Legend has it that beyond the Seven Mountains where the Seven Dwarfs dwell lays the hamlet Hörsum. And it is reputed that the forest there is not just deep and dark, it is among the deepest and darkest. The mountains there are known as some of the knarliest. It’s here that a group of friends, perhaps after having had one brew too many, proposed the challenge to see who, if anyone, could run the three component Schneewittchen Trail made up of a 30KM, 53KM or 80KM course. For simplicity the course would run over forest trails and overgrown single track. For North German conditions the climbs are considered difficult. I know, I know… I’ve heard it as well, “But, there aren’t any mountains in Northern Germany!” Let’s you and I take a walk from the village of Eimsen and travel north for four kilometers. I think you’ll change your mind.
As Tim Scott would say… “It’s a very runnable course.”
The Schneewittchen Trail traditionally occurs the first Saturday in March. Participation is managed through an "old school" method where a personal invitation is gained through an exchange of postcards and letters. The cost to run was 75 Euro (80KM), 45 Euro (53KM) and 25 Euro (30KM) this year. Accommodations were on site at Race Headquarters at the Hotel zur Eule with damn good hot showers.
Saturday morning the 80KM runners sat off at 0600 where a drizzle hung in the air.
Throughout the day we would experience all sorts of March weather with a lot of strong winds. By and large the weather was cool and stable with strong winds at least until 1600. After that all bets were off and we had a mix of HIGH winds, sideways rain and hail. It's weather!
I ran the 53KM Schneewittchen Trail back in 2015 and was excited about the challenge of the 80KM particularly this early in the 2019 season. My view… The 80KM distance and the added elevation change is absolutely worth the effort. The Leinebergland trails are amazing. I got to reconnect with some old friends and made a number of new acquaintances including Friedrich L. Friedrich blew me away as an athlete. He’s 67 and still rocking the trails! We laughed a lot and spent hours talking about running, ageing, politics, health, children and history. A connection like this is one of those things that I consider uniquely wonderful to ultrarunning.
The Schneewittchen Trail holds true to the legend. It’s a tough little ultra with wicked trails and lots of elevation change (4000HM or 13000 Feet). I really enjoy races with this character... a small race field and personal charm. Nicole Frenzl led the women’s finish in 11:23 while the title holder, Mattias Schramm won among the men in 9:05.
Mario - Thanks for trimming the briars! I had forgotten about this little jewel.