Race #5: The WachauMARATHON, A Lesson In Grace

This season of running events came towards a conclusion as planned, after all, with the Wachau-Marathon on September 16.


Good thing I did, after all, go there:
For one, the time of the Schneeberg Trail run which I thought I’d do instead saw me struggle against a cold which had me decide to better not attempt it. (Hey, part of being “at home in…” definitely has to be listening to your bodily self.)
Secondly, it turned out to be a truly beautiful marathon, with pretty much all that I had hoped for – and a few other lessons.

WachauMARATHONIn hindsight, as always, the good memories remain the strongest…

The landscape alone, not without reason a world cultural heritage, makes the region worth a visit (and more); it holds history and beauty galore, from the Venus of Willendorf to the castle that Richard Lionheart was imprisoned in, not to forget the cultural landscape of the terraced vineyards along the Danube and the grand monasteries on both ends of this river valley.

The course for the race, meanwhile, follows the Danube down from Emmersdorf to Krems on the B3, the main road through the Wachau. This makes for a rather easy and fast course nothing like the mountain runs before – and indeed, I also managed my fastest time yet, which was just the reason I liked having two normal marathons at the beginning (Vienna City Marathon) and at the end of the series of events I participated in this year:

  • Vienna… 4:14 hours (net), and feeling pretty beat-up afterwards
  • Wachau… 3:45 hours, and feeling like going for another run the day after

The organization, too, was absolutely laudable.
Start numbers could be picked up a few days ahead in Vienna (or the day before at the marathon expo in Krems); there was a special train going from Vienna to the start (slowly, with some delay, but still comfortably); the record number of participants nicely spread to the different events/distances which all start in different places (with the half and quarter marathon runners starting at – surprise – the half and quarter points, respectively), so that the marathon start could be at the same time for all – and there weren’t all that many people running the whole distance.
And finally, the refreshment stations always had the same, rather nice, selection of things so that there was always a choice of what you wanted (which was an absolute low point of the Vienna City Marathon, in contrast, where there were always different things, and always just the few that the sponsors ha d apparently provided).

It’s just a little funny that the memories should be that good, given that I started out with the pace runner for 3:30, kept up and even went a little faster for quite a while, felt great doing it – and then had the food from the day before that had inadvertently gotten too spicy start causing trouble, quite some soreness start coming on badly enough to make me walk quite a few sections towards the end, it all slowing me down and not exactly making for the best of feelings but rather one of being humbled…
Still, it was a good run of mine, all in all, and a beautiful one, overall.

WachauMARATHON - at the finish

Next up, the “Vienna Circle” is a go, and with that, I seek to switch to another kind of running “events”: ones done alone or (predominantly) with other local people; self-supported and packing-in/packing-out rather than producing lots of trash; oriented on getting out into the world and being inspired by it, using physical endurance and mental stamina for that purpose rather than “conquering” body and world one way or another, and still – if not all the more – inspirational because of it.

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