Razorback Run 68 in the Victorian Alps, Australia

2013 November Razorback 68k (public) - 26The view from the top of Mount Feathertop was spectacular. Especially after a non-stop climb of 1404 m over 11 km for the first 2 hours of this epic race. But you have to expect such a climb when you want to be on top of the 2nd highest mountain in the Australian state Victoria. But that was just the beginning…

After a 5 hour drive from Melbourne, we arrived at the Harrietville Campground, in the middle of the Victorian Alps, in the evening the day before the race. My wife Victoria was with me, and supported me the whole time.

This is where the run was located in Australia:


After setting up our tent, we headed down to the race briefing. Paul Ashton, the race director, explained the course and gave instructions where to be especially careful. We caught up with our friend from South Australia, who I met the first time at my Heysen 105 adventure a few weeks back.

Back at the campground, we put out our tent lights at about 11pm. The next day the alarm clock went off at 4am. It was ice cold, about 2º C. I gulped down breakfast and dressed up for the big race. We just had to walk a few metres from our tent to the start line. At 6am, about 60 runners started to conquer the Razorback.

The Razorback Run hosts a bunch of different routes to run: 22k, 42k, 64k, and 68k. I signed up for the 68k route with 3363 m difference in altitude (according to my GPS). Since all of these routes where somehow intertwined and mingled, I saw a lot of other runners during my race. I found pretty cool, since it made this race not so lonely as other ultras.

This is the route of the run, with a few details highlighted (click to enlarge):


And this is the profile, showing very loooong climbs:


The 42k, 64k, and 68k, all had to run the same first 14 km to the summit of Mount Feathertop. After just a couple of hundred metres on a road, we started to climb via a single trail called Bungalow Spur from about 508 metres up to the top of Mount Feathertop at 1922 metre above sea level. Since I started my last ultra a little bit too fast in the beginning, I intentionally wanted to slow myself down, at least for the very first climb. I succeeded, and made it in about 2 hours to the mountain top.

On my way up, right before the top, I saw Bryan Ackerly, a 42k runner, coming down with a bandaged knee, blood dripping down his leg, hobbling down the mountain. He later had surgery due to his fall, but was reported to be fine after that. He was not the last, but the most serious victim to the rough surface of the Victorian Alps. I heard a lot of other stories where people stumbled and fell, collecting countless bruises and cuts.

I underestimated the race. I’ve never been to the Victorian Alps, never ran on their trails. I thought it would be comparable to the Swiss Alpine 78k I did in 2011 in the Swiss Alps. Since I ran the 78k in under 10 hours, I thought it would be totally reasonable to expect a finish of under 10 hours at the 68k, too. Far from it! The 78k was a 30 km road run, followed be 10 km ascent, 10 km running in high altitude, 10 km down, and 20 km through villages and forrest back to the finish. But this 68k was just 10 km up, 50 km in high altitude, and 10 km down. There was nearly no way to catch a break during the run, like an easy road or a flat path or something. Rocks were everywhere, and I had to focus 100 % all the time on the narrow single trails. That was challenging!

We had a little summit party on top of Mount Feathertop. I took selfies with Ben Hockings, Dej Jamieson, and other SA runners and enjoyed the fantastic view. We climbed down only 150 metres and entered the Razorback itself. The Razorback is a 10 kilometre long mountain ridge connecting Mount Feathertop with Mount Hotham. It was fantastic to run! It was the most difficult part of the race, but it was also the most fun, due to the great single trail and the fantastic view.

Right at the end of the Razorback, Victoria waited at the checkpoint near Diamantina Hut, 23 km into the race. I took a 10 minute rest to fill up food, to reapply some vaseline against chafing, and to put on sun blocker. “Wait, sun blocker?” I hear you saying. Yes, sun blocker, because it got hot. And yes, we started at the campground with temperatures close to 0º C, with a forecast for the day of 2º to 9º C. Paul actually reminded us in an email a few days before the race to pack our winter cloths, due to the forecast. But the sky was clear, and the sun was burning, and right after 9am I wished I would’ve put on a singlet instead of a t-shirt. In the afternoon it felt like 25º C :(

At this point in time I was 1st male on the 68k course, with the 1st female already 25 minutes ahead of me. Right before the checkpoint, I passed David Jennings, who passed me again in the checkpoint. He looked tired already, so I let him go, confident to pass him again the next kilometre or so.

The checkpoint volunteers informed David and me that the path up to Mount Hotham was blocked for some reason, so we had to take the road. When I left the checkpoint, I saw David a couple of hundred metres ahead of me, climbing up the road. I just wanted to follow him, when I saw Paul, our race director, running down Mount Hotham, shouting “I found a track! I found a track!”, and he was really happy to tell me that I could now climb Mount Hotham. I wasn’t so happy about it, since I wanted to follow David, getting back in lead. I guess I was a bit harsh to Paul, since he still remembered this situation in the evening. Sorry, Paul! I agreed to follow the race directors advice, having in mind that David was already looking more tired than I felt.

There was no track. There was some kind of trail in the grass, but it vanished as soon as I was in the trees. I made my way cross country to the top of Mount Hotham, swearing a lot about trees, bushes, rocks, and whatever came in my way, having in mind that David was probably already on the other side of the mountain. Finally, 200 metres before the top, I saw the track again and was able to follow it to the other side.

None of the routes of the Razorback Run was marked, meaning that you had to find your own way. Mandatory gear was a map of the area and a compass. I used a GPS device, in which I mapped out the whole route before the race. Usually, I take a wrong turn twice or thrice in every ultra I do, but not so this time. Technically, I stayed on the 68k track all the time. This time, I did much worse…

The 68k route is basically a back-and-fourth route, where you run the same distance twice in both directions. At the end of the 68k route, at kilometre 27, there is a 16k loop; before and after that loop the route is identical. Now there were only so few crossings where I had to decide whether to turn left or right, and I knew about the crossing of the loop very well. Anyhow, I managed to turn left instead of right, and so I took of to run the loop in the wrong direction.

I only found out after 4 kilometres already being in the loop. It was km 31, right in the middle of the race, when I ran by the Red Robin Mine, and I immediately realised that it was on the wrong side. That explained why I didn’t catch up with David, and that explained why another runner behind me vanished so suddenly! Boy, I was pissed! A few thoughts at this point:

  • You are disqualified!
  • You could run back and start the loop over from the beginning, in the right direction!
  • You expected Red Robin Mine to be a lot bigger!
  • Give up!
  • Call Paul and ask what to do!
  • Don’t give up!
  • That would be funny and awkward if the other 68k runners were turning up right now from the other direction!

So I tried to call Paul, but I had no signal, because I was in a valley. Then I evaluated my options:

  • I can’t go back. Not because I didn’t want to do 8 additional kilometres (I already was 4 km in the loop, so running back would mean another 4 km and then starting the loop in the other direction), and not because of another 400 metres of climbing up and down. No, but because I did not have enough food for that. I always pack enough food for the way to the next checkpoint, plus a little bit more in case of an emergency in case it takes me longer than I thought. But I didn’t have enough food with me to do another 2-3 hours of running and climbing plus keeping some food for an emergency. I found it just too risky.
  • Giving up was stupid. Even if I were disqualified, I could finish the run on my own terms.
  • Continuing the loop in the wrong direction seems reasonable. Even if that means having an advantage – I don’t think I had one, since I did the same distance and same climbing – Paul could’ve given me a penalty time or something.

I continued the loop in the wrong direction, hoping for the best. A few kilometres further, I ran into the 1st female, Jacinta O’Neill and explained, why I ran in the wrong direction (awkward moment!). Soon after that, I climbed up Swindlers Spur, where I ran into David and explained, why I ran in the wrong direction (awkward moment II!). I told him about my “detour” over Mount Hotham, but David said not to worry, since he followed the street for too long and ended up in the village instead of Machinery Spur, which gave him a detour on his own.

During the loop I dropped down to 1200 metres above sea level, just to climb back up Swindlers Spur, until I eventually reached the top of Mount Hotham (1861 m) again. During that climb, I passed Maurice Maffei, who suffered from belly pain. I just stopped long enough to be sure that he could continue on his own (which he could; he recovered later during the race and finished just a few minutes after me) and climbed further.

Phew, that was steep! At one point it was 340 metre over 1.8 kilometres (19 %), steepest ascent of this race. I was glad that I trained at Mount Macedon (20% ascent) the weeks before, so I felt prepared for this.

I ran back Machinery Spur and over Mount Hotham, where I lost the track again (again!) and ran cross country to Diamantina Hut at km 48 of the race. Paul was there, and I immediately told him that I ran the loop in the wrong direction, and asked him if that means I was disqualified. Paul just shrugged and said that it’s all good and I shouldn’t worry about it. Relief! I just love the Aussie “No worries!” attitude!

Victoria helped me to fill up water and food and chased of dozens of nasty flies. They were all over, I got my fair share of extra protein due to not keeping my mouth shut. Again I took a 10 minute time out, before I followed the Razorback back in opposite direction.

Here my subconscious self must have decided that this race wasn’t challenging enough already, so it “solved” that problem for me. I remember a woman asking about the next section of the Razorback. There are just 2 ways to follow, one leading around the first knoll after Diamantina Hut, and the other leading to the top of that knoll. Paul answered in the briefing, that she should take the way around, since the one up the knoll is very strenuous. But, Paul said, she could take whatever way she wanted.

When I ran the Razorback the first time, I remembered Paul’s advice and went around the knoll. Guess which way I took on my way back? Yeah, right… Victoria even saw me climbing up that knoll, and tried to call me, but I didn’t hear the phone. D’oh! The descent on the other side was awful, steep and rocky and not very good to follow at all. Damn you, subconscious mind!

During my way back over the Razorback, I was looking forward to the descent to the campground. The descent was only 12%, and I figured I could run it a bit faster if I still had good legs. Normally, I would climb down slowly and carefully, so I wouldn’t shoot my legs for the rest of the race. But this section was the very end of the race, so I just could give it a try. If it didn’t work out, I could still walk and hobble down the mountain.

That was the most awesome descent I ever did! Most of the time I was really fast, only stopping at larger obstacles (trees in the way etc.) or where the path was very steep. That was soooooo cool :) 4 km before the finish, I passed Ben Hockings, who’s legs were shot. He said he could only walk, but he crossed the finish line soon after me. My “flight down” inspired him and gave him energy, he told me later over a beer. Perfect :) I did the last 9.6 km with a descent of 1207 m in only 1:13 hours. I should do that more often!

After 11:12 hours I crossed the finish line, where my wife was already waiting for me. I was really shot for the rest of the day, muscles all stiff, but recovered pretty good during the night. I had just one large blister on my heel and a sunburn at a few places, that’s it.

(“Are you sunburned?” – “Yes, I’m Sun-Bernd. I’m a very positive and optimistic person!” – “What…?!” – “Ah, you mean sunburned. Yes, I’m a little bit sunburned, too.“)

Jacinta O’Neill became 1st female and winner of the 68k in amazing 10:09 hours, more than an hour faster than me. I became 1st male, but I just had 3 other male competitors on the 68k route, so it’s not at all about the place here.

I had an amazing weekend! Thanks to my wife for supporting me before, during, and especially after the race. Thanks so much for the fun company to the whole SA running crew. Thanks to everyone who “Razorback High Five!”-ed on the Razorback! Thanks to the organisers and sponsors for a great run!

Here are a few other blog posts and videos about the race I enjoyed reading and watching:

  • Razorback Run by Chris Oliver – you get a good idea of what was going on that day when you watch this video
  • Razorback Run 42km Race by Isobel Bespalov – blog post by 1st female of the 22k race (Izzy, that was awesome!)
  • Razorback Run – 2013 by Anthony Traynor – very enjoyable blog post about the 64k race

Check out the photos:

Heysen 105 2013 around Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

IMG_5343After he finished 1st place, Toby Wiadrowski wrote: “…out of all the 100s I’ve done, without a doubt the toughest conditions I’ve ever faced.” Tough conditions indeed: cruel heat, no easy terrain, and, well, 105 kilometre non-stop through South Australia.

At 7am on Saturday, 19/10/2013, 54 runners lined up near the south coast of South Australia, to run the 3rd Heysen 105. The day before I flew over from Melbourne to Adelaide.

This is where the run was located in Australia:

Map I

That tiny little dot there is Adelaide. The next map shows the course relative to Adelaide:

Map II

The last map shows the route of the race in the red rectangle in more detail:


If you want to play around with this map, check out the official version on GPSies.

I came in 10th place. 54 runners started, only 36 made it. My GPS device tracked 107 km, 2648 m ascent, and 2291 m descent. It was my 22nd long distance run (Marathon or more) and my 11th ultra marathon.

Since my wife couldn’t join me as a supporter this time, I promised to stay in contact with her via text messages. The plan was to text her after every checkpoint. Since copy-paste is cheap, I also posted parts of those text message directly to Facebook. Here’s the result, my race on Facebook (CP means checkpoint):

  • 09:48am: CP 1, k21: 2:12h. All good. [FB]
  • 12:11pm: CP 2, k37: 4:34h. Steep hills. Hardest part over. Hip’s nagging, rest okay. Awesome volunteers! [FB]
  • 03:58pm: CP 3; k59: 8:14h. Total crisis. Hip’s bad, back’s stiff. Heat, heat, heat. Ran out of water 2ce. Stomach cramps. Can’t swallow bars, gels it is. Missed track couple of times already. So many people pulling out. I can make it. Walking’s still good. I want to make it. Fantastic scenery. [FB]
  • 06:27pm: C4, k74: 10:50h. Better, slow running. Half dead, can crawl if have to. 31 to go. Peace of cake. Shit yeah! [FB]
  • 08:38pm: C5, k84: 12:48h. Almost there. Getting energy back, getting dark. Looking good (with coke). :-) [FB]
  • 00:25am: Did it! Came in 10th overall, in 15:34h. Shattered, but happy :-) [FB]

Here’s what happened: Weather forecast was 32° C, at some points temperatures rose up to 34°. No clouds. This was by far the hottest day I experienced in the last 6 months, meaning that I couldn’t train myself accordingly before this event. It was windy, meaning that it only felt cooler, but actually increased dehydration. Only occasionally there were trees providing shade, except ironically for the part most runners ran at night through Kuitpo Forest.

I had this plan: start fast when the temperature is still low, fight yourself somehow through the heat in the middle of the day, and, if survived, make the best out of it during the night. That plan kind of worked. Until before CP 2 at km 37, temperatures where below 30° C, and I was in good shape with a time of only 4:34 h. But somewhere around km 35, my systems, one after another, shut down.

First I developed impressive blisters. Last count after the race was 7, big as 50 cent coins. Usually I just have one or two smaller blisters during 100k runs, but the heat made it much worse this time. After a few kilometres I got used to them.

Next system failure was my groin, left side. I almost panicked when I felt the pain, since it was exactly the same pain which made me drop out of TNF Gran Canaria last year. From here on I did less uphill running and more uphill hiking, and after a while the pain didn’t get worse. 20 km later everything else in that region was painful, so I don’t know if the pain in the groin stopped or if I just didn’t feel it anymore.

Next came the digestive system. Around km 50 I wasn’t able to swallow solid food anymore. The bars just didn’t go down, I was choking with every bite. Mixing with water didn’t help either. From there on and for the rest of the race I used gels only.

One or two kilometre before CP 4, km 74, I got stomach cramps while I was running on the very few bitumen streets on that course, even though it was totally flat there. Gladly enough the cramps vanished after CP 4, and so did my confidence in finishing the race. I was barely doing more than 5k per hour from CP 2 to CP 4.

I took a longer rest at CP 4, trying to regain some strength. When I wanted to get up again, my body was obedient but my consciousness was not. I lost orientation and struggled to find my path, and the next 2 kilometres I walked really slow.

Finally, around 6pm, temperatures began to drop slowly. Somewhere between CP 4 and CP 5 I ran into Adam, one of the volunteers, and he said to me: “So many people dropped out, but you are still moving!” That became part of my mantra, which I kept saying, singing, shouting until the finish line: “Keep moving! Still moving! Shit yeah!” The “Shit yeah!” part comes from my wife, who packed a support package including a yoyo, and written on that yoyo are the words “Shit yeah!” – awesome idea!

While I needed 2:00 hours for 10 k (5 kph) between CP 4 and 5, it only took me 2:45 hours for 21 k (7.6 kph) between CP 5 and the finish – that felt close to flying! The cooler it became, the more energy I got back.

After 15:33’11 hours I made it into the finish. And what a finish that was: People started cheering and applauding while I was still 500 m away. When I crossed the finish line, race director Ben Hockings gave me a medal, shook hands, and hugged me. Everyone cheered, laughed, congratulated me, hugged me, and applauded. Lots of other runners were still out there, like Alex Strachan and Barry McBride, who both were about 2 hours ahead of me, and like Dej Jamieson, who had to drop out during the race; Alex, Barry, Dej, and everyone else there made party when I arrived – that was sensational and made me very happy :)

Late in the race I met Mal and Merrilyn, both volunteers and responsible for CP 5. I said to them how very much I enjoy the service and kindness of all of the volunteers I met during this race. Marilyn said with a smile: “Well, you are a runner, and that’s what you like and what you’re good at. We are volunteers, and that’s what we like and what we are good at!” Damn right she was!

Whenever I came into a CP, everyone was immediately alert to help me with whatever I needed: “Refilling the backpack? Not a problem. Water? Sure. Ice in the water? Will do. Wait, I’ll get your drop bag…” Wow, just wow! But it wasn’t only about the first class service. That was service with a heart, very kind and caring, very personal, like coming home to family. This is what made this race so special to me: The total attention every athlete got during the race.

From my point of view, race directors Ben Hockings and Sadie Cranston organised a fantastic race. The route was marvellous, and since that was my first time in the Adelaide area, it was a strong first impression when I saw while running – check out the pictures! All the volunteers and fellow runners where so kind and nice, and I figure that has a lot to do with Ben’s and Sadie’s organisation. Kudos for such a great race!

Special thanks to…

  • Ryan Toolan, who didn’t finish the race, but helped me find the way across the great grassland.
  • Hayley Teale, who shouted twice at me so I didn’t kept running in the wrong direction. [Update: Hayley wrote a great blog post about her Heysen 105.]
  • Susan (nurse?) from the finish, who were very determined (with a smile!) about how I should regain strength by putting me in a chair with a blanket, cola, and chips.
  • [Update: …Cath Danz,  who took photo of me in the finish (and a video, which you can see at the end of this post).]
  • Barry McBride, who not only was good company during and after the race, but who only started running 2.5 years ago and already broke records, finished TNF100 Australia and beat me by almost 2 hours while being about 20 years older. Sooo impressive and inspirational! Check out Barry’s blog. (Please write a post about the Heysen 105, Barry!)
  • Paul Greenwood, for being a target to chase (see pictures). Kudos that you made it due to all the difficulties!
  • Alex Strachan, for good company during and after the race, and a great blog post about his Heysen 105 2013.
  • Paul Tran, for good company and fighting horses and cows (see pictures).
  • Adam in his white truck, who volunteered by running 200m with me while holding an icepack on my back, and who u-turned just to tell me that I’m “still moving”.
  • Mal and Merrilyn for an excellent service at CP 5.
  • Sue at CP 3 (if I remember correctly) and the guy with the tattooed arm at CP 4, also for excellent service.
  • Nina Zeidan for great company before the race and at CPs and finish.
  • Ben Hockings and Sadie Cranston for a great organisation of an awesome race.

See you all maybe next year :)

Check out the photos, I put some effort into commenting them. [Update: I split them up into 3 different galleries, so that they load faster.]

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

[Update Gallery 4 – some “official” photos]

Outtake: After I crossed the finish line, I wanted someone to take a photo of me. Update: Susan Cath] was so kind and wanted to help me. So I got up, totally exhausted and stiff, pulled myself together, got into some kind of victory stance, and then this happened :)

Roller Coaster Run 2013 in Mount Dandenong, Victoria, Australia

RollerCoaster-LogoI ran the Roller Coaster Run by happy accident. At the moment I’m in the middle of my training for The North Face 100 Australia in May, a 100k run with about 4000 metres in altitude in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. To prepare myself for the hilly terrain, I often run in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. On Wednesday, three days before I planned to run some 42k in the Dandenong Ranges, I read on Facebook about the Roller Coaster Run, a 43k run with about 2000 metres in altitude, and I thought: “Hey, just 1 more kilometre…”.

The Dandenong Ranges are only about an hour away from Melbourne’s CB via train, but the race started at 7am, and the trains don’t operate that early. In the race’s Facebook group I asked for a lift, and I got two replies at once. One reply was from Bruce, a long distance runner who wanted to volunteer at an aid station during the race, and he said he could give me a lift to the race and back. After I received his offer, I immediately signed up for the 43k.

Getting up at 4am was the hardest part of the day. My wife supported me during the whole race, and Bruce picked us up at 5am. We arrived at the Sky High café, which marked start and finish of the race on top of Mount Dandenong. I received my start number and we waited for the start, while we had a nice chat with the guys from The Athlete’s Foot booth.

To our surprise, it was fairly cold, only 14º C just before the start. I was shivering all the time, because I didn’t pack enough warm cloths. But the bright side was that the temperature never rose above 20º C that day, so I had almost perfect running conditions.

The race consists of 2 loops, and each loop was 21.5k long with an approximate amount of 1000 metres in altitude. People could sign up for a single loop or the double loop. I heard numbers ranging from 500 to 700 people who signed up in both categories. Since the race is a true trail running event, and because trails are only so wide, the organisers separated the starters in 2 waves to avoid collisions on the first few kilometres. All the 43k runners were in the 2nd wave, and so was I.

The 2nd wave started at 7:26, accompanied by a beautiful sunrise. I liked the trail right from the start. Most of the time it was a double trail, and we ran through thick Australian forrest. Have a look at the official map with the route:


We were running next to the edges of Mount Dandenong, which means a lot of ups and downs, and that’s where the race got it’s name from. Just watch this video made by the organisers and you get a good impression:

I find it hard to imagine how steep it actually was just by watching the video. Here’s a chart picturing the metres in altitude:

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 12.34.24 AM

As you can see, there are two major ascents in one loop. The first is at about kilometre 5, the other is at the very end of the loop. Both climbs are about 350 m over a segment of just one or two kilometres, and you could hear a lot of swearing during those climbs :)

(For the technical and accurate readers: I measured the altitude barometrical with my Polar device, which was 1955 metre difference in altitude. I also measured the altitude with my iPhone via the Runtastic app, which uses the iPhone’s GPS. Runtastic died 40 min before the finish due to empty batteries, but up until then Runtastic measured 2265 m. Another guy in the Facebook group shared his measure of 2092 metres of altitude.)

It started to rain that morning, but only slightly. Most of the time I couldn’t tell whether I was sweating or I was wet because of the rain. Anyhow, it was nice having wet skin most of the time, since it helped to cool down the body temperature.

After the first loop I was very happy to have the chance to run another loop. The trail is really fun from start to the end. I especially liked the 0.5 section of technical trail right at the end of the loop.

Since I trained for a bigger event, I carried all my supplies with me in my backpack. Somewhere in the middle of the 2nd loop, I shared my water with a runner who ran out of water, so I had to refill my supplies at the next station. There was one aid station which was run by a mother with her 8yo boy. I didn’t want to refill the bladder in my backpack, so she grabbed a bottle of water and poured water in my mouth – 6 times. And yes, in that time I could’ve refilled my entire backpack :)

There was another aid station I was looking forward to on every loop: the Doongalla aid station. Runner passed this station twice on each loop, at kilometre 5 and 12. Bruce volunteered at this station, and I enjoyed to see a familiar face during the race.

The organisers did a great job with this race. I especially loved the atmosphere. The theme of the race was “roller coaster” of course, so a lot of the volunteers and organisers were dressed as clowns. There was even one guy, David, who ran the whole 43k in a clown costume. Wow!

I also loved the signs along the course. Here are two of them, posted in the Facebook group:




There was another sign at the beginning of a smaller ascent in the middle of the loop, stating: “This is only a small bonus hill for you!” I especially liked the one in the middle of the ascent at the end of the loop: “We’re actually really sorry for you at this moment!” :)

332 runners finished 1 loop, and 102 the full 43k. I finished as 35th (30th gender) in 5:09:18 h. I’m very satisfied with this result. This was my 10th ultramarathon so far.

A year ago I did not finish the Transgrancanaria 2012 on Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) and had to drop out after 43k in 6:00 h. Until I dropped out, I climbed 1500 metre in altitude. In the Roller Coaster Run, I climbed about 500 metre in altitude more, finished about an hour earlier, and I felt not nearly as miserable as after dropping out in Gran Canaria.

I’d say I’m in pretty good shape right now. Good precondition for The North Face 100 Australia in 2 month.

Thanks to my wife who supported me the whole time and especially took care of me after the race. Thanks to my mother-in-law who stayed up all night in Germany to check my running times on the internet and sent them over to my wife via text message, since my wife had very bad internet reception and couldn’t check on her own. Thanks to Bruce for giving us a lift to the race and also back in the afternoon. Thanks to the organisers and all the volunteers for making such a brilliant race happen. And thanks to all whose thoughts were with me during the race.

Have a look at these photos taken by my wife during the day:

[Update: three new “official” photos from the organisers.]