Sunday, November 3, 2019


68 kilometers: The Ups and Downs of Wien Rundumadum 2019

68 kilometers, 1525 m elevation, 90000 steps – that’s how far I got this year at the Wien Rundumadum, the running event around the city of Vienna. While I dropped out again, it still marks the longest distance I ever did, albeit at a decreasing pace, but more on that later.

Last year I felt much better prepared but had screwed up on coordinating with family, now I had everyone’s blessing, although my family still thinks I am crazy, and probably rightly so. There were many familiar faces among the 83 runners who gathered in the early morning, ready for the 130 km course. After picking up the GPS trackers and getting a quick race briefing, we started at 05:30 am.

Having failed on the training plan and skipped most long runs, I knew that I lacked both mental and physical strength for a long distance run and was expecting some ups and downs. What I was not prepared for was the first energy low and a serious slowdown after merely 5 kilometers at a comfortable pace. An energy bar later I was back on track and happily moving along, except for a short detour to Cobenzl after missing a turn at Kreuzeiche. Reportedly, I was not the only one literally going for the extra mile here.

The first supply station had little to offer that appealed to me, heavy donuts are not my favorite food during activities. Tired of cold iso drinks I settled for only two bottles of sweat hot tea, which unfortunately didn’t go well with the sweat gels, so I skipped those. The second supply station after Lainzer Tiergarten had sweat rolls, which were not too bad once salted. The only real food was the soup generously provided by Traildog Running, many thanks to the team for offering something hot and salty.

There I was joking about having enough of a buffer to finish the remaining distance by walking, however moving on, my pace, which was already around 40 seconds per kilometer slower than last year, continued to drop and I was only half way through. Despite the optimistic predictions of my smartwatch, it became painfully obvious that I would not reach the finish line within the 24-hour cut-off time. The only co-runner going at a similar pace had fallen behind a while ago, and the prospect of doing the next segment through the Lobau national park all by myself wasn’t terribly attractive.

As night was falling, I decided to drop out. I had done more than half of the course, including most of the inclines, run longer and farther than ever before, and overall was at peace with myself and the world. Needless to say that after a lovely family dinner and a good night’s sleep I wonder if I should have done another segment, or maybe more.

If nothing else, the experience certainly has prepared me better for the next opportunity to go around Vienna: looking forward to WRU 2020!

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