Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Prochenberg Race, Ybbsitz / Schosserhütte Panorama Race, Losenstein

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:

Clayton Duo 

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)

50 finishers

Finishing line

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)

69 finishers

Friday, 18 October 2013

Running Joke

Most runners of my acquaintance have a wonderful sense of humour. Running and laughter seem to go together. By the way I'm talking amateur athletics here. That's my sport. There's no money in it. That's why it's so wonderful. That's probably why everybody involved is so relaxed. 

The other day a runner told me a joke I hadn't heard before. I thought it was pretty good. So here it is: 

Khrushchev and Kennedy met one time in Moscow. They wanted to see which of them was the fastest runner. So they had a race. The winner was Kennedy. That evening on the radio news it was reported: There was a race in Moscow earlier today. Mr Khrushchev finished second and President Kennedy was next to last. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

24th Int. Kahlenberg Mountain Race

I took a photograph of a double rainbow; a creation of old testament proportions which suddenly appeared in a light shower in the early evening over Vienna yesterdy. To see the whole of the bow at once was an impossibility. The best I could hope to do was to capture a small portion of it with my camera.

My inexpensive camera is not  good for taking rainbow images but this bow was so amazingly bright and so big that I took the chance. And it paid off.

The photo, by the way, is completely unretouched and shows the scene as it appeared in reality.

Was the rainbow was a good omen for me?

The hills on the horizon at the foot of the bow were coincidentally the venue for this morning's 24th running of the International Kahlenberg Mountain Race in which I was due to take part.

Athletes from no less than 16 nations enjoyed the race:-

Czech Republic
Great Britain.

I have to admit that I didn't stumble over a proverbial pot of gold along the trail, but maybe I nearly did for my final reward was a place on the podium and a gold and silver medal on a red and white ribbon for finishing 2nd of the 9 runners in my age category.

Here's the result:

24th International Kahlenberg Mountain Race, Vienna
13th Oct 2013
8.6kms / 460mtr hd

1st Martin Gansterer 37:02
101st Hans Müller 53:28 1stM65
122nd Gwilym Williams 55:53 2ndM65

188 finishers

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A 'Wild Water' Race

I toed the Wildewasser Lauf start line, or more correctly I mingled loosely at the back of the small field, in the town square of Schladming, the venue of the Ski World Cup earlier in the year, at the odd time of 09:09 on a recent Sunday morning. Entry conditions stipulated that runners prone to vertigo should not take part. 

Ahead of us a 14kms trail incorporating a waterfall climb and a height gain of 610 mtrs. The strange starting time was to prevent the runners being hindered by the local faithful on their way to the morning service at the nearby church. 

The waterfall climb was an adventure in itself and included a 50 meter long hanging bridge over a gorge as well as numerous metal ladders fixed to the cliffs at strategic points, there normally for the hikers to ascend and descend. There were also several wooden bridges and many wooden steps to be negotiated.   

And then suddenly I  was out of the gorge and in space. I felt like a cork being popped out of a bottle. 

There was, to me, a surprisingly short run to the finish line at the Gfölerhütte with its welcoming bowls of hot soup for the finishers and where our change of clothing awaited us. 

Erroneously I thought the finish to be at the far end of the lake (in the picture below) and had consequently misjudged the pace slightly. Whether I could have overtaken the winner of my age category with a longer run-in to the finish I couldn't guess. In any event he had proven a good pacemaker for me, and I had fixed my eye on his red t-shirt from halfway onwards.  

Out of the sweaty t-shirt . . . 

Returning to the valley after the due ceremonies we were able to gently descend some 300 meters using a winding forest track to find a road and a bus stop. A local bus soon arrived, and our start numbers serving as bus tickets, we travelled in relative comfort back to the town. 

. . . and into warm clothes

A most scenic area . . . 

. . . and later a rewarding Melange 


Wildewasser Lauf 14kms / 610 mtrs hd 

1. R Huber 1:06:39
40. W Bauer 1:37:56 1stM60
42. G Williams 1:38:17 2ndM60

55 finishers.