Austria’s preeminent figurehead and organizer of trail runs calls, of course you come.
Last year, I had gone to the Hochkönigman Trail Running Festival for the Marathon Trail, and ended up also helping interpret the race briefings in English.
This year, I had not been planning on coming, but Thomas Bosnjak asked if I wanted to serve as his interpreter again, so I went.
As part of the deal, I got a hotel room for the night I’d definitely be spending there (short as it was, between the Endurance Trail race briefing at 11 pm and its start at midnight, and the Marathon and Speed Trail briefings at 7am and 9am, respectively).
Well, and I got a starter spot in the Speed Trail.
Call It a Test
Normally, I wouldn’t want to travel somewhere for a race that is just about as long as a training session of mine. And this race comes only two weeks before the Stelvio Marathon.
We called it a good test and preparation, though, and I’m sure happy we did.
As a test for the Stelvio Marathon, this is not promising.
The (second major) climb kicked my ass; I had to stop repeatedly in the heat and with the exhausting climbing, to try and cool down and let my leg muscles relax.
As if they wanted to…
I clearly – and not surprisingly – hadn’t gotten nearly enough hill training in. Well, the problem of not living in the mountains. Or any place, really, that offers chances for decent uphills.
An Experience Like Miles More
As a race, and a type of race I would usually avoid, this was a fascinating lesson, though.
This race was only 23-or-so kilometers.
1500-ish meters of total ascent.
Yet, it contained enough exhausting climbs, pleasurable downhills and technical trails, and so many great views across the Hochkönig landscape, it felt like it was much longer.
Look for yourself:
It was all a matter of mere hours, though. (Just below 3:30 hours, in my case.)
There was a bit of interesting accompanying action already, with the Endurance Trail runners starting with a bit of a fire show, and there would be quite a bit more after the races.
Awards ceremony, a little after-race party with live music… Fun for those who want that kind of fun.
Me? My wife’s calling me back, and there’s work to do before next weekend sees me exploring the outdoor possibilities offered by Liechtenstein.
Results Are In
With all that exhaustion, I didn’t feel particularly strong.
Looking at the results, though, I’m happier than I was with my ‘performance’ in the midst of it.
After all, those 3 hours not-quite-30-minutes made me #70 in my age group, and would make me #35 in the next age group, which I’ll be joining only too soon.
Not bad, out of a total of almost 300 participants.
I’m a bit sore right now, but already looking forward to that weekend in Liechtenstein, immensely.