In your quest to complete this challenge you will pass six bridges….
Hi, my name is Heiko, and today I will share with you enough information to decide whether you want to compete in the Würzburg marathon, and provide you with some insider experience. It’s not advice, it’s my experience and as every person is different, so is every runner.
Imagine if you will it’s a buffet, you only take what you like and as much as you want. If there is something you don’t like, someone else might appreciate that so no need to open up a can of worms.
To start off with… as usual for me I decided to enter the day before. I was looking for some challenge and came up with the idea of running a marathon every second weekend … 6 marathons in total, and to improve my time with every race,
Now I said or used the word compete because it’s a much stronger affirmation than participate. Participate leaves room for failure. And this is a straightforward marathon. You basically run up and down the Main river. Plus, if the weather is great, like it was when I ran it, you can and should go for your personal best.
Yes, there are some turns, but enough long straight flat stretches. Oh, and it is one of the few German races that is a Boston qualifier. But before you get over excited, to qualify for Boston you will need more than just speed. It will take certain mental tools to remain focused on the process of keeping that desired pace.
Right now I want to mention that this has to be one of the best organized races in terms of friendly helpers, and the way the whole marathon is geared up to cater to get all the runners processed, the baggage drop, the medal collection.
But let me talk about the race. Only about 400 or 500 runners take part in the marathon. However the start line if extremely packed. Side not: To all the new parents out there, really do you have to see daddy off right up to the finish line with the pram around all the stressed and nervous runners’?
“Really” You are going to miss your spouse so much… gheez, go wait somewhere else where there is less crowd and enjoy the Sunday morning.
Once you hear the starting gun, take it easy…. The start is a bit of a stop and go but then you cross the bridge of German unity, here the race already thins out as some runners…. I think it is the 10K head south whilst the marathon runners continue up north along the river, and pass the big free parking lot, and run into a industrial estate… but it’s far from boring, because there is a DJ who played really good tunes. Loud tunes. I honestly think the guy will have a tinnitus after that performance, but thanks for the music.
As you reach the Main river again, you have already completed 7KM’s, right at the Bridge of Peace. The old Main bridge was opened aroud 1120, and it was the first place where the river could be crossed.
Now it’s a straight line along the river until 12KM. Many bands, DJ’s and quite cheerful crowds help you through the flat pace. Oh, the road is not blocked exclusively for runners, there is oncoming traffic, and quite a few pedestrians crossing you race line. Crossing the Konrad Adenauer bridge around 13KM mark, you head up northerly direction, Main river is now on your left, and then there is a nice stretch that distracts you a bit.
Off to the north you spot the Fortress Marienberg,
You are running past building from the year 704. How impressive is that?
You head into Würzburg Altstadt, the old city. Pass many interesting churches which are all worth a mention actually….but….. Here you should look good, and pick up the pace. Why, well…. People sitting outside enjoying their breakfast. Police officers giving you a salute as they cordon or control traffic. The route now becomes a bit of a zig-zag, but just hang in there, don’t lose time. Because before you know it, you are past the halfway mark. And now, you start the second round. And you pass “the residence” on the Balthasar Neumann promenade. Really worth a visit. Plus you will run a street that is called Semelergasse from 1253… Semelergasse I suppose because there where a lot of bakery’s’… Semmel is the Bavarian word for beadroll.
Now this is a big psychological advantage. Depending on how your pace was, not how you are currently feeling. Just reflect on your halfway time, then mentally rehearse the route you just ran.
And then you realize actually it is a doable task. There are enough aid stations, plenty of crowds and DJ’s so why not go for a negative split.
This stage of the race if you are a sub 3:30 runner there are hardly runners’ out there with you. I think most run a sub 3, so sometimes you really feel like you are the only runner. But you are not.
At this stage the temperature was rising I prefer that, and knowing what aid stations where coming up, means I really could focus on going into a trance-like modus, and focus on keeping a strong pace.
Somehow, I remember 36KM mark. Because its where you basically run a hexagon route through the old town. Don’t get overexcited here thinking you made it. Surprisingly I found running past the crowds sitting in restaurants, enjoying the sunshine quite tough. Running down the street where I usually go shopping, feeling like all eyes on me….. I felt a lot better again after passing 40KM because you head back to the river, do a right, and now, this is it. The last couple of miles. Excellent finish stretch, even though it is a bit uphill.
The finishers area was so well organized. Really thanks and big high five to the organizers, helpers. Ample to eat, to drink, and of course a nice finisher medal….
Showers and changing area are on the way to the parking lot… so all round thumbs up to the Würzburg marathon.
Thanks for your time…
Take it easy.