Friday, January 25, 2019


Going extreme, briefly

The eight edition of the 24 Stunden Burgenland Extrem Tour around Lake Neusiedl took place this weekend. Having signed up and cancelled twice for health reasons, I finally made it this year. A big thank you to my friend Erich, whom I had talked into going for this together three years ago and who was kind enough to give it another try.

I was super excited the days before and somewhat relieved to see others talk about their rising panic as well, both the distance of 120 kilometers and the unpredictable winter weather make this more extreme than the typical running event. Fortunately the storage capacity of the running vest put a natural limit on how much I could possibly pack to feel prepared.

Following the spirit “LIVE LOVE MOVE”, as the organizers put it, the 24 Stunden Burgenland Extrem Tour is not a competition but a huge collective adventure, a road to new experiences, life-long friendships and also a path to yourself.  Right from the start  the tour is very relaxed, a large crowd of people moving along the narrow tracks, usually in small groups, not worrying too much about their pace, chatting and having a good time. 

The weather started out nice, with temperatures around the freezing point and only a light breeze, and the bright moonlight illuminated the snow-covered tracks up and down the vineyard hills (so much for Burgendland being flat). After slipping a few times on the snow-covered tracks, I once scored points for an elegant telemark landing that should later knock me out of the tour.

We passed the green boarder near Fertőrákos, and enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the sun that finally broke through the clouds. As we progressed to Balf, the first supply station offering tea and snacks, we decided to each run at our individual speeds. While I managed to stick to my planned pace on average, walking uphill and running downhill, my ankle was increasingly hurting and I was happy to reach the second supply station at Hegykő. Unfortunately taking a break here didn’t help, on the contrary. Getting back into my shoe I could barely walk, let alone run. Thus ended the tour for me early after just 34 kilometers.

Back in Oggau, the nice lady who recognized the finishers with a medal insisted that I should get one too, kind of an honorary mention I guess. Doing just one fourth of the tour was certainly not what I had planned but still a good experience, and above all I made new friends and learned a few things for the next time.

Congratulations to all finishers, who successfully beat the weather and the strong winds in the second half of the tour, extreme thanks to the organizers for a great event, and I am looking forward to the 24 Stunden Burgenland Extrem Tour again in 2020!


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