I have ran only one marathon in Germany back in 2013. It wasn’t a big one, but it had a long tradition (33 editions). After 5 years it seemed I could run again in Lipperland VolksMarathon (November 17th). Running a marathon in November si always tempting me. If it’s not successful at least I could say “it was a good training”.
For me the main problem was how to get from Bad Oeynhausen to Humfeld, where the marathon start was. I’ve spent 2 weeks searching information about the place and about how to get there. I’ve even contacted the organizer who tried to help me. I thought I found the good connections, but I was wrong. Buses are rare during the weekend.
I took the train to Lemgo. Nice trip till there. I had almost two hours to get to Humfeld which was 11 Km away. I realized I missed a bus so I started to walk following the biking route. I tried to run. I couldn’t. Felt so weak. The weather was extremely cold. My hands were freezing. After 2Km I tried to reach the road. I needed a ride. I crossed over a cabbage land and started to wave hands. And walked and waved. And ran and waved. Nothing. Time passed. Less than an hour and 5Km to go.
Finally a car stopped and saved me. In fact that nice lady first passed by me and noticed I was in rush. So she turn back and pick me up. I got the race location 20 minute before the start. It was enough for me.
I was happy to meet an old friend, Thorsten Huttemeier. We know each other from the 2013 race. Following his example I didn’t dressed with so many clothes. Sun started to show up. I didn’t want to starve again so I ate a sandwich. This could seem crazy for a standard runner. Not for me. I was ready one minute before the start.
It was clear for me that i won’t run as well as five years ago (3h18). I was slow from the beginning, because the stomach had to work. But I felt good trying to remember the route and the places. It was nice running into the forest. I felt even better finding oranges and coke at the refreshment points. I wasn’t happy running uphill though. Too much energy loss because of climbing and cold weather in the same time.
What I really enjoyed was hanging around the wind mills. They ere so big. I was so small. For the first 15Km I tried to keep the pace with other runners. Almost all the time I was inside Top 10. At middle distance I began to struggle. Not feeling bad, but I reached a limit of effort. Just keep your rhythm, I said to my self. You’ll feel stronger later. It was obvious the best time I could finish was 3h30.
Around Km 25 I was slower and slower. I needed something and it was coke. Suddenly the energy came back. Maybe I wasn’t faster, but at least my run seemed easier. They were more runners on the track, because of the Half Marathon and 10K races. Few more km and still feeling good. I was trying to catch other runners going downhill. I had some problems following the track, but I my target was still possible. 1Km to go. Running wild. To wild though, because I lost the route. Wanted to turn back when a lady said I was on the good way. Bullshit. Where’s the finish line? So this how I lost 10 minutes and several positions. I was very upset. But an older runner smiled and said: “Ah, egal!” 3h30 or 3h40 it was the same thing. After all it was a good endurance training.
I was so upset that I refused to follow my habit: sausage and beer after the race. And then I met this fine guy Arthur Illi – half German, half Russian. It was his first half-marathon. We were both tired because of the hills. We were sitting on the same bench looking to each other. We got in contact by e-mail 2 days before the race, but didn’t know each other yet.
I’ve spent one hour after the race talking to Arthur and waiting for the Diploma, the only real souvenir from this race. I was surprised to find out I was 3rd in my age category. Arthur insisted to bring the flag when going in front. So I made a picture with the organizer and the Romanian flag, that being the only spicy moment of the awards ceremony.
Once again it was clear for me that not he destination is what it counts, but the trip towards. Once again I found out I still have speed for the end of the race at least. Once again I gained a new running friend.