Traunsee Halbmarathon, 23/06/2018

Two weeks after my surprising win at IfU Managementmeile it was time for yet another run – the very first Traunsee Halbmarathon from Ebensee to Gmunden. The route takes you on a 5km lap around Ebensee and then along the lake directly to Gmunden. No major hills, no sharp corners – the perfect event to go for a personal best.

For the premiere we had excellent weather – at least for running: Around 15 degrees, cloudy with a light rain in between and almost no wind.
My preparation for the race was not as maticulous as for the marathon in April, I had decided to enjoy the race and spend a nice weekend with my family. Still, I wanted to go below 1:24:00. I went to Gmunden on Friday and picked up my starterbag at the local shopping centre. Organisation was smooth and the bag contained more than just the usual ad materials: A 10 EUR voucher for restaurants in Gmunden, a 20 EUR voucher for a sports shop, a drinking bottle, a running shirt and a couple of food samples – anyone at VCM organization reading this?
Starting time on Saturday was 7.30pm, free transport by train from Gmunden to Ebensee was available. I arrived in Ebensee around 6.30 and immediately seeked shelter in the foyer of a bank as it was raining and rather cold. After a short warmup twenty minutes before the start I positioned myself in fourth or fifth row in the starting block – no different blocks were needed for around 1000 starters and opposed to some other events there was no pushing or 2h+ runners in the first rows.
I did a consistent pace of 3:56-3:58/km during the first kilometres and was lucky that two other guys hit the same pace, especially Bib 272 became a real pacemaker for me – thanks a lot! We soon started overtaking people and did so until the end – some of them joined us for a while but most of them had obviously overpaced during the first kilometres. I had really good legs until km 12, from then on I started to suffer, especially on the short uphill sections. When we were told that Sweden was leading German in the football world cup I had a broad smile on my face. So I managed to hold the pace of my two companions until km 19 but then faded a bit and lost contact – I only ran 4:23 on my twentieth kilometer and that cost me my sub 1:24 finish in spite of a good sprint to the line.
At first I was not completely happy with my 1:24:07 but when I saw that I had come in in 23rd position I reminded myself that I had just improved my personal best by over 3 minutes.

As for the event I can only recommend it: organization was excellent, enough space for runners, free transport, fine starterbag, great photos and a very good atmosphere among the runners.
I can’t really tell about baggage transport and afterparty as I went home for a shower immediately after the race due to the cold weather. I also could imagine capacity problems at energy stations for 1:45-2:00-runners but of course I did not see any of it. As for the pre-race info: The elevation profile is most certainly wrong but as the route is mainly flat that is not a big deal either.
It will be interesting to see how everything goes with 3000+ runners, the first edition was a great promotion and I will most certainly come back – probably already 2019 to finally do those 1:23:xx