The Last Race

Although nothing is certain in these viral days, the clock is ticking. 11 days left until showdown. Another One Bites the Dust has been cancelled a few days ago due to the current COVID-19 situation in Belgium. But as AOBtD is the last run in The Legends Slam (finish The Great Escape, Bello Gallico, Legends Trail 250/500 and AOBtD within one year) the RD decided to let those eligible for the Slam 2019/2020 run the race as a special AOBtD Slam edition. Instead of 100 participants the start field will be down to only 13 runners, the big barbecue and the big party (from what I heard) will probably be much smaller and we will need to respect the rules of the new normal.

As the The Great Escape 2019, Bello Gallico 2019 and the Legends Trail 250 2020 have been outstanding and unique experiences, the wish to also get the necessary 28 AOBtD loops for the slam is huge. The Great Escape 2019 was way steeper then I imagined, Bello Gallico 2019 was was darker than imagined plus a bit wet and Legends Trail 250 2020 was beyond in many categories but most of all was extremely long. To finish the circle AOBtD will most probably be a mental challenge with no distraction along the way. Loop after loop after loop…

Another One Bites the Dust is held in the now pretty popular last human standing format. There is one loop you need to run. You have 60 minutes to do so. Every hour starts a new loop. If you are not in the starting box at the beginning of each new loop (for whatever reason) you are out. The race continues as long as there are runners left in the race. If only one runner is left, this runner needs to complete one loop in one hour alone to win, or receives a DNF (as all other runners before) – in which case there will be no winner. Simple thing. The loop at AOBtD is described to be 5.959 km long (although participants of the last years editions claim that it is more like 6.2 to 6.3 km long). This means to cross the 100 mi barrier (which will give you the Slam finish) one needs to run 28 loops/hours. That will be fun. 13 runner with max. 1 person as support each for at least 28 h circling on a 5.959 km loop…

Stay tuned for updates close to race day. It will be a long journey. Again.

Halbzeit 2020

Was ein erstes Halbjahr 2020. Der Start ins Jahr war schon vielversprechend: zuerst die Tour im Hohen Venn mit Maarten und Marek und dann natürlich der etwas feuchte mAMa 2020.

Und dann der Legends Trail 250 2020. Was eine erstaunliche Reise durch 3 Nächte und zwei Tage es doch war. An Tag 3 endlich aus dem letzten unendlichen Flusstal aufzutauchen, das Ziel zum Greifen nah mit dem letzten Sonnenaufgang im Rücken – es war ein unbeschreibliches Gefühl. Über 60 Stunden Eins mit der Natur und jetzt sollte es zurück ins echte Leben gehen? Soziale Interaktion? Wie soll das funktionieren?

LT250 – KM 259/261 – 60+h – coming home. Or am I leaving home?

Es folgte die Corona-Zeit welche durch einige Challenges doch kurzweiliger und laufintensiver wurde als gedacht. Wir waren hier in Deutschland doch sehr privilegiert was die Einschränkungen anging. Duivelse Uitdaging 1 & 2 by Marek waren jedenfalls ein amüsanter Zeitvertreib. Mit den momentan möglichen Lockerungen kehrte auch endlich das lange Laufen zurück. Ein Gruppenlauf auf der verbesserten UTDS-Strecke war der perfekte Wiedereinstieg in das Ultralaufen und die perfekte Gelegenheit im Legends-Trail Gebiet in Erinnerungen zu schwelgen. Exquisite Truppe – gerade in diesem Gebiet. Experten-Runde quasi. UTDS Legends Edition.

Wie unterschiedlich und doch gleich die Momente. Sogar den direkten Bild-Vergleich gibt es – war das Wetter beim LT250 wirklich so schön?

Insgesamt steht 2020 nach 200 Tagen nicht schlecht da.

Progression Graph from RUNALYZE. 2019 vs. 2020 – Tag 200.

Und wie soll es jetzt weiter gehen? Schwer vorauszusagen mit dem Virus im Hintergrund. Doch die Pläne sind soweit gemacht. In 5 Wochen wird es richtig ernst. Der letzte Teil des Legends-Slam steht an: Another One Bites the Dust – AOBtD. 28 x 6.3 km warten mindestens – jede Stunde eine Runde. Keine Möglichkeit Zeit rauszulaufen: das wird eine langsame und konstante Qual. Aber die Verlockung den Slam zu erringen ist riesig. Hoffen wir, dass die Motivation und die Kraft für diesen würdigen Abschluss der Legends Trail Reihe reichen.

#1 #2 #3 – #4?

Anfang September und Ende Oktober sind 2 privatere und exklusivere Läufe geplant. Darüber wird es erst im Nachgang oder kurz vorher Infos zu geben. Wenn das alles so läuft wie geplant sollte 2020 mit genügend Herausforderungen zu Ende gehen.

*** UTDS plus 2020 ***

Time for a little adventure next weekend to finally kickoff ultra-running after this period of social distancing and closed borders. It will be a pleasure to be able to meet this group of extraordinary runners and to finally be able to go back to a nice patch of Belgium: the Ardennes.

We chose the UTDS (Ultra Tour des Sources) a permanent market Extratrail route with a few „improvements“ to include some beautiful parts the original UTDS track avoids for whatever reasons. The final distance is around 100 Miles with approx. 5000 m D+ and the scenery will be stunning.

We will start at 0800 „sharp“ on Saturday 04.07.2020 and as we like to bore you to death there will be a live tracking. To bore you even more there will be only one dot as we will stick together as a group. ONE. DOT. It may be the purest and most intense Legends Tracking experience you will have in your entire life so make sure to enjoy every second. There you go:

http://battleofthebulge.legendstracking.com/

Duivelse Uitdaging #1 and #2

If you dance with the devil you should not be afraid to burn your fingers

The Devil and someone else

This was #1:

51 days for 666 km

This was #2:

44 days for 666 km

In total I lost 79 days of my life to this bullshit. 79 days for 1332 km means 16.86 km/d. Not too bad at all. Although it was sometimes fun and I am easily motivated by stupid things it was also a challenge. I learned the hard way what it means to just ignore all arguments and just get things done. No matter what nice things could have been the alternatives. No matter how much I hated it sometimes to not just run as long as I wanted but to run as long as it was needed to cross out the next distance of that funny lists. I encountered it with a new mental strategy. You start a run of lets say 33.30 km and you force yourself to think of something nice the first 28 km of the run. By that you really forget that you are running and by this basically just „wait“ until its over. To endure is a big part of endurance. And this is no coincidence. The last 5 km you enjoy your short run. Now I am afraid of that point in future I will use this strategy in a real race.

But lets forget about this. Thanks Maarten for the fun. Enough is enough and done is done. I am so tired of checking an Excel sheet before I start a run, so tired of starting the run with putting a distance goal on the watch (does it even works without entering something there?) and so tired of not being „allowed“ to just run as long as I want. It was a good mental exercise but it is time to say goodbye.

I am going back to where I belong. Into the woods, into the void and into the endlessness. Hoping to meet a few people out there to run some tracks together and to come back destroyed but with tons of nice stories to tell.

Stop. That. Distancing.

***Please don’t get me wrong: stay safe, go outside, don’t touch each other, keep 1.5 m distance and stay Corona-negative!***

Please? Asking for my friends. Everyone is now talking about distance – its everywhere in the news. Let me tell you: this is not good for my friends. They have been ok in the past and before this virus started. A bunch of totally normal LSD (Long Slow Distances) runners. But now? They are being pushed from all that distance-talking:

  • they create sheet after sheet full of nonsense running challenges – soon they will be lost in these columns and rows forever
  • they are being asked by their family members: who are you and what´s that smell?
  • some of them even started to run in loops again and again
  • some consider LSD is not enough and go for long-distance-inline-skating or other extreme sports
  • some wake up in the morning and think it is a normal thing to start the a day with a marathon
  • some open their weekly Strava stats and wonder why this number has 3 digits and a 2 in the front
  • some even say they are haunted by the Devil himself

Please. Give them the races back. And the group runs. The above simply can’t be the new normal – my friends will not be able to stop running soon. Forever running – imagine. No one wants that. This is something for the professionals.

Enough of funny challenges – enough of entering numbers in sheets. Where are the races/runs that punch us in the faces and allow us to rest the week before (and call it tapering) and the weeks after (and call it resting)? We need them back! ASAP!

Some of my friends would – as a first step – also being ok with banning all Germans from running. But let’s ignore them for now. Some are also asking to get the winter back. Waist-deep ice-cold water, snow and mud is what they want. Let’s ignore those too for now.

When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.
And so, you just ran?
Yeah.

Forrest Gump

50 Miles of Beverau

Ach, das war doch mal nett. Für die Duivelse Uitdaging Challenge von Marek Vis fehlten unter anderem noch die 80 km und damit die längste Distanz. In Zeiten der Kontaktbeschränkungen und des Alleinelaufens kam spontan die Idee: warum nicht auf die Beverau-Runde zurückgreifen und den Lauffreunden Bescheid geben? Für alle gut erreichbar gelegen, angenehme Länge und meist breite Wege. Da fällt das Abstand halten leicht und wenn nicht alle gleichzeitig kommen würden? Lange genug würde ich ja unterwegs sein. Gesagt getan. Kurz durchgerechnet sollten entweder 30 oder 31 dieser ca. 2,65 km langen Runde für die 80 km reichen (je nach GPS-Verhalten). 9-10 Stunden sollten es tun.

Die Geschichte der Runde ist schnell erzählt. Sie startet offiziell an einem der Treffpunkte des LTB Aachen, welcher zugleich auch der Start des mAMa ist. Das Schöne an der Runde ist: es gibt nur eine Straßenquerung, sie ist nicht zu kurz, beleuchtet und daher ideal zum Rundendrehen. Die Geschichte, dass H und L auf dieser Runde schonmal Marathon gelaufen sind ist schon so alt, dass es mittlerweile einer Legende gleicht. Wie kann man auch so verrückt sein auf einer Stadtrunde immer im Kreis Marathon laufen. Also wirklich…

Gestartet bin ich um 0516. Merkwürdigerweise allein. Ab 7 Uhr wurde es dann aber deutlich lebhafter. Die ersten 3 Gäste trafen ein. In zwei Pärchen ging es dann in beiden Richtungen auf die Strecke. Nach jeder Runde wurde der Partner gewechselt. Speed-Dating. Oder so. Um halb 9 warteten schon die nächsten beiden Gäste und es ging in Dreierformation für 3 Runden auf die Strecke. Anschließend haben mich meine beiden Jungs für zwei Runden begleitet (gut, den einen musste ich schieben) – abgelöst von L auf dem Rad. Genau eine Runde nach der ersten Radbegleitung folgte direkt die Nächste! Perfekt. Das Wetter wollte wohl auch zur Abwechslung beitragen und stellte kurz auf Unwetter. Wir standen eine Weile frierend im Tunnel unter der Bahnstrecke aber H hatte mir extra Wassermelone mitgebracht – wunderbar. Die Sonne kehrte zurück und der Endspurt rückte näher. Der VPsucher kam mit J. kurz vorbei um „Hallo“ zu sagen und zum Zieleinlauf gab es dann nochmal Gäste! Ein sehr kurzweiliger Lauf, wenn auch ein wenig anstrengend. 30 Runden reichen für 80 km – für die 50 Meilen fehlten noch 400 m, also nochmal kurz hin und her an Start/Ziel. 9h49m – passt. Die 50 Meilen von Beverau sind abgehakt.

Vielen Dank für all die Gäste auf dieser kleinen Beverau-Corona-Party – schön euch alle wiedergesehen zu haben. Wo machen wir denn die noch fehlenden 70 km nächstes Wochenende? 😀

Coronavirus Challenges

Duivelse Uitdaging by Marek Vis:

Start: 21 maart 2020
Finish: 19 mei 2020

  • 30 verschillende afstanden met een totaal afstand van 666k dienen gelopen te worden op 30 verschillende dagen binnen 60 dagen.
  • Maximaal 1 afstand per dag telt, dus je bent op zijn vroegst in 30 dagen klaar
  • De afstand hoeft niet exact gelopen te worden, meer mag ook, minder uiteraard niet
  • De afstanden mogen in willekeurige volgorde gelopen worden
  • Het dient een doorlopende activiteit te zijn op een dag
  • Het dient een loop activiteit zijn, hardlopen, rennen, hiken, wandelen, nordicwalking, het mag allemaal
  • Google Tabelle
001007013019040
002008014020045
003009015021050
004010016025060
005011017030070
006012018035080
0
Done. 51 days for 666 km. Nice idea – required some mental strength at the end to get it done.

Duivelse Uitdaging #2 by Marek Vis:

  • Wederom 666k
  • Start data (wordt mogelijk nog uitgebreid) 25 april, 2 mei, 9 mei, 16 mei, 23 mei, 30 mei
  • Elke kleur staat voor een reeks
  • Elke reeks dien je in aaneengesloten dagen te lopen (dag is van 0.00 – 23.59)
  • Als een reeks onderbroken wordt door een rustdag, telt deze niet mee en vervallen de eerdere dagen van de reeks
  • Per dag, telt er maximaal 1 activiteit. Elke afstand mag maximaal uit 1 activiteit bestaan
  • De reeks ‚3x Dubbel‘ dient gelopen te worden in de volgorde 6.66, 13.32, 26.64, 53.28- De volgorde van de reeksen mag je zelf bepalen
  • Google Tabelle
6.666.666.666.666.666.666.66
13.3213.3213.3213.3213.32
19.9819.9819.9819.9819.98
26.6426.6426.6426.64
6.6613.3226.6453.28
33.3033.3033.30
39.9639.96
66.60
Done. 44 days for 666 km. Stupid. Really.

Höhenmeter-Challenge: Schinder-Trail Corona SkyRun 66.700 HM in 111 Tagen

Start: 23.03.2020
Finish: 11.07.2020
Auswertung

WhoDoneTodo
Pfadsucher3633 HM63067 HM
VPSucher4244 SHM62456 SHM

Does it matter after all?

Throwback January 2020. Hautes Fagnes. The idiots doing a night training session.

It is cold, dark, the track is watery and slippery – no other human knows our exact location (and we are sometimes not too sure about it ourselves). We are together and yet alone. Lost in the Belgium winter – driven by a indescribable force. Again out there while we should be at home sleeping. Witnessed only by the stars and a few creatures hidden in the bushes around. Immense tiny dots on that earth. Unnoticed but still moving.

In the aftermath of that run an E-Mail flow circled through our E-Mail postboxes with the nice title: „In case you really think it matters what you do…“

The only other content of that E-Mail was a link to a YT-video with a time-lapse animation with some predictions about the end of the universe within the next trillions of years…

Sometimes – while running out there – the vastness, the emptiness, the cold and the dark finally closes the grip around you. It is like trying to resist against the final destiny of becoming some forever frozen atoms in an expanding universal vastness waiting for the end of time. Determined to try to fight this destiny and yet sure that ultimately there will be no way out. Immensely enjoying the company of the fellowship of runners and feeling a strong bond within the group.

But: will it make a difference? Does it all matter after all?

No.

How could it.

No. Coke.

48h after my own finish at the Montane Legends Trail LT250 I could not resist. The body felt somewhat ok already – at least ok enough to get into the car. I mean what would you have done? They were still out there and fighting. M&M during their epic and at the end successful LT500 journey. Around 360k into the race they for sure would be up for a good joke.

This was the one and only chance for my revenge. The revenge for the LEO180 2018 situation where they promised me coke at the car after 100 miles of running and a demanding night and where there was no coke at the end. No. Coke. Someone in the car emptied it already. Desperation. Hopelessness.

I underestimated the weather a bit and was lucky that the snow allowed me to reach the closest point on track. As any aid other then applauding is strictly forbidden at Legends Trails I brought a prepared empty coke bottle for them. How nice is this. I hobbled 300 m onto the course and positioned the coke bottle:

Legendary No-Coke!

You may say: how mean is this now. There was of course nothing mean about it. It was more about bringing some extra motivation to them for the pain ahead and showing some respect for the already conquered distance. And there they were. Fighting but moving – full of snow and yet determined.

M&M around KM364 at LT500

A quick hello, a few words. A new No-Coke-Foto. And off they were. Time to drive home again. Congrats guys – amazing race! And thanks for all the tales about the Legends Trail back in the days. I finally decided to not hate you any longer for this!