Sunday, 13 November 2016

Frosty Trail in Vienna Woods

This morning the thermometer hovered around freezing point. But frosty mornings on the trails hereabouts are a special experience. The crunch–––crunch–––crunch of frozen snow under running feet is hypnotic. Throw in an occasional zephyr and a sudden fall of ice and snow from a tunnel of overhead branches and you feel there's a ghost in the treetops. 

And then the sun peeped through. And I grabbed my camera and went for it - my first training run in wintry conditions this back end of the year. 

It was energizing and rewarding. And even though I 'm not a runner who takes music on the run I did hear the refrain Happy days are here again - or something like it - from somewhere in my head as I began my climb to the summit stone on the pass over the Exelberg hill.  

Here's the trail:  

Mud on your studs! 

And up the hill we go . . .

. . . into the winter wonderland

. . . to the summit stone!


Copper beech. Descending.

A stream of thoughts . . .

. . . and reflections.

The End

Sunday, 2 October 2016

GIS Berglauf

In this race I was 4th of 4 in my age category. A few days later I came down with a bad cold or allergy from which I'm slowly recovering.

More on the race in due course.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Postalm Berglauf

The Postalm Berglauf is a new event in the Austrian Alps. The second annual running took place on Saturday 3rd September 2016. The start was at the convenient hour of 9:30 am from the lakeside at
Strobl on Wolfgangsee.

The weather was fine and the course of 13.1 kms with 820 mtrs ascent and a 190 mtrs descent to finish off was well marked and suitably marshaled.

I could have made a more suitable shoe choice being a heavier runner, 76kgs, as my clomping technique on the steeper stony sections on the climb could have benefited from footwear with a little more cushioning and grip than my painful race rockets. I shall try and remember this simple fact if I elect do this attractive and enjoyable race again.

There were, as far as we the M65s could make out only 3 of us in the field. Unfortunately the official senior category jumps from M60 to M70. Nevertheless we were content to work out our own unofficial category placings.

An hour or two after the race I had the privilege and pleasure to chat to a delightful personality. He was the 83 year old mountain runner Hermann Eder. He was wearing a faded race t-shirt from an international race of long ago. He told me was looking forward to turning 85 and stepping up to yet another age caregory.  When the time came for us to go our separate ways he slipped into the drivers seat of his 53 year old 3-cylinder sports car and with a friendly wave motored off to his next destination.

Strobl to Postalm Berglauf
3rd Sepember 2016

1. A Englbrecht  TSL Bad Goisern. 1:10:58
84. G Williams  Clayton Harriers 2M65. 2:01:39

91 finishers.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Coed-Y-Brenin - Trail Marathon Wales

Europe in Union: Williams (Wales) with Vendali (Italy) 

Don't be fooled by the palm trees. We are really in Wales. The seaside resort of Barmouth is just a few miles from Coed-Y-Brenin  - the Forest of Kings - in the Snowdonia National Park.  There were two trail races on offer: a full marathon (start 9am) or a half-marathon (start 10am). We were pre-entered in the latter.

Our plan was to run together at a steady pace in order that we would enjoy the rest of the holiday without feeling unduly tired from our efforts. We achieved this by walking up the three steepest and longest hills, running the other uphills, the downhills and the flat bits. We also stopped at the two refreshments stations to take advantage of the isotonic drinks and water on offer.

About 2 kms before the finish I was feeling surprisingly strong and confident and gradually drew away from my companion and the rest of our group to finish alone with a gentle sprint up to the line. 

The whole experience was immensely enjoyable. Even the weather played its part in providing optimal running temperatures; that is to say it was not too hot, as it had been in the previous three weeks. After it was all over I found myself wondering about doing the full marathon next time . . .  but that daft thought quickly evaporated when I sipped my first pint of Welsh real ale. 

Wales Trial Half-Marathon 2016 
21.4 kms (approx) 

1. M Nichols - Tonbridge AC - 1:22.10 
2. A Miller  -  Belgrave H - 1:30:19
359.  G Williams - Clayton H - 2:39:40  12M60
377. M Vendali - Italia Poste - 2:42:31  40M50

506 Finishers 
and 8 DNF's. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

The 2016 Pfandl Dam Run

View of Zimnitz from Bad Ischl

Improvements to the hiking trail atop the Ischler dam meant that runners in the Pfandl Dam Race had panoramic views of the wonderful scenery.

The village of Pfandl, where the race starts and finishes, nestles below the Zimnitz mountain.

The popular health resort of Bad Ischl is just 5 kms away.

The 16th May 2016 saw the 26th running of the Pfandl Dam Race.

Pfandl 7.4 kms multi-terrain.

1.   A Englebrecht - Team Lichenegger - 24:04
2.   A Pfandlbauer - Mammut - 24:52
3.   S Greiner - Sparkasse - 25:35
124. F Lettner - St Wolfgang - 1M65 - 37:28
132. G Williams - Clayton H - 2 M65 - 38:53

165 finishers.

There were just two runners in the men's 65-69 age category. I was satisfied with my 2nd place in this early season outing.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Running for those who can't

Wings for Life (motto: running for those who can't) was set up under the auspices of the Red Bull organization to give financial help in the field of spinal cord research. One hundred precent of all monies including donations, sponsorship and entry fees for the Wings for Life Race goes towards research. Not one cent is deducted for expenses, advertising or any other reasons.

This year's race, the third annual event, attracted a record 140,000 runners. I ran at the Vienna venue.

My personal target was to reach the famous area of parkland known as the Prater, approximately 15 kms from the start in the city centre at Karlsplatz, before being hoovered-up by the 'catcher car'.

Some 15,000 athletes participated in the Vienna race.

All 34 races at venues in 17 time zones around the world started simultaenuously.

In England the Wings for Life Race started at Cambridge and the 'catcher car' was driven slowly by racing driver David Coulthard.

Here I am on Saturday afternoon, the day before the race, with the Austrian 'catcher car'.

In the Wings for Life Race everyone is a winner.

My result:

Finisher position: 43,393

Distance: 12.78 kms

Registered runners: 130,732

Friday, 6 May 2016

Schoepfl Mountain Race

First competitive run over the hills (2016) so it was, to coin a horse racing term, a 'pipe opener'.

New course which I considered an improvement on the old one took in less tarmac and more wilderness. With red and white spots on stones and direction arrows or race marshalls where required navigation was not problem.

Conditions on the hill were cool, misty and muddy.

I tracked my old rival Günther Nolz up the final ascent and finished a little under half a minute behind him.


7 kms / 450 mtrs +

1.  A Krenn M40 (Castrol Edge Power)  33:59
19. H Waxenecker 1F (LC Mank) 43:05
33. J Ratteneder 1M65 (U.St. Pölten) 49:17
59. G Williams 5M65 (Clayton H) 57:49

69 Finishers.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Some photos from the Vienna City Marathon.

Race conditions: cool and blustery.

Austria's Valentin Pfeil finished 13th in 2:16:37

Winner: Robert Chemosin (KEN) 2:09:48

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Lainzer Tiergarten Training

The S-Bahn 45 took me to Hüttledorf Bhf and from there I walked to the Nikolai Tor of the Lainzer Tiergarten about 10 minutes away.

There are many trails for runners and walkers (without dogs) in the Tiergarten and I was there for my first springtime run of 2016.

A cautious choice was a gentle 2 laps of a hilly 3.5 kms circuit. My backpack and contents which I carried with me on the run weighed 4 kgs (or 9 lbs).

I ran in an anti-clockwise direction beginning at point 1 (see map) and went via points 18, 17, 16, . . . etc. basically ascending the 50 meters to the summit and arriving at point 6. My way then descended to point 1 via points 5, 4, 3, and 2.

The top photograph was taken on the second lap near point 3.

This 7 kms run was completed without problems in a time 45 minutes. That's equivalent to a 4hrs 30mins marathon pace.

The 3.5 kms Nikolai Tor circuit is a practical training route with possibilities:

Laps ------------- Distance
1 ............ 3.5kms (hd +/- 50 mtrs)
2 ............ 7.0kms (hd +/- 100 mtrs)
3 ........... 10.5kms (hd +/- 150 mtrs)
6 ........... 21.0kms (appx. half marathon) (hd +/- 300 mtrs)
12 ......... 42.0kms (appx. full marathon) (hd +/- 600 mtrs)

Friday, 1 January 2016

End of the Year in Linz

In Austria there are many town centre races that a runner can choose from on New Years Eve.

I chose Linz, because I wanted to 'get the feel' of the place. There are several running events in the locality during the course of the year and some of them may come into consideration when making future plans.

Linz lies on the Danube River. The city is the capital and the administrative centre of the province of Upper Austria. Situated on the main east-west railway line Linz is a convenient location for the traveller.

The 6 kms course for the Silvesterlauf consists of 2 x 3 kms laps of the city centre, that is to say of the old town. The start and finish area is near the Art University in the Hauptplatz. Conditions on the day were ideal. I was delighted with my 4th place. No complaints.

Linz 6 kms Road Race
31st December 2015

1.  W Ploeger NED  17:23
9.  M Herzog  NED  1F  19:44
304.  E Fischer-Colbrie  AUT 1M65  27:05
489. G Williams GBR 4M65  30:17

781 Finishers
(incl. 10 M65s)