At the Zugspitz Supertrail UVU-Panther Tim Wortmann finished 2nd. In his report he talks about the tough event, memories and his great effort.
20th of June, 8.30 a.m.: Pouring rain, it is really cold, the mountains are wrapped in clouds and fog and we (Maggy, Rainer and myself) are standing under an umbrella discussing if there will be some changes to the course because of the weather conditions and what to wear?! Last night the race organizers changed the rules regarding clothing. We had to wear long pants and sleeves. Weird how these little things influences my mood: “I hate to run in long pants. Ok – it is really cold! Some people will be out there for a long period of time. Get over it! But I also dislike running in the rain! Tim, seriously, it is just weather! GET OVER IT!”.
Half an hour later I would find myself running in the front pack on the first climb of the race. The pace feels a little faster than i would normally run up those mountains but the company is great, I’m getting into my rhythm and soon we reach a point, which I knew from the 100k distance of last years race. Last year I was really thirsty and it felt hot, this year it is snowing. We are around 1700 meters above sea level and everything is covered under a small white layer. It is kind of magical because we are the first ones of the 2.200 participants who are running this part of the course.
After reaching the highest point (Scharnitzjoch; 2048 meters above sea level) we are slipping and sliding through the snow. Under the small layer of white there is a lot of mud and I take some nice falls, but somehow this is fun. Running through the white in a stunning scenery wrapped by silence. I love this! As we go down the trails the snow turns into mud or better a stream of water and mud and soon we reach the first aid station.
Last year our team manager and beloved friend Basti waited at this point of the race for us. Instantly the memories are coming back and I get quite emotional. I miss him! But I can remember his words: “Now it will be really flat for a long time! Quite boring, but this is your strength Tim, just keep rolling!”. So I kept and now keep rolling! Furthermore after the win at the Keufelskopf Ultratrail in May I’m quite confident with my running fitness on those forest roads. I’m in 4th place with the leaders in sight so everything is in control.
At the next aid station I catch up to the leaders, change my wet shirt (as if I would benefit from this; it is still pouring rain; nevertheless, thanks to Gernot for the incredible support!!!) and run on. I feel great, leg turnover is good, stomach just a little bit upset, trails are getting a little bit smaller for a while and in the blink of an eye we are at the Ferchensee. I leave with Christoph (Congratulations to the win!) who tells me that the race will be shortened by the last loop to the Osterfelderkopf. Damn, shorter means more speed – but it stopped raining and since it’s just another competitor I’m not confident that they will actually do that (Sorry Christoph, I better start listening). Just a few hills later he will drop me, light and fast – impressive! But I’m in a steady rhythm, legs feel ok and I knew before I started that with a lack of harder miles in training, it wouldn’t be easy to follow those young speedsters! Matthias (3rd place) is around 200m behind me. I can’t wait leaving the “forest autobahn” to start the downhill to the Partnachklamm.
The uphill to the next aid station feels easy (last year I suffered a lot at this point), nutrition is ok, legs are good, just keep moving. But there are still 20k left – right? I start thinking about the loop to the Osterfelderkopf and if we would be running it? I should have asked the guys at the last aid station. Stupid mistake! Moreover I’m back on the autobahn! Definitely not the most enjoyable part of the course! “Tim, keep moving. Matthias will be running all of this, so you should do too!”. Finally I reach the last climb of the race to the Längenfelder. There are a lot of “Basetrailers” on the track which makes moving fast a little more exhausting and as much as I anticipated to leave those forest roads, now I’m suffering a bit! Pace would be okay for a 100k but for this short race it is to slow and I know that – “Keep pushing - but it feels so nice to just drop the effort a tiny little bit – back to pushing – No one said that this should be easy – it is You versus You – get it done!”.
At the aid station I start filling my flasks just to notice that we actually won’t be running the loop. Oh yeah, still a lot to learn for me in that racing circus. As I’m leaving for the last downhill Matthias is coming my way! Race on. Last year the downhill was terrible and I lost one place at this part of the race. But with a year living close to the Alps I should be stronger. Just run as Basti would do: Dirretissima! Gooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! I know that Matthias won the Wings for Life Run in Munich so he should be quite comfortable pushing on the last 2k, which are flat on tarmac roads! Thus, I decided to better be fast enough to hold on the advantage. And here we are: Grainau! I can hear the crowds at the finish line.
On those last turns, I remember our team meeting last year! I remember Basti handing me a cold brew at the finish line! That were good times! But these are too. I’m a lot stronger and more used to running in the mountains. The season turned out pretty well so far and there are a lot of adventures coming up in the next couple of months! With a smile on the face I’m crossing the finish line.