Today was the 12th Annual Spessarter Volkslauf (Folks Run) in
the village of Spessart, Town of Ettlingen, Germany. Spessart is
a small town of about 2500 people, located a few kilometers from
Ettlingen, Germany. The event is organized around the annual four
day sports festival, which offers several sporting events from the
town's many sports clubs. The Spessart
Lauftreff (Running Club) group organized the 10K run (with walking),
1.5K young peoples run, and 300 meter kiddies (under 8) run.
This running was particularly appealing to me as it offered a couple
good hill climbs, it is a local event (no crowds) and it was only
a half hour from the house. We arrived about an hour early, which
turned out to be totally unnecessary, they weren't even set up yet
(photo below). I was able to check in though, the check-in desk
being in the right picture below. A pretty young lady about my daughter’s
age was collecting the fee and passing out numbers. I noticed that
she greeted the runners with a warm smile and kind words, not always
the case at some of these events, and definitely a good reflection
for the club.
My wife and I took a seat at one of the benches and watched the
other runners slowly trickle in. I group from the Spessart Running
Club was sitting at the table behind us and were talking about the
80K run that took place last night, they said a few people in their
club took place in the 4-man team event. One was still going to
run the 10K this morning, even though he hadn't slept all night
(I don't know if I am that crazy).
The temperature was about 26C/78F, humid, and partly cloudy. The
sun came out just as we started to run, so it started warming up
really fast. At least it wasn't raining!
About 9:15 I made my way to the bathrooms, no waiting, I think this
was a first! I did a light warm up and made my way to the Start
line. I had expected a couple hundred people, we had maybe 50, including
a group of 10-12 Nordic walkers. The run was scheduled to start
at 9:30, but due to technical difficulties it was almost 9:40 before
No starting pistol, just a simple "Ready, Get Set, GO!!
We ran once around the soccer field before leaving the sports
area, then across the street and into the forest. The first half
of the run was almost all flat or downhill. I passed the 1K marker
in 4:29 (7:13/mile), the second in 9:13 (4:37/K, 7:25M), and the
5K half-way marker in 24:29 (4:54/K, 7:53M).
I knew that the second half of the run was a lot of uphill climbs,
so after about the 4th kilometer I started slowing down slightly
to conserve energy. The group that I was following went on ahead
without me. At the 6K marker there was a water stop, I slowed and
poured a cup of water on my head and shoulders, man was that cold!
Soon after this we started going up, and up, and up...I maintained
a steady pace, passed the 7K marker, my hill training in the last
couple weeks was paying off today. One by one I started catching
people, several of them walking by this time. We past the crest
of one hill and went down for maybe 2 minutes, a few that I passed
came jogging by. Then around a corner and there was this menacing
looking hill in front of my eyes, with runners strung along the
I stuck it in mule gear and gave some gas, up and up and up. I
re-passed a few, passed a couple new ones, passed the 8K marker,
up and up and up, passed the 9K marker, and up and up...finally
we reached the crest of the hill and popped almost immediately out
of the forest. The town was right in front of me, the sports club
to the left of the town, less than 1K to go.
As the trail turned quickly to asphalt I latched onto one of the
Sperrart Running Club dudes and tried to hang with him. We quickly
wound our way through the streets leading to the sports club and
the finish, I was feeling good, a little tired, but still good.
The dude I was following was giving me the run of my life, finally
leaving me in the dust as we took the last turn and entered the
soccer field once again. Then with the finish in site I did my best
to sprint the last few hundred meters (right picture below).
My unofficial finish, based on my stopwatch was 50:03, which is
12 seconds more than my PR (49:51). So close, well I will have to
wait for the official results, maybe its a little closer...
The run totally fulfilled my training goal for today, which was
to get in a race with some hill climbs. I had no intention of setting
a new PR today, so stopped looking at my watch after the halfway
point. Too bad, I was really motivated today!