Mannheim Marathon

oh dear!

10 messages
22/05/2005 at 12:56
Arrived early in the start area and met a few old familiar faces. The weather, far from the predicted rainstorm, was hot and humid, the kind of weather I hate for races. This is only the 2nd year of the race, it's very diverse as there's a wheelchair division, an inline skate half marathon, a 'Bambini' 400m run for the littlest kids (some only 4 years old!) and a mini-mara for the older kids.

Still very hot and humid at the 6.15pm start. This race is billed as 'run into the twilight' but it's actually very dark by the time us slower runners finish. Overheated badly during the first 10km and suffered an asthma-type choking fit around 8km. Luckily the promised rains came around 12km and I felt better and suprisingly was still on pace by my watch. Maybe that was what caused the choking, I should have slowed my pace when I was so hot earlier.
22/05/2005 at 13:03
By 16km the pace was slipping badly and I couldn't understand what was happening. Then came the bridge over the Rhine, which i had been dreading but it wasn't too bad, just a gradual slope up and down.Went down into Ludwighafen and through halfway at 2:35 which is way outside what I've been running this year for a half.
It was getting dark now and a mate spotted me as I passed him and his wife outside a bar, mainly because the race numbers were personalised with our names and people kept calling out to us. I don't know my way around Ludwigshafen and didn't have a clue where I was from then on until we got back to the bridge.
22/05/2005 at 13:12
There were many knots of people out on the pavements, some had set up tables and chairs outside their houses and were having a party despite the light rain showers. They all clapped and cheered, many calling out 'well done', 'looking good', and my favourite one, 'you can do it'. They kept me going, even though I was getting slower and slower and feeling pretty bad by now. My stomach was cramping up and my bad back started to hurt again - in retrospect I should have stuck to water and my gels instead of taking their electrolyte drink - elementary mistake but as any marathoner can tell you, once you're tired and hurting logic goes out of the window.
22/05/2005 at 13:26
There were several stretches of the course which went up one side of the road for a bit and came back down the other side, I hate these turnarounds but at least you can see if there's any runners near to you. The one from 30km up and back to 32km was a blur, but I could see outlines of runners on the opposite side. From here onwards the sweeper ambulances started picking up runenrs from the back of the field as they weren't going to make the next race cutoff. There was a couple ahead of me that I caught up with, and we ran more or less together from then on. Just after 33km we came back to the bridge area, and as I feared, going back over to Mannheim was very much worse. When we had slogged up to the top there was a sign saying only 6km to go. So we had climbed over 2km up the bridge, at that point in a mara no problem for the elites but for us snails it was a struggle. The sweeper vehicle had picked everyone else behind us up already, and was edging ever closer, trying to make us give in so they could go home. One of our group turned and yelled out 'NO WAY' and that about summed up our feelings. We had been joined by a 4th runner, so that meant us 4 were the tail enders. From then to the finish we took it in turns to get in front of the others and get reeled in again. The last stretch was a psychological nightmare - about 200m from the finish we had to turn away down another road, run down to the first crossroads, turn right, down to the end, turn around, back to the crossroads, straight on here, another turnaround, back to the crossroads again, and head back to the finish. Surprisingly there were still a lot of people in the finish area and we got a very rousing cheer as we finished.
22/05/2005 at 13:36
In summation:

I should have pulled out. Only sheer bloodymindedness got me to the finish, but it didn't do me any favours. Today I feel very unwell. Was supposed to drive hubby to his triathlon race this morning but I wasn't up to it.

Bad points: The many course 'up-and-back' turnarounds, having to run up and over the bridge at the worst possible time in a mara, didn't get a tee-shirt at the finish because they had run out (the organisers accepted many late registrations on the day and hadn't ordered a surplus), and didn't get any post-race refreshments because by the time we had picked up our clothing bags and returned the timing chips, the eats and drinks trucks were clearing away.

Good points: overall organisation very good, feed stations excellent (every 5km they had electrolytes, mineral water, still water, energy bars and bananas, in between points water-only stations), cola from 30km onwards. Nice medal. Can't say enough about the public and their support - thanks largely to them I finished this race.

Do it again? Probably not. But I would do the relay race again, did that last year and it was grand.
22/05/2005 at 14:40
well done ironwolf on your triumph of willpower (and in holding off the stroppy sweeper van)

hope you feel better soon
22/05/2005 at 15:23
Very well done, showing guts and determination.
22/05/2005 at 16:59
You know i will understand IW

I am glad you finished
i dont think you would have forgiven yourself otherwise
what was your time?
22/05/2005 at 23:53
Ironwolf - Congratulations on completing the race. Sounded like a toughie. Well done on sticking in there when many I'm sure would have been thinking about giving up.

Have you ever done the Essen or Munich marathons in October? I've had someone on my website asking about these races but I don't know anything about them.

Have you heard whether they're worth doing?


23/05/2005 at 04:45
Congratulations Ironwolf - it is really hard running the marathon and a real achievement to finish. I think it is awful having a sweeper truck coming up behind you in a race - it is hard enough without that added pressure.
Hope you recover quickly - all the best.

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