Städtlilauf – a run I almost missed

I will remember this run forever. I´m 100% sure about it. But not for the run itself, but for what preceded it! My nightmare has almost materialized. And what actually happened?

Before the run

I sit down at my computer on Friday to check the schedule of the run that is supposed to be held TOMORROW. And in a few moments, I will find that it is TODAY !!! I´m gasping for breath! The cold sweat rises on my head! This is a bad dream!!! How could I have missed the fact that the run is held on Friday? (Well, fairly easy – who on earth organizes runs on Friday ?!) A strong language starts to pour out of my lips. I give myself names even when I call my husband to tell him that tonight’s plans are changing ab sofort (and I had planned a dinner with my friend at our favorite Café Fischer in Ersigen!).

However, although I still curse myself, I try to see positives in this situation and I´m slowly calming down. Because:

  • my run is scheduled for 7 pm, so I still have enough time to get ready.
  • Wangen an der Aare, where the run takes place, is about twenty minutes by car.
  • I had the chance to run last night (as if I had some strange gut feeling when I had an urge to go running at 9 pm – and that’s the time I wouldn´t normally set a foot out of the house).
  • I had pasta for lunch today, so I got the necessary dose of carbs.
  • the weather forecast is almost perfect (20 degrees and sunny what do you want more?).
  • we have a free weekend ahead of us! Free weekend people! Do you know what a rarity is it for us? No runs or athletic competitions, no soccer or hockey tournament, just nothing! Two free days! (and if we did not kill each other, we still live today :D)

Wangen an der Aare

We arrive at Wangen  (a small town, that has a population of only a little over two thousand people) about an hour in advance. Wangen an der Aare is a small town in the Oberaargau region, at the foot of the Jura Mountains, and has been an important military base in history (btw. the Swiss army has it´s base here today: Wangen an der Aare is the Transport Corps’ main center and a training-place for disaster relief and rescue units).

I’m going to pick up the start number in the historic Salzhaus building (which used to be the salt store of Canton of Bern since 1775). Then I’m going to get some warm-up exercise and watch the finishers of walking & nordic walking categories. And the local bagpipe band plays to support them.

Well, of course, it’s time for a pre-run photo 🙂

My run

Shortly before 7 o’clock, I am in the starting corridor. Even though our field of runners is quite small, I don´t have a panic-like horror, like at Herbstlauf in Burgdorf, that I will finish the run as the last one. I know our route is predominantly flat, and no tricky hill is waiting for us. I am also pleasantly surprised that there are pace-makers available at such a small race. I’m looking at the man who’s holding the 50:00 flag. It’s important to have motivation 🙂

At 7 pm we start. I’m a little bit afraid that we’ll be crushed just a few meters after the start in the narrow town gate, but we did it. We run one circle in a tiny historic center and then we’re running into the covered wooden bridge.

We turn right onto the tarmac path along the river. Although she is relatively narrow, we do not crowd together at all, and I’m “catching” the lady in a blue T-shirt and purple shorts and choosing her as my pacemaker. The official pacemaker for 50 minutes is still in my sight. I know I run the first and second kilometers quite fast (time around 4:45 min/km). And again, I think I run too fast because I have a stitch in my side. At about 2.5km (to my taste quite soon) we have the first refreshment. Despite I swallow only a few gulps of water, I feel they do no good. And moreover, “my” pacemaker disappeared out of sight. I have an urge to vomit on the third kilometer, my fellow-runners overtake me (even one “youngster” at the age of 70) and I desperately wonder when and why I stopped running for joy and started racing. Do I need this, hunt for results? My thoughts and stomach luckily calmed down when I had told myself that I would run my pace and just to enjoy the run, even if I had to end last.

I will find myself even smiling as we approach Wangen and I realize that we are almost halfway down the run. I see my support team (aka my family 🙂 ) and suddenly I’m running easily. We run along the river, a pleasant breeze is blowing in the back, and I even overtake some of the fellow-runners. I say it is very strange to run the beautiful nature, while hearing the noise of the nearby highway. The noise is increasing as run the path under the highway towards another refreshment. What surprised me is that we only get water. I would expect a iont sports dring, or at least sweet tea, as in Emmenlauf. Still, I feel the flow of new energy. Because we turn back to the town, and I see “my” pacemaker in front of me in a blue shirt and purple shorts. And also the “youngster” that overtook me. My goal is now clear. Catch up! On the 9th kilometer I have them! Wow! I am good! In front of the town gate, my support team is waiting for me again and encourages me. Just a few tens of meters away! And suddenly I hear the noise. I turn around and find out that the runners behind me have taken the pace and want to get fast to the finish. I do not give up and I start to sprint the last few dozen meters. The local commentator is obviously delighted by this mass sprint and the audience too! It’s euphoria! Until I hear about a minute later: “Mom, I want ice cream!” So, back to reality! 😀

I finished in the F30 category at 7th place (out of 18) with a time of 50: 45.2. Thanks, Wangen! And see you next year! (I promise I won´t forget that the run takes place on Friday 🙂 )

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Categories: Canton Bern, Running, Switzerland
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Hana Hurábová

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