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Race Report: The Koberstaedt Marathon

Egelsbach, home of the Koberstaedt Marathon, is nestled between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany. The area is highly developed, being only about 10 minutes away from one of the busiest airports in Germany, not your typical setting for a forest marathon.

The Koberstaedt Marathon started at 8:00 a.m on Sunday, so we were up at 4:30 a.m. in order to get ready and make the hour drive to Egelsbach. We arrived around an hour before the race and went about my business picking up the race packet while my wife looked for a cup of coffee. A school friend who lived in the area was going to meet her at 8:30 and give her a short tour of Frankfurt while I was running.

It was a bit chilly (15°C/59°F) as we sat around waiting for the start, but the sun was shining and I knew it would start warming up soon. I decided to run in shorts and short sleeve shirt, as it was supposed to warm up to around 22°C/72°F. There was a cool breeze blowing as I lined up at the start with around 200 other marathon runners. Around 1500 half-marathon runners would join us later on (10:00 a.m.).

The course consisted of a loop around a mostly dirt/gravel forest trail with approx. 150 meter (500 feet) elevation gain/loss with each loop. The half-marathoners ran one loop, the marathoners two.

I really didn't have any specific time goal for the race, I didn't taper at all so figured I would try to at least break 4 ½ hours if at all possible. The race was chip timed, so when the starting pistol went off I leisurely made my way over the starting line, letting the speedsters move on ahead. I then set into a comfortable pace and tried to warm up my legs.

We wound our way through town and into the woods, the sun was shining and the last of a misty fog was rising to meet the day - what a beautiful morning for a run!

It was fairly quiet the first part of the run, the two hundred marathoners were pretty spread out and I was pretty much running on my own. I passed the 10K marker in 56:22, faster then I expected, but definitely not a record breaking speed even for me.

I lost myself in my thoughts over the next hour, passing the 20K in 1:54:18 and the half-marathon point in 1:59:59. My pace was fairly stable, just over 9:00 minutes per mile, I was staying hydrated and taking in isotonic drink at every other aid station. The aid stations were around 4-5K apart, well-stocked, and run by some super friendly people, bravo Egelsbach!

On the first loop the marathoners branched off and took an extra short loop before rejoining the main loop. This left us in the forest rather than looping back to the stadium. Shortly after rejoining the main loop the half-marathoners merged with us, or rather the 200 marathoners merged with the 1500 half-marathoners. Suddenly I was jarred from my lonesome plodding and thrust into the midst of a stampede. My pace picked up as the mass carried me forward, I passed the 30K marker in 2:49:42, about 10 minutes ahead of what I had expected.

The tractor wide forest trail remained full as I fought to climb a wall that was trying to drain my energy. I passed a couple marathon runners, but was still being passed by the faster half-marathoners. I concentrated on making it as hard as possible for these runners to drop me, falling in their steps as long as I could.

With about 5 miles to go I started doing the math and figured out if I could keep the pace going I would be very close to a new PR. My legs were tired, but my energy was good and my spirit high, I plodded forward.

I passed the 40K (25 miles) marker in 3:47:11 and it was clear that I would have to run a 10K race pace if I wanted to break my record of 3:57:14. I did my best, but couldn't get my legs to churn over any faster. As I made my way over the last half-mile I still pushed hard, if I couldn't have a new PR, then at least a sub-4:00 race!

As I made my way through town and into the stadium my legs were screaming with protest. I tried to must some resemblance to a sprint as I made my way around the track and over the finish line, but I felt more like a lumbering elephant. Finally I stumbled over the finish line in 1:58:58, out of breath, out of power, but totally satisfied, thank you lord!

I caught my breath and wobbled my way over to get some coke, I knew I needed a sugar boost. I drank down three cups of coke and found a bench and sat for awhile, stretching my legs a bit. When I stood up an amazing thing happened, my legs didn't complain. I actually could walk comfortably, albeit slower than normal, but without the normal robotic motion normally associated with post-marathon movements.

I walked to the car grabbed my bag, showered and found some food. As I was eating my wife showed up and we sat for a bit, my wife was amazed how fit I was. I guess I was too. As we made our way home the sun was shining, the sky blue, what a beautiful day!

Comments

Nice job, Jack! I think you ran your marathon at a faster pace than my half marathon PR. :)

Way to go!!! You're making this sound way too easy!

Way to go, Jack! You almost got that PR.

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