Saturday, 22 November 2014

An Autumn Walk in the Alps - my 4 essential ingredients

A good train to get there

A good weather forecast

A good companion 

And a good place to finish 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Jon up the Jenner

My friend Jon was in Austria in October. The fog cleared on the tops a short time before the race started and the day warmed up quickly.

The venue was the Jenner mountain. It's near Königsee in Germany. Unfortunately I couldn't run because of an injury; but Jon ran and made a good show of it. He won a blue t-shirt.

Next day we refreshed ourselves in the Austrian sunshine with steins of  good quality German beer. The measure is a mass which is 1.76 imperial pints (1 liter).

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Front Page News

Sometimes a picture really is worth a 1,000 words. Here is one such picture.

The athlete will be familiar to my regular readers. It is my good friend Lemawerk. He is shown here on the front page of  the Kleine Zeitung.

With more than 42 kilometers completed at Graz and running to victory despite carrying a painful injury he crossed the line with his usual happy smile.

Other wins by Lemawerk this year include The Red Bull Wings for Life World Run, The Wien Energie Halb Marathon and The Vienna Night Run.

He aims to defend his Wings for Life world title in 2015 and he dreams of running for Austria in the 2016 Olympics at Rio.

May it go well with you Lema.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Top class field at Wörthersee Half Marathon

With Lemawerk Ketema (left) and Wilson Kipsang (middle)
To be continued . . .

The Loser

The mountain is called Loser (pronounced Lawser). Race report to follow:

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Katrin Berglauf

A recent photograph with one of my Austrian running friends taken before the start of the 2014 Katrin Berglauf. 


1 - Ndungu Geoffrey Gikuni  KEN 33:27
5 - Andrea Mayer AUT  1F  35:56
181 - Gwilym Williams GBR 17M60 64:29
189 - Günther Nolz AUT 19M60 66:42
193 - Karl Silewinaz AUT 21 M60 69:08

205 Finishers (inc. 23 M60's!!)

Here is the result from the Fuschlsee Race the Lake
Trail Race 12 kms held on 31st August 2014:

1 - Stefan Linseder  - La Sportiva Mountain Attack Team - 43:09
93 - Lorenz Holzleithner - Unattached - 1M60 - 56:09
293 - Gwilym Williams - Clayton le Moors Harriers - 7M60 - 68:01

460 finishers (inc. 11 M60's)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Lemawork Ketema - an Olympian in the making!

The young man in the photograph with me is Lemawerk Ketema. He was the winner of the 1st edition of the International Wings for Life Race, a global charity event held earlier this year to raise funds for spinal injury research.

He works passionately at his sport in spite of difficult circumstances.

He is a credit to the sport of athletics and a role model for others.

What is more he is a credit to Austria the country where he is currently domiciled, and also a credit to himself.

I am always delighted when Lema, who breaks course records wherever he competes, agrees to accompany me on one of my training runs.

Obviously I run a lot slower than my friend, but he never complains. He just smiles and says: No problems. You're looking strong Gwilym, keep going! 

His ambition is to compete in the 2016 Olympics. I wish him much luck. I hope he is allowed the chance he deserves.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Testing time

Today I went to the 14th running of the Ruppersthaler Weintraubenlauf.

My friend Lema was running in a two lap 10 km race. I entered the 5 km race which was obviously one lap. I wanted to test my recent injury.

The course was 50% trail and 50% road. As it was I had a trouble free run. It seems I've made a good recovery. But you can never tell. That's me in the top picture.

Lema is in the bottom picture taken near the same spot. You can't see him? Well, I'm not surprised. He ran so fast that he set a new course record and finished more than 6 minutes in front of the second runner.

Yes, Lema is that good.

Here are the results:

5km Trail/Road Race

1. C Teubel (LC Mank) 17:33
51. L Lehr (Langenlois) (1M60) 24:11
72. G Williams (Clayton H) (2M60) 26:00

229 finishers

10km Trail/Road Race

1. L Ketema ( 31:07 (NCR)

228 finishers

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

2nd Dachstein-Krippenstein Mountain Race

The Spirale finish line in the clouds

The event t-shirt 

On Saturday 21st June 2014 I took part in the race organized by the Extreme Sports Section at Dachstein. According to Berglauf Journal the trail we tackled was 8.8 kms in length with a height gain of 1670 meters. This is slightly longer than the organizer's official distance and climb but as we set off in a downhill direction it is probably more accurate.

In any event such a challenging course up the side of a mountain through woods, rocks and snowfields is not easy to measure whatever means is employed. The track can vary from year to year dependent on weather and other factors. On Saturday the weather was cloudy and breezy with a temperature of 2-3C at the finish by the Spirale. 

I was pleased with my 2nd place in the M60 category although there were only two of us in this category, not least because I happened to be 6 years older than my opponent  and also the oldest runner in the field by a long chalk as the saying goes.


1. Chris Hoffmann 1:10:09
26. Magdalena Merl (IF) 1:30:02
87. Erich Leitner (1M60) 2:03:24
96. Gwilym Williams (2M60) 2:15:06

101 Finishers
     1 DNF

I have a slight thigh injury picked up I don't know where a day or two before the above race, so will now rest the affected part as much as possible for a couple of weeks.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Tonion


Last week I went for a walk on Tonion. It's known locally as the "quiet mountain". From the car park most walkers make for the Veitsch. The walk was 20 kms to the top and back and took 6 hours, which included an hour spent on the summit. The weather remained fine, apart from a short shower of hail and rain.

Distant view of the Veitsch

Tonion is famous for its spring flowers

My two companions on top of the world

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Cader Idris and Short Duddon

The start and finish line at Dolgellau

On my holidays recently I managed to squeeze in a couple of fell races and see a few friends along the way. It was all very enjoyable. Even the fickle Welsh and Lake District weather played its part.

Pre-race kit check at Dolgellau 

Cader Idris (Ras y Gader) 16.9km with 915mtrs hd +/-
Dolgellau, May 17th 2014

1. F Jones (Aberystwyth) 1:25:52
12. J Lee (Eryri) 1F 1:37:32
76. A French (Wrexham) 1M60 1:59:16
186. G Williams (Clayton H) M60 2:29:23

213 finishers

Scenic start at Seathwaite

Duddon (Short) Fell Race 15.3km with 915 mtrs hd +/-
Seathwaite May 31st 2014

1. T Higginbottom (Clwydian) 1:31:22
10. D Atkins (Chorley) 1F 1:51:34
15. G Meneaud (Ambleside) 1M60 1:57:54
17. J Sharples (Clayton H) M50 1:59:31
30. G Williams (Clayton H) 2:36:38

35 finishers

Discussing route choices . . . I think it was!

4 of Clayton's finest on tour 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Phew what a Pfandler Scorcher!

Under a blitzblau sky the temperature in the shade was over 32 C yesterday afternoon when we lined up for the Iso-Radler Pfandler Dammlauf, and to me it felt even hotter, perhaps 36 C like in Innsbruck! Or maybe it was simply the heat from the roadside chicken grill that was affecting to me. I'd have a portion later, and a cool beer to go with it.

I had slight hopes of making the podium in the M65 category, but it turned out there wasn't an M65 category, and so I concocted my own.

The route of the 25th Dammlauf didn't run over the dam on the Ischler because of construction work in progress, but it will do next year. Not sure of the actual distance of the temporary route but they said it was slightly longer than the normal route and a little hillier. Just short 8kms or approximately 5 miles then.

Fortunately residents along the second part of the route where it was hottest sprayed us with garden sprinklers as we ran by. I ran with a wet towel over my head.

Two recent results from the UK will appear in due course. Meanwhile here's the latest effort in Austria.

9th June 2014 Pfandler Dammlauf

1. R Gruber (Salomon Running Team) 23:21
40. K Reiter (ProLife Fitness & Health) F 33.09
47. K Weber (Mondsee) 1 M65 34:43
66. F Lettner (St. Wolfgang) 2 M65 37:16
105. G Williams (Clayton H) 3 M65 42:56

130 Survivors

Monday, 5 May 2014

Wings for Life World Run Champion

I am delighted to report that my friend Lemawerk Ketama from Ethiopia is the Red Bull Wings for Life World Champion. Yesterday's race took place in 35 countries around the world simultaneously.

Lemawerk ran in Austria. The runner-up ran in Peru. The women's winner ran in Norway.

The Red Bull Wings of Life World Run  is a unique event. Runners at all the venues were chased by catcher-cars which set off 30 minutes after the race start time of 10:00 GMT and then travelled in pursuit of the runners at identical computer controlled speeds.

When a catcher-car caught up with a runner he or she retired from the race.

With split screen TV pictures viewers were able to see the dramatic scenes from other time-zones.

And so it was the remarkable worldwide race proceeded until there was only one man in the world left running. And this is he.

But it was high drama. It ended in a 'photo finish' as race director Colin Jackson termed it. There were just 90 meters distance between first man in Austria and second man in Peru at the end.

The first three runners each covered more than 78 kilometers (over 48 miles).

The above photo was taken at Vienna's Lainzer Tiergarten, a wildlife park inhabited by wild boar and deer and  one of my favourite training venues.

There's a link to the race website HERE.

For the record I took part in a local event yesterday.  My first mountain race of the year. There were points in the annual Austrian Mountain Runner series on offer and runners took the opportunity to get them. The weather was sunny and blustery.

Schoepfl Mountain Race, Vienna Woods
7.5kms / 550 mtrs hd+

1. G Schiemer M40 Naturfreunde  33:21
14. M Zöchbauer  LC Mank 1L     40:29
28. J Ratteneder LAG Mitte 1M65 45:56
51. G Williams   Clayton H 2M65  53:04

65 finishers

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Vienna Peace Run

The challenge today was to run, walk or jog as a few or as many 650 meter laps as you liked around the Vienna City Hall between the hours of 9am and 12noon. The aim of the event was to raise funds and to draw attention to the plight of disadvantaged children and young people in India, Burkina Faso and Austria, and to raise funds to provide assistance in the form of a suitable environment for them to develop their potential. 

A great cross-sction of old and young walked, ran, hobbled, wheel-chaired or scooted their way around the course. We were accompanied on our way by children's laughter and the stirring beat of the street musicians. A persistent drizzle failed to dampen anyone's spirits.

For the record, I completed 11 laps of the streets around Vienna City Hall, that is 7,150 meters, and along with other participants was awarded a certificate of thanks for my contribution. There were some 'cool' t-shirts on sale, and as you can see I bought one. I shall wear it often in training.

As a participant I must thank here the many volunteers who manned the checkpoint with smiles and good humour and made the event go smoothly, and also mention the following organizations who made it all possible ( Entwicklungshilfeklub, Austrian Red Cross (Youth Section),  Sportunion Wien, Diakonie, Kinderfreunde, and the Austrian Pathfinderbund (Scouts). 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Wien Energie Half Marathon

This morning I braved the blustery winds and the storm warning* and went to watch my favourite Ethiopian runner take part in the Wien Energie Half Marathon in the Kagran district of Vienna. It was a 3 lap race.

I took this photo of the leaders half way to the first corner. In the end my friend Lema, shown here in the lead, won by more than 5 minutes. There were more than 1,250 runners behind him. A fine  achievement in the challenging weather conditions.

*Sad news that a lady jogger was killed in the woods by falling branch.

Lainzer Tiergarten Wildschwein

Vienna's Lainzer Tiergarten is easily reached with the city's U-4 or S-45 trains.

From Hütteldorf Station it is only 10 minutes walk to the Nikolaitor.

One of the main reasons I introduced my Ethiopian running friend to the Lainzer Tiergarten is that it's a place where you can run safely without any fear of being chased by dogs, a perennial hazard for runners.

The wild pigs are very shy and they won't chase you if you stick to the signed paths and trails. We glimpsed one pig from a safe distance. And later we met this one at the Lainzer Tor Information Centre close up.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Reasons to Run Part 108

Ron Hill . . . 

. . . in Accrington Market Hall 

The seeds of marathon runner Ron Hill's long and illustrious career were sown at a young age when he discovered the tales of that fictional tough of the track Alf Tupper. 

Ron is a member of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers; and I am too as you can see from my running vest in the photo below:

Like Ron I read those athletic tales of mud, rain and meat pies, and was always pleased and delighted when Alf confronted and overcame an obstacle, normally a bully or a cheat or some other unpleasant character placed in his path and went on to win his race. 

Those Tupper tales were all about fair play and being a good sport. Good enough reasons to take up running and to keep on running in my book. Maybe that's why I still do it now, even if my aging body protests shamefully by offering up its various niggles and other 'get out' protocols for my mind's consideration.   

Waiting impatiently for the latest slightly sprained ankle to fully heal I'm jogging my way through Running with the Pack (ISBN 978-1-84708--263-3) by runner/philosopher Mark Rowlands. It's published by Granta Books.  

The back cover blurb contains the quote: From his childhood in rural Wales to runs along the French beaches and up Irish mountains with his beloved wolf Brenin, Rowlands illuminates the joys of running and argues that it may be as good for the mind as it is for the body. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The year ahead beckons

Training routes and training plans, to my way of thinking, need to be flexible.

When runners, especially the elderly, set off on their training runs they don't know, they cannot predict, how they are going to feel after half an hour, or an hour, or two hours. There are simply too many variables.

And so, being on the wrong side of 65, I tend to choose routes with flexibility built in. Somedays I might want to go harder and/or for longer. Other days I might need to cut the run short. Sometimes I'll have a full rucksack. Other times I'll carry only my tram ticket. That's to get back from wherever I end up.

On the map below, the red line is a 10 kms recommended route. The yellow lines are roads. The white lines are generally forest paths rather than broad tracks.

Hermannskogel is one of my favourite areas for training due to the undulating nature of the course, the variety of underfoot terrain and the absence of traffic.

I can easily pass a couple hours in these woods in the blink of an eyelid as it seems.

The red track is the usual option - the white paths are good too!

Watch for mountain bikers - check over the shoulder! 

The main trails are well signed

Streamlined cap - a breezy section!

Several paths to the summit - this one the steepest

Summit and the highest building in Vienna 

An apple juice spritzer here to keep me going 

In the Vienna Woods, of which this is only a tiny part, there are 9,000 kms of runnable trails and 5,000 kms of mountain bike routes. We who live in the area are most fortunate.

Sometimes on a run I see more squirrels than people. And I can always stop at a woodland hostelry, and often do, for a bowl of soup or a mug of coffee, and then I run on like a man with new legs.

The year ahead beckons. I will soon be in these woods again!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

42nd Winter Series Vienna Cricket & Football Club Cross Country

The KTM drone watches over the athletes

Race officials in front of the football stadium 

Club celebrates 120 years in 2014 

 From l. to r. Williams, Plank and Kapp

centre: Lemawork Ketema (new record for 9.35kms)

Below are some details from this morning's 9.35 kms cross country race, the 4th and final race of the 42nd winter series, held at the Vienna Cricket and Football Club. The day was bright and blustery.

I opted for warm tracksters but after only 3 of the 10 laps I regretted the choice. I was too warm!

After the race I checked the  thermometer on the clubhouse wall, It  showed 18C.  And that was in the shade!

There were just 3 runners in the male over 60's category. And as I was the eldest by a long chalk I expected to finish 3rd. I was not to be disappointed.

Ethiopian runner Lemawaork Ketema broke the track record. But he was not only star on show.

Dorothea Grolig, 15 seconds behind me, was in former times an Austrian International and Olympic athlete in race walking events and is listed 8th in the 2012 World Rankings for her age category over the 20 kms distance.

1 - L Ketema (Ethiopia) 29:26 (CR)
2- A Sungi (UAB Athletics) M40 32:04
3- M Bock (ASKÖ Breitenau) 32:06
14- N Plank (NCB Tri-Team) 1M60 40:56
20- J Kapp (Vienna Cricket) 2M60 49:08
21- G Williams (Clayton H) 3M60 52:40
22- D Grolig (o.V.) 1F60 52:55

23 ran (incl. 3 ladies)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Vienna Cricket Races

I believe I ran the first 9.35km Vienna Cricket cross-country race of 2014 in 51 minutes something. This time is 4 minutes slower than my time of 47 minutes something a couple of years ago. My friend Helmut consoled me by sending a video of the Earth spinning. 4 minutes is nothing, I concluded. In the event I won a bar of Milka chocolate for being 2nd finisher in the Over 60's. The fact that there were  only two finishers in the Over 60's category is neither here nor there.

Here is the result of my race:

Vienna Cricket Club XC-Races 12th Jan 2014
9,350 mtrs race (10 laps)

01 - M Sostaric 31:31
25 - J Kallina    43:34  1L
28 - J Kapp       49:31  1M60
29 - G Williams 51:37  2M60

30 ran (1dnf)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Seekirchen New Year's Eve Race

I'm not really a pot hunter - but sometimes it just feels like it!

Seekirchen is not far from Salzburg. I went to Seekirchen on New Year's Eve for the 2013 Silvesterlauf, as it's called here. The main sponsor of the race was the local baker and in the free tombola I won a gigantic figure of 8 or pretzel shaped loaf of bread. 

In the race itself I was left flatfooted at the start and got myself tangled up with some Nordic Walkers who started their event at the same time and in the same place. I finally finished 8th of the 11 runners in the over 60's class. And so I didn't win anything. There was no separate category for the over 65 runners. 

The two lap flat course, with a couple slight undulations, began in the town square and followed the road leading in the direction of the nearby lake of Wallersee. There was a distant glimpse of the lake and then a quick left and left again near the railway station to follow another road back into the town and begin the second lap. 

The organizers had diligently salted and gritted the icy roads to enable the race to proceed. In the bright sunshine there were no major problems but on short stretches of road in the shadows and on some corners one had obviously to take care. We were told to expect some ice here and there as it was after all the Austrian winter. That said, there was no snow anywhere about to be seen. 

The result here: 

Seekirchen Silvesterlauf
31st December 2013 / 5.8kms

1 - L Hollaus (Zell-am-See) AUT - 17m:44s
122 - H Moosleitenr (Mitterfelden) 1M60 GER - 23m:40s
414 - G Williams (Clayton H) 8M60 GBR - 30m13s

620 finishers

A suggestion for next year would be to start the Nordic Walking event 5 minutes after the runners. By the time I'd scuttled safely through their swinging poles and got to the start line a lot of runners were already out of sight . . .

Nevertheless a great way to end the year!