So for the 12th successive year we came to this great event and this time accompanied by Rob and Michaela Eyley who both did the half-read their report separately.
It’s a hugely popular event with Hand bike marathon (where you lie down on your back on the horizontal bike), Inline marathon (on roller blades), wheel chair events, relay a marathon, kids’ events and the half. In all c 6000+ competitors took part and the organisation was fantastic throughout.
We arrived on Thursday and it was Bank Holiday in Germany but Duisburg was hosting the National Fish Food Festival where there were open air bars, stalls and food vans and huts all selling any sort of fish (cooked or pickled), beer, food and wine. All within a few minutes walk from our Mecure Hotel. This continued ‘till Sunday and was a fantastic event with thousands of people coming from far and wide.
Then we did our annual trips to the Gerhard Mercator Museum (Google him –he’s the inventor of navigation, maps, meridians, latitude and longitude etc), a boat trip up the Rhein and Ruhr, collected the race number at the fantastic Wedau Sports Park and Sports College (home to many world water sport events, athletics, soccer etc and Duisburg FC), to the world famous Duisburg Zoo (all in wooded areas) where we got free tickets included in the race pack, then on Sunday the race itself-just 15 mins by bus from the hotel. So a very full itinerary.
On Sunday all roads were completely shut off from traffic for the races (a situation completely accepted by the residents who see this day as a social, cultural, money making, domestic local and civic event) – just like some Coventrians on Cov half day when the Telegraph is full of letters from people moaning that they can’t get their 6 pack for lunch because the roads are closed!!!
The marathon goes through much of Germany’s massive industrial heartland with huge steel mills, heavy industry, dock and ports the likes of which you don’t see over here but all of this was around the confluence of the Rhein and Ruhr where much of the transport is by huge barges on these massive rivers making for fantastic views and non stop interest. And there were barges a plenty on view as they carried their industrial goods far and wide up and down the Rhein.
The weather was extremely hot but at least the course is possibly the flattest anywhere and there were Samba bands (and lady dancers) all around the course making for fantastic sounds and great views to add to the natural beauty of the rivers.
Drink stations seemed to pop up at every Km mark (or so it seemed) with food and a variety of drinks-even beer at one place-and of course all the locals cheering us on in their local sporting event.
Then finally the home turn into the stunning Duisburg Football Stadium (where Italy trained for the recent World Cup when held in Germany) to be shouted in by Robina, Michaela and Rob-many thanks all.
Dave Phillips 5hrs 27 mins.
Report by Dave Phillips.