Sunday, 18 June 2017

Pfandl Result

The 27th Iso-Radler Dammlauf took place on 5th June 2017 in and around the village of Pfandl in Upper Austria.

The 7.4km  race is known as "the dam race" because the course runs along a gravel trail atop the embankment of the Ischl River. It is a scenic course with views of many mountains and hills including the Katrin, the High Schrott, the Jainzen and the Zimnitz. Conditions on the day were warm and humid, meaning there was little chance of any records being broken. For myself, I was about 4 or 5 minutes adrift of my 2016 time but nevertheless quite pleased with my age-related performance finishing officially 8th of 11 in my final year in the M60 class.

A major highlight of my day was meeting the enthusiastic Josy Simon, age 83, who can boast world records for 100 kms and 50 kms amongst his many achievements.

1.  A Englebrecht    (Team Sport Lichtenegger). 24:10:10
27. C Wimmer         (LG St Wolfgang).  1L 29:58:20
149 G Williams       (Clayton Harriers).  M60 43:41:80

177 finishers

Monday, 29 May 2017

Normal Training Resumed

So many trails . . .

Ready for the off . . . 

Fringing the wine gardens . . . 

A wild flower paradise . . . 

My 'local runner' leads the way . . . 

Hello Poppy!

Scanning the horizon . . .  for a suitable tavern? 

This morning's run was of one hour duration. My guide for the day, that's him in the bottom picture, picked the route and I simply followed. We didn't get lost.

The path on which my friend H is standing is part of the so-called Rundumadum - a waymarked walking route which follows the Vienna boundary.

As indicated by the map in the top picture we started in the Bisamberg area.

I wore long socks as a layer protection against any Zecken (ticks) which might be lying in wait alongside the path. That's shown in the second photo.

We soon emerged into open meadows and sunlight. The other photos give some idea of the terrain, the wide sky, and the wild flowers to be seen along the way.

Afterwards we went to a wine tavern for lunch. I had a spinach strudel and a mixed salad washed down with red grape juice.

That's the short run out of the way. The medium and long runs for the week are waiting in the wings.*

The summer beckons.

*Flexible plans are important!  The week's training turned out to be 4 runs -  each of 1hr 00 to 1hr 30mins duration.  Not quite what I'd envisaged!

Back to normal next week?
Well, that's the idea!  

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Mixed Doubles

An Impressive Backdrop: Dachstein Mountain and Glacier

In May I ran the second leg of an evening relay race along a rain soaked trail around an Alpine lake.

Martina, my running partner for the evening, completed her 4.2 kms circuit 4 minutes faster.

Runners and spectators braved heavy thunder showers - which enhanced the excitement.

There were 30 teams in our category 'Mixed Pairs'.

We were pleased with our solid performance: 12th place (8.4 kms - 43 mins).

ps - Better late than never:

6th May 2017 Heavy showers!
Dachstein Lakeside Team Race:


Individual 4.2 kms Trail.

1 - A Englebrecht   14:19
56- M Deubler        20:09
75- G Williams       24:13

98 Finishers


Mixed Teams 8.4 kms Trail

1.   Team Magotti   34:47
12  NTS Team        44:22

30 Mixed Teams Finished

Monday, 22 May 2017

Karlovy Vary Half Marathon: "All Runners are Beautiful"

After a pleasurable evening in a Czech pub I slept well.

The following morning was taken up with sightseeing. The afternoon involved mental preparation for the evening's Karlovy Vary Half Marathon (start 5:30pm).

The runner's best friend - the banana.

After the first kilometer - a bridge (not too far).

 Years ago a reporter had the nerve to suggest to the great Czech runner Emil Zatopek that his arms- flailing-everywhere running method was not so beautiful as the running style of another well-known athlete. Zatopek found the right words:

'All runners are beautiful' - Emil Zatopek

 Karlovy Vary is picturesque spa town with much to recommend it:

Hot water from the Earth!

Riverside Walks

A Russian Orthodox Church

A romantic atmosphere

A viewing tower 

Beautiful facades

and Maestro Beethoven!

The crowds lining the route were unbelievable. I have never passed so many noisy, cheerful, smiling faces in the space of a couple of hours. It seemed everybody and his dog were determined to enjoy the day. Everyone was a child at heart. People whirled rattles and shouted encouragement, or blew whistles. On the edge of the town women clanged their cow bells, and the bands and singers strung along the route kept the musical beat going.  Every child wanted to smack hands with a runner. And I obliged dozens of times. I think I ran the whole 21 kilometers with a fixed smile. It was a wonderful madcap marathon. And I was pleased to be part of it; I was one of nearly 3,000 entrants representing a total of 46 countries all with the same goal in sight.  And I can tell you, if runners ruled the world there would be no need for wars. As Emil Zatopek once said: All runners are beautiful.

20th May 2017
Karlovy Vary Half Marathon 21.1 kms.  Conditions: Light wind. 90% cloud cover. Temp 13-17 C.

1. W Kimitei  (KEN)  1:00:54   -  1:00:54  -  CR/PB

2019*.  G Williams  (GBR) M65 -  2:13:08  -  2:09:45  -  11 M65**

2597 Finishers.

*Timing and finishing position. There are two times. The second time 2:09:45 is the accurate computer chip time. The position of 2019th and M65 11th given here are based on 2:13.08 (which is not the real time taken to complete the course).

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Today's Wings for Life World Run Live on Internet TV - Video Link

Race Start is 12 noon (UK Time) 1 pm Central European Time.  Coverage starts about 1 hour earlier.

It's gonna rain. And I'm gonna get wet. So why do it? Simple. We're running for those who can't!

Tip: From the Red Bull TV homepage scroll to Live Events and select Wings for Life World Run.

The race began in sunshine but after an hour it did rain as predicted. The Austrian winner my friend Lemawork Ketema a refugee from Ethiopia but now a naturalized Austrian had to battle rain and gusty winds but still broke his own personal best and finished 3rd in the world behind the Dubai winner (a wheelchair athlete from Sweden) and the Milan winner (an ultra runner from Poland).

It took 6 minutes to get from starting block 3 to the start line and about the same again to run to the 1km marker due to negotiating a path through many slower runners. In the end I reached the 12 km point (where I stopped and waited for the Catcher Car) in about 72 minutes by my watch. I calculated my final time as 66 minutes, which is 5min 30secs average pace per km, roughly what I was aiming for.

The first estimate is that spinal cord research will receive something like 6.8 million euros from runners' entry fees and donations.

official result (provisional) :
Over 155,000 registered runners!

53,947 th overall worldwide 
37,531 st male worldwide 
6,686th in Vienna 
16th m65 in Vienna 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Final Countdown - 8 days to go!

Map of this afternoon's little outing:

Today's 21 km training run
  (mixed surface / hilly terrain) 
That's the last training run in the bag. Between now and 7th May a couple of easy jogs of 30 minutes or so should get me to the start line feeling as fit as a fiddle. I'm hoping I can once again reach the 12 kms point before the Catcher Car sweeps me up! To win this race, if you're a male athlete, you must be able to run for about 80 kms before the Catcher Car gets you. Now that really takes some doing!

- Wings for Life World Run - Excitement in the air! -

In just a few days 150,000 runners from around the globe will line up at 33 locations in many countries, and a lot of them in different time zones. 

It's all to raise money for spinal cord research, a cause dear to my heart. And so I will be there, as I was last year for the start in Vienna. 

I can hardly wait. 

Meanwhile, today will see my final 2 hour training run. It's all going to plan. 

I think I'm flying! For my age, that is :)

2016 - I'm somewhere in the middle of this lot! 

Wings for Life World Run -
Front Page News! 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Wings for Life World Run 2017

Just had an official email confirming my entry. It'll be my second year in the race. When I've finished I'll still have time to get home and watch the final stages on the internet platform Red Bull TV. The winner, who is the last one left running in the whole world, will have to run at least 80 kms. Last year the men's winner was from Italy and the women's was in Japan. The Japanese woman ran in the dark, as all the worldwide races in 33 countries start at at exactly the same time. Contestants in other countries where there is no official race can still compete by downloading the Wings for Life App.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Second Long Run

The bus took me from the railway station at Heiligenstadt to my starting point about halfway up the first hill. Ströck (the logo on the horse's neck) is the name of a bakery. They make good bread.

After 10 minutes of gentle uphill running I was on the desired path.

The Vienna Woods is a working forest. There's always something to do. After the recent storms many trees have to be cleared from the paths.

This path leads to the first summit of Hermann's Kogel.  At 542 mtrs it's the highest point within the Vienna boundary.

A glimpse of the city below. The faint blue stripe to the left of centre is the Danube river.

The summit and the old Habsburg Tower nowadays adorned with modern electronics.

On the way to the next hilltop a fallen tree blocks my chosen path. I make a small diversion.

I meet two Japanese ladies. They are photographing a pond. This gives me an idea. They agreed to take my photo.

Ascending the Hameau which has a small plateau on top (464 mtrs) and an information board.  There are paths and trails in many directions. I take one going north-east.

Ten minutes short of 3 hours, with a 10 minute stop for cake and coffee, I reach my destination.

The distance is not relevant. I have no way of recording it, and anyway with my new training schedule it's time on my feet that really matters.

All in all it was a fine way to spend a Monday morning, and it satisfactorily brings to an end the second week of my new training system  (which is outlined in one of the posts below).

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Springing into Action!

My weekly training plan for 2017 is now taking shape:

Day 1 -
Day 2 - 1 hour run
Day 3 -
Day 4 - 3 hour run (increasing 4 hour run)*
Day 5 -
Day 6 -
Day 7 - 2 hour run

The venue for the long run will normally be the Lainzer Tiergarten on the outskirts of Vienna or a similar area elsewhere - e.g. the Lobau.

The short and medium runs will normally be in the Vienna Woods. The running surface will be mostly off-road: woodland paths, forest trails, lakeside paths, parkland etc..

The purpose of the new training plan is to build a solid fitness base for 2018, a year  which I hope will be a memorable year featuring some exciting running challenges.

Here, shown with arrowed black dashes, is an approximately 20 km route almost exclusively in the Lainzer Tiergarten. It starts and finishes at the Hutteldorf Railway Station (Line S45).

*Long Run includes a refreshment stop. Hermes Villa is convenient for Apple Strudel and Coffee!

Update (1)

The 2 hour medium length run was ticked off on the 17th.

It was about 18 kms (12 laps) over meadows and paths. (Türkenschanz Park near Gersthof S45 Line).

Showers - quite heavy.

Next week - same basic plan: 1 x Short, 1 x Long, 1 x Medium.

Update (2)

I had to dig out my balaclava and gloves for my 1 hour short run on the 19th over local parkland braving a stiff breeze and snow flurries!

Conditions were a bit fresh today to use a well worn Pennine understatement.  

Update (3)

On the 21st I tackled my medium run (2 hrs) in Vienna Woods on snowy and muddy trails, some flowing like streams, others  littered with broken branches and uprooted trees. It was an enjoyable and wet footed experience. The sun was shining and I only saw one other runner. We exchanged knowing smiles! The next run, after two recovery days, will be the weekly long run (3 hours). And so it goes . . .


The city's outdoor swimming pools will be opening in a couple of weeks. Mostly on or about 1st May.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A Winter Training Spree!

Enter Here!


beyond black water

 to a picnic place

with a swing

and man on a ski machine!

A Bridge too far?

Beyond the frozen pond then . . . 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Another Running Year Dawns

Three Italians, two Austrians and one Welshman fuelled with modest amounts of wine and beer, and greater portions of salad and pasta took part in the trilingual run known as the - Winter night run on snow! - Corsa in notturna sulla neve! - Winter nachtlauf auf schnee! - in the Italian Dolomites at the weekend.

I'm not sure of the distances involved but I heard it mentioned that the courses were over 10.1 kms and 7.5kms. The Italians opted for the longer distance, and the rest of us for the shorter distance.

The choice of the shorter race by the non-Italian runners in our group was due to the complicated race administration procedure and the medical certificate requirement.

In Italy (for overseas runners) it is easier to enter shorter races in the category non-competitiva.

This was my first 'proper' run of 2017.

I think I finished somewhere in midfield in a time of 45 minutes.

Parts of the trail through the woods were illuminated by oil lamps placed in the snow and provided runners with a magical, almost surreal experience.

At the finish line someone called out my name and someone else gave me a cup of tea and a doughnut.

The temperature was about -6 C and over the mountains Venus hovered brightly in the crystal clear night.

A wonderful start to another year of off-road running.