GOLDSTEIG ULTRA RACE 661K ALL OVER GERMANY. PERSONAL RACE REPORT BY SIMON GFELLER.

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What a race! Another big challenge I lived, suffered and enjoined a few days ago.

To be honest, I didn’t really had much time to prepare myself properly for that race as I still had to recover a bit from my last race (Swiss Irontrail 214km). 1 moth before the Goldsteig I hardly trained as I prefered to be well recovered rather than putting more training sessions on to my body.

Once arrived in Marktredewitz we went straight to the briefing, getting our bibs and bags for the 4 dropbags we could leave along the course. It´s very worth to have a good think what items, dry clothes, equipment, food you need or might need put in those dropbags as they are the only items you will have acess on the whole course! A very important point!
I ran with my 12liter backpack, felt it was enough. You will have to run anyway with long running trousers, rainjacket and thermal long sleeve shirt due to the cool climate. So I will have enough space for food and rest of equipment and therefore the 12liter backpack will do the job. 

The first night we realized that there was no exaggeration pointed out by the race organization that temperatures can drop at night to minus 5 degrees! Usually at night it was about 0-4 degrees and during the day around 14 degrees. Exept Monday night it was very cold, below zero. Most parts of the race days it was cloudy and partly raining. The grass/field was wet anyway even if there was no rain at this moment. Running in wet shoes/socks is not really comfortable and accelerate getting blisters and more sore feets. 
Running through the Bavarian part was amazing. What a stunning landscape! Really beautiful! And those wide impressive dark forest where the darkest forests I have ever seen!

On that race supporting teams were allowed. So there were quite a few athletes with supporting teams. Me in my case, as usually, I ran alone without any support at all.
Regarding where to stop and where to sleep, how much to sleep: I said to myself that I will decide all that once on the course. Depending on how tired I feel that moment, depending on how my body feels I will decide in which CP to stay and rest for a while.
I slept for the first time at around point km200 to get some energy to heading onto Seebachschleife km265 and Alpe km335 (ski resort). I remember on the way to Alpe early in the morning I had serious problems finding it. It was very foggy. No visibility at all! I had to call by phone the person in Alpe (Restaurant/Mountain refuge) for more indications.

Coming closer to the Passau district we started getting massive problems going through the forest due to all the fallen trees by a heavy storm some 2 month ago. The area, or at least the trails, supposed to been cleaned but that was not the case. There was just no way getting through there. The race organization provided us with an alternative track for the affected area but it turned out that the new way/trail was also covered with big fallen trees. No way getting through there either. The organization decided then to run on the road/asphalt till Passau, and that finally worked.
On the way to Landshuterhaus/Mountain hut km499 and Sankt Englmar km535 my legs start to complain a bit. I think that those asphalt houres/miles was not really good for my already tired feets.
Except the first day I was/run the whole time alone, days and nights. Probably tiredness and loneliness are easier to cope with while running with other athletes.

Days and nights are coming and going past like in a science fiction movie. The sun seems to persecute the moon, the moon try to catch the sun,….and again, and again, day by day, night by night. You become a timeless-traveller. Someone who doesn’t care any more about time and date…..YOU ARE A GHOST-RUNNER WITH TREMENDOUS SLEEP DEPRIVATION.

I felt happy when I arrived finally in Sankt Englmar. I eat a lot and had a quick rest before heading onwards Neunburg km661. Those last section was like never-ending. I had a few hours sleep at different points during the race but my mind and body were nearly worn out. I felt so terrible tired as never before. Falling asleep every few steps, every few meters, mostly at nights but also at daylight. I  had serious problems staying on the track, taking me ages to do “normal” things like checking my kit/equipment, not remembering what day it was, problems with navigating. I had to stop at a bus shelter and have another power nap of 15min. after that I felt a tiny bit better.

The last day was probably the hardest one of all of the race days. The finish line instead of coming closer seemed to go further and further away. It tooks me so much time for those last 80km. I didn’t had much energy left. Thought I had enough for that week now as I run alone on most part of the race, days and nights. I made it to finish in Neunburg at 4 o´clock early in the morning after running 5days and 16hours.                Result: 2º Place overall

The GOLDSTEIG ULTRA RACE is history! A truly epic very impressive adventure came to an end. So many things are still to be assimilated, still to be realized in my mind. A race you will remember the rest of you life, taking part now of your hard-forged running experience.
For now it´s time for a rest, letting body and mid setting down a bit. In a short while then let´s focus on the next challenge.

 

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