Last week we got to know a populous but rather low-key event, today let’s look at a 15.000 participant city marathon that makes you smarter. What, yes, I said “a race that makes you smarter”. But more about that later.
Hi my name is Heiko, founder of the R.E.S.E.T.® coaching method for advanced endurance coaching, and today I will share with you my race experience so that if you are in Ulm during September, looking for a marathon you have sufficient information to decide whether this race is for you or not.
How come this race would make you smarter? With Various Math and Physics formulas along the way? E=mc2 ! I will answer that question first. Well no, not the theory of relativity, but the name.
To me it seems obvious if you have a Einstein finisher medal, and you have run 42,2KM in Einstein’s footsteps so to speak something must rub off isn’t it?
Well fact is Einstein was born there, but of course emigrated to Switzerland, and then later on to the united states, and that’s where he published over 300 papers on various smart people theory stuff. But hey, if you run this race you can honestly say you have walked or followed in the footsteps of Einstein.
Approximately 600 marathon runners’ start the race at exactly 9:10. This is important because in case you use the full hour to time your race for example you want to finish in 4:00 hours, so 10KM in 60 minutes, or a pace of 6:00 minutes per KM, or a 9:39/ mile pace, means you will look at your watch at 10:00 and only be at KM 8 so don’t panic you have those extra 10 minutes.
The start and finish are at two different locations, and there is a bag drop off. Plan more time, as this is a big event, and there are many runners, half marathon, 10K, Walkers so you definitely want to avoid last minute stress.
Ulm can be quite foggy at times, especially early mornings. I mention this because the start was one of the coldest, I remember. Right next to the river Danube, and as usual you stand around waiting for the start.
Finally, you get going, a wide street past the main car park and then head out in an easterly direction, following the river, still cold. The field does spread out somewhat but depending on what your estimated finish time is it’s a good idea to pass the pacers already now.
What I mean is, if you want a sub 3:30 and are behind the 4:00 hour pacer, pass the group during the first 3 KM’s, because after that the road becomes a bit narrow and there are tight corners as you enter the suburb’s.
In case you don’t speak German and you wonder what the runners’ are talking about, it usually is whether we are currently in the state of Bavaria or Baden Württemberg. As this line gets crossed numerous times during the marathon.
You head away from the Danube, and by now you don’t feel the cold as much anymore. Then, in Pfuhl there is not only an aid station but also a big band, and is full of extremely cheerful supporters.
Which sort of distracts you that you are running on cobblestone. Oh, in case you don’t like that, there is more cobblestone coming up ahead. But heading underneath beautiful old archways, picturesque buildings should distract you from the sometimes really tough stretch of pavement.
Now you are running along the river again, heading west. About 10KM you see the Ulm Münster, the famous Lutheran church, which up until the completion of the Sagrada de Familia was the tallest church in the world.
Then you cross the Adenauer Brücke.. quite famous, but not because of him being Germany’s first chancellor, nope, actually it’s famous because for years the local and state governments were arguing over who will pay for extensive repairs.
Whilst crossing the bridge you have a view of the first half marathoners that are close to their finish, and you can prepare yourself because here it will become a bit more crowded and twisty.
At the 25KM I am being passed by some incredibly fast runners’, I am talking about really impressive speeds. And then I realize it’s the 10 000 meter Elite runners’ and they are just warming up.
Thank goodness we leave the city, this means the halfway point is either passed or ahead you are not sure. Yes there are signs, but due to the distractions, the crowds, the people it might just be you losing focus. Then heading through lots of green scenery, heading further out of the city, past a huge power station. It’s here where you can refocus your mind. Let your thoughts get clear again, and plan your strategy for the next kilometers coming up.
Using such peaceful sections of the race are a great way to reprogram and reset your concentration.
And then you run a sort of a loop, and pass the impressive Wiblingen Abbey from I think about 1000 and then expand in 1700.
The race becomes a bit less crowded, and you head out back in an easterly direction, all the way to Pfuhler See, and Offenhausen.
Now remember I said that the course is as flat as an ironing board.
By now I wish for an uphill or downhill, just for taking on a different posture, and suddenly I noticed the wind picking up, and now you are well into the race, and I started to get cold. So with some extra speed, I headed into the last 10KM of the race.
Back on to cobblestone, which suddenly I realize is costing me quite some energy. Or was it the long stretch with the wind, hmm who knows. Thank goodness the spectators and skyline distract me until I realize this last section is twisty where the finish comes on. It must be here somewhere and the last 400 meters there is one of the nicest finish straights although you feel the incline, the crowds cheer you along.
Interestingly of the 772 marathon runners’ only 637 finished, according to the race organizers website. Not sure why such a high DNF rate. Anyway I got my sub 3:30 finish, and yes, having that medal at home makes me feel smarter.
Find more tips like this on heikostribl.com or in our online mental running tool course. An in-depth 4 hour video course, along with an easy-to-read guide to understanding mental techniques for runners’ in depth. It comes, along with our R.E.S.E.T.® branded coaching certification.
My name is Heiko. Thanks for reading! : Take it easy.