Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Back to Zeil

Free Wine
For the last three years out of four, i have finished of my season with the Zeiler Waldmarathon, for anyone not sure where or what type of Marathon it is let me give you some idea, Zeil am Main is a small village which dates back to 1018 AD, every November the local Marathon takes place in the "Wald" which means forest above Zeil. Registration takes place on the Friday evening and for a short period of time before the race on the Saturday, morning in the local school, entry costs around 20 euros, the race is chip timed and you get a local bottle of non alcohol beer from the local Goller brewery, A local bus which is free takes you to and from the start/finish which is a five minute drive away, once you complete the race, you take your number back during the prize giving where you are given a litre of white wine (alcoholic) before joining the prize giving. in Europe the awards are very good as the prizes are given in 5 year increments for the first 3 male and female in all events.

Course Profile - Strava
How it looks in the snow
Due to the time of year and location the weather in Bavaria is very changeable you can go from sun to minus temperatures and snow (see picture), this year the course was very boggy due to the previous few days of rain combined with the Marathon (two loops), Half Marathon and Nordic walks.

Travelling to Zeil, you have to take the train from the airport into Munich City Centre then another train out to Bamberg before changing again for the final train (4 travelling back on a Sunday), it may seem like a long journey when your reading this but the rail network is great that the journey is not an issue.

We arrived on the Friday as usual and checked in to the local hotel which is less that five minutes walk to registration, we caught up with local  organisers at the school who have been overseeing the event for many years, then it was off for a meal and a few pre race beers.

A Quick Glass of Cola
Andy, Sam and Me (L - R)
On Race day it was down for some breakfast before heading for the bus to the start, after the usual customary photos and a quick chat with Adam Zahoran (2nd in WHW to James Stewart) it was time to step up to the line, Adam had said that there was some good ultra runners taking part this year, German 50k and 100k champs including Adam who had run and won the 100 miles four weeks earlier. the race which is two loops within the forest has over 2680 ft of climbing, a quick countdown and we were off, Adam sat in the lead with Neils Bubel who runs around 3 hours for 50k and Giovani Gonzales who ran just over 7 hours for the 100k in August, the leaders were away like gazelles floating over the course and the rest of us sat in content to get to the finish, as the kilometres started to tick away over the boggy underfoot conditions the rain came on, i was sitting in 7th place for the first 21km when i came through to start the second lap i saw Adam standing, he has decided that 4 weeks was not enough recovery for the underfoot conditions and profile of the course, i had now moved into 6th then around 25km i moved into 5th spot where i would stay as i crossed the finish line.

Sam's the Man
This years medal turned out to very very special, Sam who i train with and speaks great German has been travelling to this race for many years due to the friendship he has struck up with the organisers, which included a piper playing at our awards in 2014 and Sam running in a kilt in 2015 and now this year his photograph from 2016 was the picture for this years medal, not something you normally see but at this event they pick a runner or a group each year for the following years medal, well done Sam.


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