The Dead Marshes 2024

Gollum laughed. ‘The Dead Marshes, yes, yes: that is their names,’ he cackled….

‘Who are they? What are they?’ asked Sam shuddering….

‘I don’t know,’ said Frodo in a dreamlike voice. ‘But I have seen them too… grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad…. But all foul, all rotting, all dead.’….

‘Yes, yes,’ said Gollum. ‘All dead, all rotten…. The Dead Marshes. There was a great battle long ago, yes, so they told him when Sméagol was young, when I was young before the Precious came. It was a great battle. Tall Men with long swords, and terrible Elves, and Orcses shrieking. They fought on the plain for days and months at the Black Gates. But the Marshes have grown since then, swallowed up the graves; always creeping, creeping.’


The Two Towers, LOTR Book 4, Ch. 2, The Passage of the Marshes

What is this?
The track The Dead Marshes is the entry challenge to be part of next years #lotrslam2025. All information on the slam and what you can expect can be found here and here. To sign up for The Dead Marshes just enter your name in the sheet and download the GPX from there as well. You have until December 31st 2024 to complete The Dead Marshes and to prove your completion with your .fit, .gpx, your Garmin or your Strava link sent to slam@acceptnolimits.eu. Upon verification we will publish your attempt in the above mentioned sheet and you will receive the GPX files for the 2025 Slam on 01.01.2025.

About The Dead Marshes
Whenever I create a track in an area I know well I try to make sure to include all the highlights I know but to also use ways/paths I never took before. The Dead Marshes is a tribute to Hautes Fagnes but also includes some nice spots in the Rursee area in Germany (featured during KATE180) and the Coo area in Belgium (aka. Iceberg and the Basin). Hautes Fagnes is exactly in the middle of those two “ends” – thats forms a nice concept. Start/Middlepoint/Finish at Baraque Michel also provides the opportunity to enter and leave Hautes Fagnes not 1, 2 or 3 but 4 times. A nice tweak – you should be really obsessed with plankjes, dark/rocky river valleys and wet grass/endless marsh areas.
While finally running The Dead Marshes it felt a bit weird. There are quite some stretches of big paths easy to run and quite some streets/asphalt parts as well (esp. in the German part). All in all the first 120k until one reaches the car to complete the first loop has more runnable parts compared to the second loop (90k). But dont be mistaken: there are demanding marsh stretches, longer climbs (total of > 5000 m D+), forgotten river valley, there is the Basin downhill (which is not fun), Iceberg uphill (lots of fun) and last not least Schloß Rheinhardstein area (serving the steepest ups and downs right around 190 km on the watch – exactly when one does not want to climb anymore). After running it myself I think I am happy with it. Not too hard but certainly nothing one can run at marathon pace for the whole time. Make sure to embrace the Fagnes – its more a scenic adventure than a Legends Trail; exactly what it should be.

How it went for me
Well, it took longer than expected. I started with a night with the idea that I would finish the first 120k in 22-24h so that folks could join me in the evening for the final 90k. Company is always good to have. Turned out I finished the first 120k in 23h as planned but it also turned out on very short notice that the support would not come to push me/us through the second night. The second night alone was horror then. Sleep depriviation effects hit harder than expected so I found myself safety-blanket sleeping for 3 times 15-20 minutes and still had to push harder than I wanted to. As if the Legends night 3 was making a surprise visit (not that I would ever ask for such a visit). Weather was a bit unstable with somtimes light and sometimes severe rain and lots of wind up in the Fagnes. To be fair there were also some more stable weather windows in between. All in all I managed The Dead Marshes in 46 hours and leave it up to the rest of the fellowship to follow me. The path has been layed and I am really curious what the others will experience! Have fun – if there are any questions: don´t hesitate to ask!

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
45:59:45
hours
45:59:44
hours
213,91
km
12:54
min/km
2:10
min/km
5.496,00
meters
13.156
kcal
⛰️ Honigberg (495 m) • ⛰️ Signal de Botrange (694 m) • 🦶⬆️ 2024 = 35,371 m | 🌐 summitbag.com  👍 97.83 new kilometers — From Wandrer.earth

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