|plenty of suncream on my sensitive area|
I am planning to enter a major race in a few months time to celebrate my 65th year to heaven. All my races from now on will be training runs to build condition for a successful completion of my target race.
That is why I travelled to the Mariazell area at the weekend.
The Gemeindealpe is the mountain in the foreground in the picture behind me. I am standing near the race start line in Mitterbach at 804 mtrs (2638') above sea level. The finish line is 6.4 kms (4 miles) away and is situated on the summit plateau at 1610 meters (5282') above sea level.
I have my water bottle with me. It's a warm day. I turn my cap back to front so that the peak is protecting the back of my neck and I start slowly, a mere jog almost. I've seen the course profile. And so I know what to expect.
I salute the nordic walkers who are also going up the mountain.
|reverse hat protection and water bottle full|
A big blue bird overlooks the start area which is the finish area for the downhill 3-wheeler racing carts. Behind me is the chair lift to bring the runners back down the mountain. I shall not be needing it because I'm planning to jog down the other side to the Erlaufsee Lake immediately after the race.
The local runners look lean and hungry for the fray. There are valuable championship points at stake. One of Austria's best mountain runners, Alois Redl, is here, despite the competing attraction of the International Großglockner Race in Carinthia.
The list of previous winners of the Gemeindealpe includes the names of some notable international runners; Helmut Schmuck and Andrea Mayr for example.
|one for the album|
Over the first 5 kms of the race we serpentine the forest trails to reach the so-called 'midway' checkpoint at 1380 mtrs (4528'), a height gain of 576 mtrs (1890'), and then it gets tougher!
We leave the trails and slog up a narrow rocky path to the summit. Nobody is running now as far as I can see. I have spent most of my race following in the footsteps of the experienced ultra runner Leopold Eigner who is using the race as part of his training for an upcoming 100 km event. I am content to follow him over the finish line.
1 - Alois Redl 37:36
31 - Willibald Hochfellner 1M60 49:57
54 - G Williams 5M60* 61:08
*(no category for M65)