With the Austrian mountain running season drawing quickly to a close I decided to fit two races into one weekend. There were three options:
1. Two races in the Salzburg area.
2. Two races in the Wachau area.
3. Two races in the Ybbs/Enns area.
I selected the 3rd option on my list because I could fulfill a long held desire to visit this relatively isolated area and the weather forecast for the Voralpen Mountains was favourable. My friend and fellow Clayton Harrier Jon S joined me. The weather, as predicted, remained fine and sunny with warm light breezes and a daytime maximum of about 20C. Ideal conditions for running.
|Prochenberg (from Ybbsitz)|
For the 50 assembled runners the race started with the first chime of the town's bell announcing 10 o'clock. A light mist lay in the valley but 10 minutes of running brought us into the sunshine on the hillside. The tarmac road soon became a forest path which wound its way steadily up to the summit and the finish line at the Prochenberg Hut where women serving cakes and tea awaited the athletes.
|M60 Medal and Trophy|
The mayor of Ybbsitz presented me a trophy for being the 1st over 60. There was only one other runner in this category. More pleasing to me was the fact I finished within 3mins 25secs of Jon's time, something which I cannot normally expect to achieve. He is a strong runner who prefers a longer distance over undulating terrain and rough ground with a steep descent or two thrown in. I felt that the Sunday race would be more to his liking. Here is the result of the Saturday race:
Prochenberg Race - 26th October 2013
7.2kms / 710mtrs hd
1. A Bauer 36:12
34. J Sharples 51:23 (M50)
38. G Williams 54:48 (1st.M60)
The venue for second race of our weekend tour was about 50kms from Ybbsitz so it was a simple matter to get there and secure some accommodation on Saturday evening so that we could have a leisurely breakfast and be ready for the challenge on Sunday morning.
The morning was fine but on arriving at the start we were greeted by a blustery wind. Fallen leaves swirled about but the breeze was warm and we were eager for the contest. We were in possession of a Mountain Matrix route map and a profile showing an undulating course with two prominent climbs.
|Race information card|
The course was a delight to run. It had everything the trail runner could ask for. Panorama views, narrow technical trails, wide runnable trails, and a even a sting, a short sharp hill, in the tail! On finishing we exchanged our race numbers at the Schosserhütte for generous helpings of spaghetti.
The race, to mark the end of the running season in the Austrian mountains, was run in a spirit of friendship through sport. Trophies were awarded to the winners, the middle-placed and the last placed in both the women's and men's categories.
There were no age group prizes. There were, as in the Ybbsitz race, only two runners in my particular age group (M60).
Schosserhütte Panoramalauf - 27th October 2013
8.5kms / 480mtrs hd
1. M Doleschal 40:57
23. J Sharples 55:12 (M50)
48. G Williams 63:48 (1stM60)