Baltic Run - 325 km from Berlin to Karlshagen (Usedom) in 5 days, Germany
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There are four days left, till there is the Start of the Baltic Run 2016 in Berlin. Now, the crucial phase starts. It is obvious, because the amount on emails send by the organisation rises, also the amount and type of posts at Facebook.
Firstly some more information: what is going on here. The Baltic Run is a stage race with five stages from Berlin to Karlshagen (Usedom) at the Baltic Sea. In middle, there are 65km to run each day. Days of rest? There is nothing like that! If a runner does not finish a day, he is out of the race. Die length of the stages varies between 59km and 69km. In compare to other stage races the Baltic Run can be rated as easy. The Deutschlandlauf (Trans Germany) and the TransEurope had a middle stage length of 74km. The JOGLE (Trans England) even had 87km. 10km more every day do not sound a lot, but they are an enormous burden. Depending on the running speed it means 1-2 hours longer every day. It also means to be exposed to the weather and less recreation time. Results of other stage races show that these 10km extra results in 20-30% more drop offs. Besides short stages the Baltic Run is also an âAll-Inclusive-Raceâ. It means that runners do not need to organise anything during the race. Accommodation, breakfast, dinner and aid stations are included in the start fee. That is why the Baltic Run is excellent for greenhorns on stage races and people which want a relaxed organised race. But it does not mean that the race will be easy or boring!
I ran multiple stage races in the past. Even people will say it will be easy for me â reality is different! Out of my experience, I can tell that each stage race is a challenge. Never mind, if the race takes 5 or 70 days, or if the length has an average of 50km or 100km every day. During the race there are three things which count: fitness, mental strength and luck!
But what am I talking about? Everybody knows what is meant with fitness. People have to be trained and fit to run such a distance. It means to be fast enough (to stay in the time limit) and be capable to run long enough. Most important is to find the right speed. If somebody runs one or two days to fast the risk to get shint-splints rises. It is an overstrain of the tendon which is running between the shinbone and the forefeed. Shint-splints is a typical problem at stage races. It does not mean that people drop out immediately because of it, but some hard days with many pain. It means to slow down dramatically to be able to fight through the course. Very critical are the days after recover. Many people are not patient and speed up to fast after. Then the shint-splints will come back. Actually that brings us fluently to the second point â mental strength. Actually we already continued fluently to the second thing which counts â mental strength. Iron will and resistance are very important, if there are problems coming up. But this is not the only point to be strong. During such an event people are all the time under stress and they ask a lot from their body. A lot of people also have problems to sleep in a mass accommodation or live very close together with other people. Most of the time it is not possible go into your own room and just close the door behind. Only if a runner sleeps at a hotel or in a caravan he has that comfort. Another possible problem for people might be to get up very early and go to bed late. Third point, I mentioned, was luck. Without it, nothing is possible at all. Many things can happen during such a long time. Even people are prepared well and are well organised during the race there is never a 100% assurance that they arrive at the finish. It does not even need an unattentioned car driver who hit a runner. Also a little moskito bite could cause dramatic outcome (look at Transe Europe Footrace 2009).
But it will not help to think too much about it. It is important to keep focused on the goal. Keep in mind that every step brings you one step closer to this goal.
LET`S GO! Also I had to get ready. Not long ago I packed my stuff and now we are sitting at the car going toward Berlin. Tomorrow evening at 8pm is the opening ceremony together with the major of the district Reinickendorf. Besides, there is the pre-race-meeting which is a must for everyone. On the way towards Berlin we will do one or two permanent IVV-trails, so that the driving does not take to long.
My wife is a little bit nervouse, since it is her first time on a stage race as a supporter. However she is not my personal support, but an official helper with the organisation. The main reason therefore is that the BalticRun has fixed aid stations. This is what I prefer. So everyone has the same chance to get support. So a personal supporter is not really necessary.
Before we arrive in Berlin we still have some hours of driving. I hope it will be without any traffic jam. Besides I hope that the weather would be as nice and warm as the past days. But other people might think different. Some people prefer warm weather other prefer cool weather.
Yesterday evening we drove till Selbitz which is almost half way to Berlin. This morning we had a relaxed breakfast. After that we went on a permanent trail âBayrisch Vogtlandâ. It was a nice and diversified route with some beautiful views to the Vogtland. After the walk we continiued driving to Berlin. We had planed to do another permanent trail in Berlin. But after we had passed Leipzig we hit some traffic jam. Therefore the place, where we could get the start cards, was already closed. As an alternative we went shopping. You can almost always use a pair of new shoes.
Just past 3pm we arrived at the school in Berlin â Rheinigendorf. After I had checked in for the race I set up our sleeping area while my wife loaded the car with all the supplies for the aid station. Again and again new friends arrived. Some of them did also the TransEurope with me.
The opening ceremony started in time at 6pm. First JÃ¶rg Stutzke told us about the main race rules and some important things. After that the major had his talk. Then we had a huge buffet. Let`s hope food will remain like that for the rest of the time. After the dinner we were sitting together and talked. Besides I wrote my report and after went to bed. The supporters had to get up already at 5am.
Um 18 Uhr startete pÃ¼nktlich das ErÃ¶ffnungsmeeting. Zuerst informierte JÃ¶rg Stutzke uns noch einmal Ã¼ber die wichtigsten Regeln und Eckdaten. Danach begrÃ¼Ãte und der BÃ¼rgermeister. Hinterher gab es ein Ã¼ppiges Buffet. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass es die anderen Tage auch so ist. Danach saÃen wir noch etwas zusammen, man unterhielt sich, ich schrieb noch den Bericht fertig und schlieÃlich ging es ins Bett. Morgen frÃ¼h ab 5 Uhr geht es fÃ¼r die Helfer los.