Great - but not for the novice (about: 2008)|
A. G. from The Hague, NL (8/12/08)
50+ previous marathons
| 1 Monschau Marathon
Ran this for the first time in 2008. More fun (but more difficult) than I had expected when read about the event online.
Beautiful area with charming villages, forests and hills (many of them) that you encounter during the run. Well organized, and there's great support by the local villagers and an enjoyable course.
There are several climbs in the course, not just the 3 or 4 that the route map "warns" you about. The majority of the course is undulating and - I would reckon - about two-thirds is off-road. Very well manned with water and refreshments every 4K or so.
Main warning would be the duration of the climbs at 12K and 32K. They both must go on for over 2K, with a fairly challenging gradient. At several other points (including 41K!) there are sharp inclines.
There are a large proportion of relay runners in the 1,000 or so runners in the field, and there is also an alpine walkers' competition that starts earlier but that you encounter in the latter half of the race. I had an odd experience: I was horrified to be passed by two (not just one) pacers with 3:59 guidance, and I estimate that they finished 3-4 minutes ahead of me, and yet I clocked a tired 3:55. Must be running on Rhine time. Most odd.
Very basic medal and t-shirt are offered, but this reflects a great entry price of just 23 euros. Being Germany, there are gallons of beer, bratwurst and fries for sale at the end of the event. Nice spirit too, with a local "oompah" band and villagers gathering in the beer tent.
Definitely worth considering as a different experience, but don't try it as your first - some of the climbs could put you off forever. Oh... and don't trust the pacers, or at least those wearing 3:59.