Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Rain

Well, Fall has landed here.  It's cool and rainy - typical central European Fall weather.  This weekend was no exception.  Friday was spectacular while it rained all day on Saturday and Sunday.  Great season to be an amphibian!

Even with the cold and dreary onset of Fall this past week was a good training week.  I took the week prior off to give my right Achilles a break and slowly worked my way into this past one.  Got a number of nice 10KMs in and capped the week off with back-to-back 13KMs on Saturday and Sunday.  Even with the rain the weather conditions were perfect for an hour or so run.

Am curious to see what kind of weather we'll have for the Nikolauslauf in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Röntgenlauf 2012

What a great way to close out October and this year's running season!  The XII edition of the Remscheid Röntgenlauf offered perfect weather, a super course, a mid-sized starting field and a super route along the Röntgenweg.

In it's twelve year, the Röntgenlauf is a 63.3KM ultramarathon which additionally offers a marathon, halfmarathon, various relays for each distance and walking options along the Röntgenweg.  475 runners were signed up to start the ultramarathon this year with thousands more lined up shortly before 0830 to start each of the events.

I've admired the Röntgenlauf from afar a number of years and decided to give it a go earlier this year.  It's definitely a race worth adding to your list of events to complete.

Race day started out cold and foggy.  We actually had our first snow Saturday morning prior to departing for Remscheid.

At 0830 all categories of runners (the entire starting field) started the event.  I have to admit that the course was rather full early in the race, but this worked itself out nicely as we coursed through the streets of Remscheid and Lennep and then over to farm to market roads and eventually over to trail.

 Aside from the cold and on and off again foggy weather the course was simply fantastic. Challenge was related to the sun coming out and sweating and then the fog rolling back in and freezing.  I really didn't warm up and get dry until after the marathon distance.

The Röntgenlauf course follows the Röntgenweg and is a round, point-to-point course.  The course route is mixed pavement, gravel, hardpack, and trail over rolling hills and through creek and river valleys.  You pass through beautiful forests, along lovely lakes and past historical buildings that were built during the industrialization of the region in the early 1900s.  I had not paid much attention to the bridge shown below going into the leg (it's illustrated on the Röntgenlauf start site, tee-shirt and medal), but upon arriving at it was deeply impressed.  This is Germany's highest rail bridge.  Unfortunately this picture does not do it just - it's impressive!

The Röntgenlauf is organized so that after registration you can run any of the events you choose.  So that, if you signed up for the marathon, and you're having a great day and feeling a little gutsy, you can run the ultra.  The opposite holds true as well.  Runners that complete the half, marathon and ultra receive a medal.  All runners receive a tee-shirt as part of their starter package.

Similar to most of the races I've run the spectators and race volunteers make these events memorable.  The Röntgenlauf was no exception.  There were thousands of spectators along the route.  It was as if the Röntgenlauf was the event to be at on 28 OCT.  Race volunteers are a special group of people.  A big thanks goes out to all that supported the organization, management, backside support and the pit stops along the way!

 Registration for the Röntgenlauf started out at a very fair 39 Euros.  This price increased over time up until the day of the race ending at 45 Euros.  Registration provided a start number, tee-shirt, medal, on-line certificate and race support.  Registration was possible via the Röntgenlauf web site and at the race site itself.

Race support was efficient and complete over the entire course with first aid, police, road guards and very effective route marking.  The only down side from my perspective was the limited amount of fare at the pit stops.  Out until 22KMs water and tea were served.  After the check point at 22KM bananas and limited amounts of cola and chocolate were available.  I carried my own food and most of my own drinks in my pack and encourage anyone attempting the ultra to do the same.  Bananas are just not going to get it...

All told the Röntgenlauf is a challenging super end of season event.  Of the 475 original ultra runners signed up to race 364 completed the 63.3KM course.  The region is wonderful to visit and the Röntgenweg is worth a visit in and of itself.  We'll be back...