Rivers of Hautes Fagnes

Always fascinating to to leave or enter the high plateau of Hautes Fagnes through one of the countless river valleys with their unique atmosphere.

The overwhelming sound of water in these small canyons. Not a single spot of ground without mud, water, roots or stones. Every part of your body and mind focused on the technical details. Not a single easy step. A special kind of horror in situations where you have already been running for a long period of time or are still recovering from the last adventure. If you happen to enter these parts in dark, wet and misty nights the setting is perfect. Throw back UTDS+ or Legends Trail. Lovely moments.

The power and beauty of nature are so close in these narrow canyons. The central nervous system of the Ardenne Bleue – the bridge between Hautes Fagnes and the more serious climbings further down there.

To top this – there is still Hautes Fagnes waiting on the upper end of these stretches. Alway amazing – especially during the hours of dawn and early morning. Worth every effort.

Focus

No matter how exciting it felt at the beginning – at the end all reduces to very little.

It starts with excitement, with joy and with hustle and bustle. The connection with the surrounding and the fellow runners is intense. It feels like a big journey and a great adventure. Lots of discussions go along with lots of laughter. What a great experience. What a gift to be out there together.

Despite this promising start everyone is well aware that this status will not last. It must end as it consumes too much energy and wasting energy is a dangerous thing. Discussions and laughter begin to fade – replaced by increasing periods of calm and monotone running.

The final step to focus is the disconnection from any external influences. One after the other the bands to the „normal“ world need to be losen and finally cut. It is a decision to let go of everything else and the decision to concentrate and focus on the one thing: to go on. Similar to the focus of the headlamp in a moonless night which reduces every existence to a small colourless and 2-dimensional spot: this final step means to enter a place within yourself where no disturbances from the outside can reach you. It is a unique place and only yourself can enter it. All decisions are now directed to the one goal. The sooner one reaches that state the better. It preserves from worrying too much and the strong focus allows no doubts. The still existing troubles are quiet for a while. They will for sure come back and the focus will fade again but it is important to understand that it is possible to go back there at any time. It comes with experience and is improved by practice. It needs a certain kind of mental strength but is worth every effort:

Loops do not matter anymore.
Weather does not matter anymore.
Distance does not matter anymore.
Hopelessness does no matter anymore.

Finishing does.

#iceberg42 2021

The idea was born and grew within several chats on various platforms during the 2020 summer – impossible to nail it down to one single conversation. It had something to do with: we still need a fourth run for our challenge – let’s do something with loops – what about a bit of elevation gain? At the end The Iceberg track was born. It was a co-production of acceptnolimits.eu and pfadsucher.com which more and more turns into a fruitful collaboration.

The Iceberg

If you wonder about the name „Iceberg“ of the run – well, that is a different story. To be told one day. Maybe. Different platforms show different values on the actual track lengths but we agreed to make it 100 mi. At the end (during the race) we decided that this means 42 loops.

Hard to describe the running itself. At the beginning (first 5-8 loops) it was really enjoyable. You run up and then down again where you find your car parked and packed with all the supply you would possible need. And then you do that again. And again.

And again.

Slowly but surely you enter in a different dimension of time and meaning. There are two numbers you keep an eye on: loop time of the current loop and the total loop count (at the beginning you count up, at the end you count down). Everything else vanishes behind a blurry curtain. Because nothing else matters. To continue is the key, no matter what. The focus on the loop was extreme after a while. Every step felt like automatic. At the end you look on a root or a stone or a puddle in the focus of your headlamp and know immediately if you better use your right or your left foot, where exactly you need to place your poles and how much strength you need to manage that step. An extraordinary level of details are burned-in your head.

Really difficult to describe. We had all kind of weathers (expect snow) and the course really suffered. At the end it was a muddy, slippery, horrible steep something we were climbing up and down again and again. What keeps you moving? I heard different explanations during these two days in Coo but you need to find your own answer by trying to finish. If you manage to find something that pushes you enough you may be one of the happy few lunatics.

After 41h and 27m it was done. 168 km (my GPS jumped somewhere) and 11.213 m of elevation gain. An interesting experience. Thanks to all who finished, tried to and supported – it was a really intense 48h time period on this parking lot in Coo and we will tell the story a lot in the future. Next time we go there we better visit the theme park over there and take the ropeway to visit the tower. Or we directly jump to the part of drinking a beer together.

Here are some runalyze.com exports of the run data:

A nice description of the loop included in the race report of Marek can be found here.

25% done.

Trail-Art – Legends Tracking Artists
Iceberg42 2021 Finishers

Doing Your Best?

Great. Always good to do that. And really – you invested everything you had to give. You withstood all the discomforts. You conquered all obstacles. Everyone told you before it is insane. The race director told you it’s impossible. Twice. But you still signed up and started. And: horrible conditions along the way. Unmatched so far. Way too long distances between the checkpoints. All your friends and family on every social media congratulate you already and comfort you in thinking that what you already achieved is amazing. You yourself are sure that your performance is above all doubts. Your Garmin congratulated you – you just earned another batch and you broke a few of your personal records along the way. On top of that the night fall and the nice indoor checkpoint is warm and cosy. It is time to hit the stop button on your watch or even better: the button on your tracker. Still you may remind yourself:

So you may want to revisit your situation. Don’t you feel that tickling sensation somewhere deep down? Are you sure the light won’t come back again for another bright morning? What if you open your eyes and the clock is still ticking? What if you realise that you maybe really can finish it? What if it is worth the trouble? But that is your decision.

HWW5 – Wald Wasser Wildnis Weg

Die Geschichte ist schnell erzählt. Falscher letzter Zug. Gestrandet in Kall – sowas ist immer ärgerlich. Um das Gemünd zu beruhigen schnell am dortigen Nationalparktor vorbeigeschaut und dann auf dem schnellsten Weg zurück zu einem frequentierten Bahnhof. Das war in dem Fall Langerwehe – perfekt zu erreichen über den Hauptwanderweg 5 des Eifelvereins von Gemünd nach Langerwehe. Elegant.

Nachts allein im starken Dauerregen war die erste Hälfte ereignisarm. Mit ca. 2 Meter Sichtweite im kalten Regen war es so eine der Passagen in der der Genuss ganz im Vordergrund steht. Scheinbar muss man auf jeder Tour durch die Nordeifel einmal nach Schmidt hoch – warum auch immer. Sonst waren große Teile der Strecke bekannt vom Wildnistrail und dem Nord-Eifel-Ultra von Stefan. Also schnell durch und ab in den Zug in Langerwehe.

Wald – auf jeden Fall, Wasser – reichlich von oben, Wildnis – vermutlich war ich verantwortlich für 100% der Mobilitätsdaten in der Nordeifel in dieser Nacht. Allein und doch beäugt von zahllosen Augen zwischen den Bäumen inmitten gleichgültig fallenden kalten Tropfen.

Damit ist der nächste der Hauptwanderwege des Eifelvereins abgehakt!

Aachen Läuft

Eine doch sehr schöne und teils auch recht unterhaltsame Aktion ist beendet. Veranstaltende, Vereine und Supporter von 4 Aachener Laufveranstaltungen haben angesichts der anhaltenden Corona-Situation vom 28.11.2020 bis 28.02.2021 eine Ausgleichsmöglichkeit für das Laufen im Aachener Stadtgebiet angeboten. Ein Bluetooth Start-und Ziel-Turm samt Anleitung wurde aufgestellt und das Prinzip war denkbar einfach: App herunterladen, registrieren, vor jedem Lauf zwischen zwei Distanzen wählen (4,6 oder 9,2 km standen bei einer Rundenlänge von 2,3 km zur Auswahl) und nach dem Lauf die Zeit hochladen – Aachen Läuft eben.

Darüber hinaus wurde das Startgeld für die Aktion gespendet, weitere Spenden konnten getätigt werden und spendable Sponsoren haben immer wieder für nette Zwischen-Challenges Preise für die Laufenden bereit gestellt. Eine schöne Sache.

Ob der anhaltenden Pause offizieller Veranstaltungen nutzte ich diese Gelegenheit um einige längere Läufe auf der Runde zu absolvieren. Insgesamt sind 611,8 km in ca. 81 Stunden zusammen gekommen was 266 Runden um den Hangeweiher entspricht. Die Wochenleistungen bei Aachen Läuft sahen dabei wie folgt aus:

KM/KW bei Aachen Läuft

Ich bin also hauptsächlich im Dezember 2020 am Hangeweiher gewesen – mit der 100 Meilen Aktion am kalten 08. und 09. Januar 2021 als Höhepunkt und längstem Lauf (24 Stunden Laufzeit). Insgesamt wurde es der zweite Gesamtrang was die Gesamtkilometerleistung betraf – hinter einer unfassbar lauffreudigen Nummer 1. Irgendwie haben wir uns beide in der Überschrift des abschließenden Zeitungsartikel wiedergefunden. Tatsächlich haben wir gemeinsam die ein oder andere Runde gedreht und haben uns gegenseitig supported – es war mir ein Fest!

Auch hatte ich das Glück bei einer der Wochen-Challenges mit einer Box lokalem Glück reich beschenkt zu werden.

Vielen Dank für die Organisation – eine gelungene Sachen in diesen Zeiten.

Ein wenig froh bin ich doch, dass der Hangeweiher nun für eine Weile nicht mehr besucht werden will…

NRW Challenge 2021

Simple Rules: start an activity (run/walk) at each of the 24 daily hours in February 2021. Go outside. Cover each of the 7 days as well. Each of the activities needs a minimum of 45 min duration and a minimum of 5 km distance. Most horrible rule of all: there need to be a mandatory 90 min break between two activities where you need to wait (a long run with switching your watch on and off does not count for multiple hours). It is meant to break the routine and yes: it should feel a bit nasty – at least sometimes.

All started 2019 with a stupid idea and it was continued with success in 2020. Alex asked to take-over and push this „beautiful idea“ to the next level:

https://my.raceresult.com/163932/info?lang=de

NRW-Challenge results so far:

  • 15 days and 13 hours in 2020
  • 14 days and 15 hours in 2021
  • do we have to do it again in 02/2022?
No Rest for the Wicked 2021 – 14 days & 15 hours

100 mi Hangeweiher #aachenläuft

Die Aktion #aachenläuft ist eine schöne Idee und funktioniert technisch echt gut wenn man die Hinweise der Organisatoren zur Nutzung der App beachtet. So kann man ganz gemütlich am Hangeweiher 2 oder 4 Runden drehen, dabei etwas für den guten Zweck tun und in diesen verrückten Corona-Monaten etwas Zeit an der frischen Luft verbringen. Also Ihr Aachener – raus an den Weiher!

Das schöne Wetter am Wochenende war zu einladend – 68 Runden (17×9.2 km) auf der Strecke plus einige Runden unten am Weiher machen auch 100 Meilen voll. In 23 Stunden und 45 Minuten eine gegen Ende doch sehr anstrengende Angelegenheit. Vielen Dank an alle die vorbei geschaut haben und ganz besonders an Uwe. Wir haben uns das erste Mal gesehen, aber es brauchte nur kurz bis wir uns gut verstanden haben. #1 und #2 der Rangliste gemeinsam auf der Runde – das hat Spaß gemacht.

Das Ende.
Nein, das ist nicht die HF.

Für die Statistik: #19 – check.