Reports 2010

Bärenfels-Ultratrail at Neubrücke/Nahe, Germany

It was the eighth time that the Bärenfels Ultratrail started. There were less pre entries because of the hot weather period during the last days. Late arrival of most of the participants resulted in a delayed race start. But it was not really a big problem, because it was a small event.

Compared to last year the course was changed. I think it was easier now. The grave of the bear, the rock of the bear and the habitat still was there. Another big change was done at the support. To be able to give points for the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mount Blanc) the aid stations had to be decreased. The runners had to carry their own stuff. Even than there were three aid stations. One was placed after 7.5km, one after 11.5km and one at the finish area. The temperature was low, so it was not necessary to carry something to drink. The first participant dropped out a few meters from the start. He had to be taken immediately to the hospital cause he had cracked his bands. Besides I know from two other people which had to stop because of injuries during the first loop. Daniel Exner, a friend of him and I were running in the front from the beginning on. Only some runners of half marathon and marathon were in front of us. Well, to be honest there was not a real half marathon or marathon taking place, because the length of one loop was 21.6km. But who wants to go into details at such kind of a race? Actually it would not be possible to run records anyway. And if somebody did manage it, he could be sure the course was long enough. This year new acquisition was a timing system. Similar to the cash register at a supermarket every runner was scanned, when he finished the loop. Not really a elegant way, because the runner always had to stop. Starting the second loop, Daniel Exner took the first place. He would won easily, if a tragic accident did not stop the race. One of the marathon runners broke down at the end of the loop. He would finish the race 200m later. Even they tried to rescuitate him immediately, they could not help anymore. The organizer Robert Feller stopped the race right after the accident. When the police arrived the rest of the runners should be guided another way. So they have not to pass the dead man. Sadly not all of them accepted it and still went on that way. There were words of sympathy and sorry as well as other opinions. Some people complained that the race was stopped. Also they asked who takes care of the costs for entry and driving.

In my opinion a sad and not understandable kind of acting. Sure there were people dying at city marathons. It is also true, that these marathons had not been stopped. But is it really ok? To finish the race to push up his own statistic is all about or is it also about collective? Do not we attend at “small” races, because we do not like the mass processing at the big events? Of course everyone can have his own opinion, but in the end the organizer will take the decision at such a situation. 2001 a runner at the Trans Australia died. At that time the organizer thought to stopping or to continue the race. He decided to continue, because he thought it will be the wish of the runner. If it was the right or wrong decision could be displayed in both ways. There is only one important thing, to do the decision immediately. And Robert did it. Another point to discuss is the question of responsibility. Was the race to hard or was it because of the runner? As I said in the beginning – the race was not harder than last year. Also it was not as hot. In the end we only can tell deepest sympathy to the relatives and hope that such an accident never will be again.

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