"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
Alle zeigen - Bericht von Andre Hall zum thüringenULTRA:
Andre Hall , 19.07.2009
Sun and Fun thüringenULTRA 2009100KM of fantastic trails and dirt roads, 2150 meters of elevation change through the Thüringen Forest, blue skies, a fantastic group of sponsors and volunteers and lots of local support all add up for a fantastic ultra marathon in central Germany!
Based in the Thüringen village of Fröttstädt the third ThüringenULTRA was hosted by the Runners of the Volunteer Fire Department (FFW) of Fröttstädt. The hosts, their sponsors and the local community provided a first class ultramarathoning experience from start to finish.
This was my first 100KM ultra that I set out to run alone (I’d run several ultras 50 – 100KMs before but had done so with a partner or two.) and I was a bit concerned about maintaining my focus and motivation to finish without the help of a running partner. The ThüringenULTRA does allow cyclists to ride along with runners so I asked my friend Nobbi to ride with me. Nobbi is serious rider, so I was a bit concerned that he’d be bored simply riding along with me. As it turned out we parted ways early on in the race and didn’t meet back up again until about kilometer 85.
Lead up and coordination prior to the event with the FFW was outstanding. The ThüringenULTRA web site at http://www.thueringenultra.de/startseite/index.php provided news and updates leading up to the event. This web presence provided the means to gather information on the event, logistics, the race course and news updates starting as early as year prior to the event. The only down back to the web space if there is one are the course graphics. Graphics are available for download onto a GPS; you can download portions of the course as well as a map of the entire Thüringer Wald. The down side is the file that shows the entire forest. This graphic was the one I chose to use to orient myself to the course and to have along with me, based on its scale and the size it prints out it does not provide the kind of resolution you require to run with when not familiar with the area. Kudos to Gunter and Co. on the web site – it’s already been updated for 2010!
Pre-race activities in Fröttstädt were outstanding. Fröttstädt itself is a small village, yet the race start/finish areas were well marked with signs and the parking, camping and support facilities were outstanding. All of this is made possible by a superb group of race support volunteers. I didn’t take part in the pre-race pasta dinner as my wife and a couple of friends were with me, but the set up appeared first class. The race start time was set for 0400 on 04.07.09 so I went to bed early that evening...
I got up at 0230 on 04.07 to organize, make final preparations and to drive over to the race start area (we stayed in a lovely inexpensive hotel about 10KM from Fröttstädt). Although the FFW provided 16 support stations over the course of the ULTRA, given the weather forecast of sunny and warm, my greatest concern going into the race was on taking in enough fluids and calories throughout the day. As day unfolded I found that the FFW and race volunteers provided an excellent assortment of fluids and food at each support station. During this race I carried a Camelbak Lobo with a 3L bladder and some snacks. I was able to refill my bladder and at last count believe I drank almost 15L of water/NUUN mix over the course of the race.
Per clock work we started the race punctually at 0400 with approximately 200 runners. As promised by the sponsors, the course through the Thüringenwald was fantastic. The scenery, running mates and race support staff were tremendous. Several memories along the way include meeting, running and talking with Manfred Coors, beer at each rest station, the cheerleaders at kilometer 95 and the reception at the finish line. Check out Hans Drexler’s great report for a super presentation on the course at http://www.marathonsammler.de/berichte/article/froettstaedt/4.html
In thinking back on the race and considering things to prepare for it in 2010 I’d consider the following. Many runners didn’t carry a bladder or drink belt. The ThüringenULTRA is so well organized with 16 support stations that you really don’t need to do so, all the same I like having my bladder and some snacks with me and will do so next year. I’m a bit concerned about using NUUN during future ultras. I was mixing two NUUN tablets per three liters of water and about midway through the ThüringenULTRA I developed sever gastrointestinal issues. I cut back to one NUUN tablet per three liters which seemed to calm my gut. I’ll try NUUN like this again during a training event and perhaps consider going back to a Gatorade mix. Each time I’ve run an ultra I’ve wished that I’d had a camera with me – next time I will! As usual, I need to incorporate more hills and multi-hour runs (beyond three hours) in my training plan. So many kilometers to run and so little time…
The Lauffeuer der FFW Fröttstädt put on a fantastic ultramarathon event in the ThüringenULTRA. I highly recommend the race to both new and experienced ultrarunners and definitely plan to take part again next year.
© Andre Hall, 19.07.2009
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