Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
S&G – The Sound of Silence
Once more an intensive weekend. Matthias joined me Friday after work and we took the car to the Start/Finish location in Oud-Heverlee. We planned differently to The Great Escape and spend the night in a Hostel in Leuven. Leuven seems to be a nice city but is a nightmare in terms of parking. After this interesting challenge we finally made it to our room and tried to ignore the noises in our quite active Hostel. Although we didn’t sleep much it gave us a break and some relaxed hours before the start. The alarm was set for 2:30 a.m. and we made it in time to be ready for the start on Saturday 4:00 a.m..
#2 of the Legends Trails – Bello Gallico 100 Miles. 100 miles in a rather flat terrain – at least compared to TGE. The job was this time: lets go there and finish this off. Everyone said this is the most easy run of the series, that it really is flat and runnable and it is furthermore meant as a Christmas Party.
Everyone is aware though, that this is only half of the truth. 2019 edition should bring lots of rain in the days before the event, light rain at the start, light rain from time to time in between and two disastrous rainy hours between 5 and 7 a.m. Sunday morning. But: its just a bit of water. Where is the problem? Well, it turned out that this was the type of track which really benefits from being watered and abused by hundreds of feet. Although there were still a lot runnable parts – the muddy parts were deep, sticky and/or slippery plus more and more covered with water – proper steps sometimes not possible. This slowly but surely drags all power from the body – power which could have been used for running.
Matthias and me discussed a few possible finish options before the race. One of it was below 24 h, the other maybe below 26 h if it would be more difficult than expected and as a last option: finish before the sun rises the second time! We finished the first half of the BG in 11 hours and with a some minutes of break and Chili con carne we realized that 24 h would not be possible. The dark second night was after all way more challenging than expected. The trail was even more difficult, leaving the warm and wonderful checkpoints felt more and more stupid and the heavy rain/storm between 5 and 7 a.m. was really frightening. Especially those hours in the early Sunday needed a lot of strength: water everywhere – the already damaged feet were not amused and during the rain it was horribly cold. We lost the focus on any time-related goal for a second but what I really like on racing with Matthias: he has the finish always in mind and is extremely focused on that. Giving up is never an option for him. It really helps to be with someone like this when yourself are suffering and in a miserable condition.
In that heavy rain and with approximately 12 k to the finish I suggested to run again a bit faster to feel less cold and finally get this nightmare done. This worked ok for a few k´s. With less then 5 k to go the rain finally stopped, we realised that could make it below 28 h and with this we would finish half an hour before the sun would rise again. Job done. #2 of the Legends Trail series completed. We finished in 27h51m as number 48 and 49 of 93 finishers and around 160 starters.
Thanks to the Orga and the countless of dedicated, helpful and friendly Legendary Friends as volunteers all over the course. Great checkpoints, great help, great food and lots of fun.
We had yet another great experience out there in the (this time) rather flat Belgium. It was tougher than expected but we came to finish this one and not to drop out because of whatever. Although the race was almost completely in the dark (at least it felt like this) there were beautiful moments with and without sun. The beauty of ultra running can be found in each and every run of 100 miles or more – just open your eyes at the right times.
Thats it for 2019. No more races left – the end of this years journeys is reached. Fingers crossed for a quick recovery: the next Legend Trail is already waiting. And this time it is the real one. With 250 k in the not-so-flat part of Belgium and three long February nights. Happy for any training advices! I will take it with M&M as a motto for the next two months:
“It’s better to go too far, than not far enough”