Alle zeigen - Bericht von Andre Hall zum Brocken-Challenge:
Andre Hall , 07.02.2010

Brocken-Challenge 2010

The Brocken-Challenge is a winter charity ultramarathon of approximately 81 – 85KM (in 2010 the distance turned out to be approximately 86KM) with a positive change of 2200 meters in altitude that takes place between the city of Göttingen and the Brocken Summit in the Harz Mountains. Proceeds from the B-C benefit the Hospiz an der Lutter ( and Bahnhofsmission (

After having such a good time running the Brocken-Challenge 2009 I decided to give it another whirl in 2010. Registration for the BC 2010 opened on 1 NOV 09 and was full by 3 NOV. In general the organizers of the BC limit the field of runners to a maximum of 125 runners. The field was opened for 145 runners in 2010. Limiting the number of runners is critical based simply on the logistics of the race and a focus to keep it a friendship event. I applaud the organizer’s efforts to limit the field of runners; it adds dramatically to the spirit and feel of the race.

This year two friends and I decided to run the BC. This same group had participated together last year. As things turned out, only two of us were able to take part. We traveled to Göttingen on Friday, 5 FEB to participate in the pre-race orientation meeting and get organized for the Challenge. We billeted in the Jugendherberge Göttingen ( which given its location, cost and atmosphere is perfect for this type of event.

The BC offers a number of options for overnighting and meals with the focus centered on the Hainholzhof am Kehr (Bismarckstr, Göttingen). Here you can overnight either in the Jägerhaus, or the adjacent riding hall. The Jägerhaus sponsors an excellent Pasta Party the evening before the race. Race check in and a super race orientation presentation are conducted the evening prior to the Challenge. Each of these events and the race itself allow you to see friends, people that you may have raced with in previous events, or make new acquaintances. I ran into two guys we’d met at Le Grand Raid Dentelles Ventoux 2009 (Good luck with your training and planned events. Look forward to seeing you all again in August!) as well as some people we’d met at the BC 2009.

Race day starts early at the Hainholzhof am Kehr with breakfast and final check in activities. Once everyone has completed their final sign in, Markus starts the Challenge with his traditional “Brocken-Challenge 2010, here we go…” and the race begins. The BC 2010 was a significantly different event than that held in 2009 based on the amount of snow and ice that had accumulated over the race route. The environmental conditions this year were probably the toughest challenge of the BC 2010 (other than running up to the Brocken Gipfel). Other than people that live in similar conditions, I don’t know many people that could train to run in the snow and ice we ran in. An investment in a pair of snow cleats paid huge dividends, but my ankles will be paying the price for a few days…

A word about the Brocken Gipfel… The Brocken finds itself in Germany’s largest national park, the Harz National Park. The Gipfel is located in a raw sub-alpine environment. It is characterized as follows: fog over 300 days a year, covered in ice 100 days out of the year, snow covered 176 days out of the year, 85 days out of the year are below 0 °C with temperatures dipping down as low as −28 °C. The highest measured winds were recorded at 263 KPH (164 MPH). As you might imagine, the Brocken Gipfel offers its own unique twist to the BC.

Beyond the fact that the BC is an event that takes you through 81 – 86KM of beautiful German countryside the BC contains individual challenges for each of the runners. In the past the “Entsafter” (Juicer) (a very nice series of hills leading into the Harz) has proven a significant physical challenge for participants. (See for a few pictures of the BC and the course.) This year based on the snow driven re-routing of a portion of the race, the portion Wegspinne am Jagdkopf down and around the Oder-Stausees was the most difficult for me. Yes, it was physically challenging, however the greatest challenge was in my head. My burden rested in not knowing the route, not knowing when or where the next control station would appear and the dark, lonely, long, snow covered environment.

Highlights for me from the BC were the organizers and their efforts, the race volunteers and the friendly runners. I’ve not experienced such great volunteers that spend their entire day out in the cold, pampering cold, hungry and thirsty runners with organic treats and beverages any where else. First class affair and a big thanks to you all!

The organizers, Ausdauersport für Menschlichkeit e.V., Göttingen and their friends and volunteers put on one of my favorite ultramarathons. I highly recommend the Brocken-Challenge to anyone seeking a challenging event among friends and hope to see you all again in 2011.

© Andre Hall, 07.02.2010

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