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Alle zeigen - Bericht von Andre Hall zum Saaletal Marathon 2010:
Andre Hall , 28.03.2010

Profile Surprise!

On a lark I started looking for a marathon to run during the month of March as a bridge between ultras. I didn’t want to travel far and the race had to include a small starting field. The Saaletal Marathon met each of these requirements and much more.

2010 was the first time the Saaletal Marathon was hosted by the SV Ramsthal 1921 e.V. SV Ramsthal did a fantastic job with organization and conduct of the race. The volunteers and logistics support of the event were first class.

Leading up to the event SV Ramsthal hosted the marathon on their web site at http://www.saaletal-marathon.de. The site contains a wealth of information on the race and associated activities. Registration cost 25 Euro up to 23.03 after which a 5 Euro late fee was attached. Registration was possible through http://www2.your-sports.com which was straight forward and easy to accomplish. Confirmation of registration was passed back to the runner via e-mail immediately. Registration costs included registration, payment for support during the race and I’m assuming the race medal. Cotton T-shirts were available for an additional 8 Euro. Late registration and runner check in was possible at the SV Ramsthal Club House in Ramsthal from 0730 – 0930 the day of the race. In addition to the marathon it was possible to run a half marathon/powerwalking (21KM), walk an 8 KM course and a minimarathon (4,2KM). The evening prior to the event the Saaletal Marathon web site showed 100 runners registered for the marathon event. (I love small, friendly races like this!!!)

Travel to Ramsthal takes me about two hours so I left at 0600 on Saturday morning. Because of the holiday traffic avalanche that folded me shortly thereafter this was a good decision as I heard that the main autobahns (A3 and A7) closed up shortly after I passed through them. I arrived in Ramsthal at 0815 with plenty of time to check in, grab some breakfast and socialize. The Ramsthal sport center is relatively easy to find. That said there were no signs for race parking or where race check in was to occur. Nonetheless, with a little help from other runners I was able to sniff out both.

Shortly before 1000 the marathon, half marathon and power walkers lined up at the start line to be fired off by the Fränkische Weinkönigin, Melanie Unsleber of Ramsthal. At 1000ish Melanie fired the gun and we were off…

The marathon route was a challenging, pleasant surprise. The first five kilometers took us up to the highest point of the course after which, considering that this was a Tal marathon I thought we would be running a relatively flat course. As the remainder of the route was to prove nothing was further from the truth – the race profile although it did not include massive changes in elevation was challenging throughout. The course itself included a pleasant mix of tar, gravel and dirt roads and double track paths through the woods and across fields. Sufficient road guards were available at points where the path crossed a major road or intersection as well as at points were the route changed direction dramatically. The only section of the route that irritated me was the leg between Elfershausen and Langendorf. Here we ran on a narrow, but active country roadway with cars, fourwheelers, trucks, and tractors. I recommend that a mid-way safety station be put in place to remind drivers that a race is occurring around them.

I have not yet run a race at which I’m not impressed by the race volunteers. From start to finish at the Saaletal Marathon this as a great group of people – much appreciation for their support! I was however, a bit disappointed with the support fare; perhaps it was based on the fact that this was the first time the Saaletal Marathon was run. Hope I don’t sound spoiled, but the plan to offer only beverages at every other rest stop was a good one, I would encourage the SV Ramstahl to consider adding a bit more to munch on beyond apples and bananas at the stops that do have food. It would have been great to have some oranges, toast, pretzel sticks or another healthy solid snack. And… Please stop using plastic drink cups, consider using biodegradable paper cups – the Saaletal is a wonderful biosphere – I hate to see it impacted by such a great event!

All-in-all the First Saaletal Marathon was a first class event. I had a great time running and plan to be back next year for another go.

© Andre Hall, 28.03.2010

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