to go in the wrong direction myself. Luckily I was saved by a lovely girl from datasport timing team, who then had to run off into the dark shouting as hard as she could at the other runners who had disappeared into the distance.

The Finish Line


I think I missed most of the fun at the finish line, I was late getting back ;-). However, the atmosphere, even at the late time I got there was still very good, again, with it being indoors, straight away it’s warm, snacks (bananas) and drinks (warm and cold) are available for finishers and although I didn’t use the service there was also massages provided.


 Footage at the finish line, inside the "Unterrohr" sports hall, at 5:20am

One thing to mention, if you’re unlucky enough to finish over 4 hours or more, chances are you’ll be having a cold shower, and as a fellow participate joked with me, “The shower is cold, you were too slow, but so was I!”

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Still going strong at 4:52am
 Overall Rating

This event is something special, truly one of a kind, I can’t fault it at all, well organised, the volunteers are great, the organisers enthusiasm really shines through. It’s also tough, the conditions give it an extra edge, it kicked my ass, that’s for sure. If you wanted to bring along supporters, there’s music playing, places to sit, and food and drink available, so it’s still a good place to spend New Year even if you’re not participating.
I’m already considering signing up again in the future, next time with a bigger headlamp!

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The podium!
My Race Report


There’s not much to say here, the original plan, way back in October, was to go for new personal best (PB/PR) time of under 3 hours 30 mins, but due to training disruptions in November and December that was off the cards a long time ago.

Anyway, for some time I’d been saying that this would be a “fun run” to anyone that asked, but….as soon as I started running I just couldn’t help myself, I went for it anyway….BIG mistake :-)

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That's me, before self destruction...
I hit the wall really early, at only Kilometre 13 (8 miles) but I just kept going, in my head I was convinced there was a hidden Paula Radcliffe just dying to get out, but unfortunately I was just dying. By the half way point I was cooked, I had to stop for the first time because I thought I was going to puke, I have a confession, I nearly quit at this point, even asking one of volunteers if they knew if I would get a Half Marathon time if I snuck off towards the first line, his answer “No!” so, off I plodded, shuffling for another 21KM (13 Miles)

I have to say, I was proud to get to the end, proud, relieved, dazed and a little amazed, I can’t remember feeling that terrible out on the run, it really beat me up, at one point I was nearly “sleep running”, and I’ve never yawned while running before, but would i do it again, hell yes!

Gory Garmin details below if you so wish to see :-)