Friday, 18 August 2017

Training on Mountains

Austrian mountains are just the job when it comes to building condition.

My first 'rule' is: choose a mountain a short distance away and run gently to its foot.

Today my final destination is a point in the above phootograph - the 'v' shaped ridge between the central summits. The nearest point at the base of the mountain range is 1.5 kms away and my 'finish line' is 6 kms away.

My second 'rule' is: in hot weather always carry water - either to drink or pour over the head. I know a convenient tap on a wall at the foot of the mountain - a great place to top-up my 500 ml bottle.

The third 'rule' is: avoid the temptation to start too fast, taking into account the temperature and the steepness of the slope.

I'm starting at 500 meters (1,800 ft) and aiming to  be at an altitude of 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in an hour and a half; a place where the air will be much thiner and the sun's rays  much stronger.

I'll be wearing my running cap backwards, to protect the nape of my neck from sunburn.

An important fourth 'rule' is: know the way back. Today I'll be taking a cable car for the return journey. One of life's little luxuries.

'Rule' five: take the opportunity to look at the scenery and observe the various climate zones.

Sixth and final 'rule': having earned it the hard way - enjoy the view! Have a beer if you fancy one!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Krumau-Idolsberg Trails

Visit any tourist information office in Austria, even in the smallest town,  and it would be surprising if you were not able to obtain some useful information about local footpaths and/or forest trails.

Here is a map showing 7 signposted walks around Kampsee Thurnberg, a lake 100 kms to the north of Vienna.

Sections of routes 5 and 7 and the whole of route 2 were chosen by a marathon runner, M,  who invited me to join him on a recent 20 km training run.

A friendly frog on a wooden signpost showed us the way!

Our run took us through a forest above some cliffs from where we had occasional glimpses of the lake from an up-and-down forest path and later in the run from a technical section of single trail.

On our way we stopped and tasted blackberries. We were bitten by horseflies. It rained for 2 hours.
Some of the hills were long and steep. I found it all mentally cool.

From my perspective M's route choice was brilliant.

Friday, 28 July 2017

New: The "Check-My-Tree" Running and Walking Trail

Today I took my camera and went to reconnoitre a new route called Check-My-Tree Trail which starts and ends on the outskirts of Vienna in the district of Neuwaldegg (tram 43).  

The way is marked with prominent green arrows. 

The opening section was straight and flat, and along a tree lined avenue in the direction of the Schwarzenberg Park and the Vienna Woods.

After 2 kms the tarmac ended. I then crossed a small wooden bridge over a stream and took a woodland path on the right.

The path climbed steadily upward and curved around 3 bends. With another 2 kms and the halfway mark behind me I arrived at a handsome shelter cum information point on the summit plateau.

This building marks the Wende or turn. From here the way back to the the starting point is just 3.6 kms.  The outward journey was 4 kms.

Back at the start there are 3 options:

1) go round again

2) catch a tram back to the city

3) go for a swim

Time taken: 52 minutes

I like the Check-My-Tree Trail and predict it will prove very popular with weekend runners and walkers. Clearer signing on the return route near the snack bar in the park would be quite useful. But that's a minor criticism. It's amazing what you can do with a dozen green arrows. Money well spent!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Over 'The Hill'

The Hill is not long.

Maybe it's 2 kms.

It has 8 bends.

There are two steep sections. The steepest is after bend 7, with a gradient of 10%.

Halfway up The Hill there is a runner on a concrete wall.

I attack The Hill on my one hour training runs.

I like The Hill.   Running over The Hill is exhilarating.

At the top of The Hill the road ends     and the trail begins.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A 1/5th Marathon

On Sunday I went to a picture postcard location in Upper Austria to take part  in a "1/5th marathon",- a scenic 2 lap race which included an off-road trail around the perimeter of a green peninsula protruding into the Traunsee lake.

The start and finish locations were in the town square of Gmunden - and as the race got underway the bells of the town hall clock chimed 10am.

Runners in a shorter race, a "1/10th marathon" taking place at the same time and over the same course wore red numbers.  The rest of us wore green, and since the numbers were worn on our fronts it made for an interesting challenge. To chase or not to chase, that was the question.

A first for me was that I was the oldest competitor in a race. I guess it had to happen sooner or later!

With this useful string bag souvenir for my bits and pieces I can now pretend to be a triathlete!  

8.4 kms Gmunden 9th July 2017

1. E Seid (ETH) - 27:30
113. G Williams (GBR) - 45:49

134 Finishers

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Long Run in Waldviertel

The area around Zwettel (think beer!) presents the runner with wide skies, long horizons, and meditative solitude. Ideal for a long run.

The training pace was gentle and I managed to sustain it for 4 hours (the overall time includes 2 x 10 minute breaks for refreshments - the first after 1 hour and the second after 3 hours).

I arrived back at my starting point feeling comfortable and relaxed.

It was great to know that 4 hours on my feet holds no horrors!

Preparation for September's half-marathon and beyond, with the new training system, is on course.

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!