Fa, a Long Long Way to Run (about: 2012)|
K. F. from Fairfax, VA, USA (6/5/12)
3 previous marathons
| 1 Salzburg Marathon
Great small town atmosphere along a very scenic course. We visited Salzburg as tourists from the US, and used the race to get a good overview of everything that you'd see on an organized tour. The course passed through the Altstadt, through rural areas, a dense forrest, and suburban communities, with highlights every few miles to keep you going. The course takes you past most of the highlights from the Sound of Music tours, but does it in a very unique way.
The spectators along the course were very encouraging, but were only in the more urban areas. Much of the course was out in the countryside, leaving the runners largely on their own. Race volunteers were stationed very often, and gave great support.
The morning weather was perfect for a race, with the sun out, and the temperature being just cool enough. It started to rain about 10 minutes before I finished, then sleet, but it was close enough to the end that I was able to plow through it. Had it rained from the beginning, it would have been much more miserable.
The organization was very well done. Since it was a relatively small race, everybody waited around in the streets, and filled the corrals moments before it started. Pre-race announcements were mostly in German, but anything important was also in English. It was a very multi-national group of runners (over 50 countries represented).
Refreshment stations were a little spread out (about one every 5K), but it was manageable. There were a wide variety of food and drinks at each station, which was very nice to see.
There are 2 races that day: a Half and a Full. They use the same course, with the Full going around it twice. Between it being later in the race, already knowing the course, and a huge reduction in the number of runners (no more than 1/5 ran the full), the second lap is a real challenge.
About 1 mile after the cut-off point, you could see that everybody had the 'what did I get myself into?' thoughts. In a way, this helped grow the community spirit of the runners, and everybody was very encouraging. The first few miles of the course, before, after, and through Schloss Hellbrunn, were especially scenic, which helped with the mental fatigue. There was also a 4-part marathon relay, which helped keep some fresh runners in the mix, to help you push yourself.
Even with all the difficulty of the second lap, I still managed to PR by about 20 minutes; it is a VERY fast course and pack of runners. This race is one of the most difficult things I've ever done (especially in the middle of a long vacation), but it was completely worth it. It's a great way to see the city for the first time, or to see a familiar place in a new way!