today was the race. WOW, what an experience.
First of all, the whole plan need to be changed. The start of the walker was postponed from 0:00 to 2:00am and the start of the runners from 6:00 to7:00.
The government didn’t let start the walkers alone, but escorted them the first round, until the sun is risen. This would have meant for me, to do the first round with a much slower walking speed, then I normally does. Because of that, I decided to start with the runners, but with the issue to have only 8h until the finish is closed, as the officials kept the schedule for the end of the run at 3:00 pm. 8h only for 63km under such tough conditions, but I wanted at least to try it.
The run allow was a big celebration, which started in the evening before. Beside participants from Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK, Norway, Poland, US and even Australia, 900 local runners participated as well. And they celebrated the event with loud local music and dances.
At the start at 7:00 am, I looked a little bit strange, with my walking sticks in the middle of 500 runners. I’m sure they believed, I overslept the start of the walkers. Then it started. The Europeans were best equipped with best in class running shoes, compression socks, water bottles and backpacks etc. and the locals? OK, all of them got a Muskathlen shirts, but what about the shoes? Shoes?! Some of them started barefoot, some with sandals, flip-flops or normal sneakers. Incredible!
The route was very exhausting, wonderful and bizarre together. It was very steep, and the path very bad and dusty. On the mountain at 2200 m attitude we had a beautiful view on the lake, the valleys and nature. The route was full of people and children who cheered us or run a piece with us. The path through the slum was the most bizarre part of the project. Whilst it was still OK in the first round, with all the other local runners around me, I was absolute alone there during the second round, passing primitive cottages, garbage, dirt and between playing children. No enthusiasm. Also not in the quarry, where the worker break stones for 1$ per day.
The weather were fine during the first round, with fresh air, some waft of mist and fog in the valley. In the second round it got really hot and sultry. No shadow, as the sun is direct above you. It was by far the hottest day during our visit and they measured 34°C on 1900 m sea level where we finished.
I finished the race after 42 k and 1300 m altitude difference with a good marathon time for those circumstances and my Nordic Walking style. A 3rd round wasn’t possible because of the time limit of 8h. Finally only 2 runner of the whole 63km finished in time.
The day we celebrated and finished with a typical BBQ, but we were all happy to went to bed early to deal with all the impressions during the day.
Unfortunately I can’t share too many pictures with you so far, but enjoy the video below. It gives you an excellent impression of the race.