36th Rhein- Ruhr Marathon, Duisburg, Germany
Well as usual this was a spectacular event for my 15th running of it. The day started at 0800 hrs at huge international multi sports arena that is also host to Duisburg’s top flight football club and world championship water sports events plus most other sports you can think of. The HQ was actually at the football stadium so what better HQ?
The events started with the Handbiker marathon ( those horizontal 3 or 4 wheeled “bikes” where the riders lie down on them and are horizontal with the ground). Then the Inline marathon (on roller skate/blade type things) then the kids’ event. Then the full marathon at 0830 for 500 of us, then the teams of 6 relay marathon followed and finally at 1000 hrs with the half marathon that had a couple of thousand in it.
As always all roads were closed on what is regarded by the locals as a huge civic event bringing many people to the area so garden parties a plenty “en route” and no moaning. Plus all shops are closed on Sundays over here. Reminds me of the Cov half where closed roads cause huge problems with shoppers who can’t get their 6 packs and moan all day about it!
The course is all around the confluence of Germany’s biggest river the Rhein and the Ruhr where they join at Duisburg. This area is of course Germany’s industrial heartland but mix this with the beauty of the 2 rivers that you criss-cross and run along then there is no other marathon that compares with it. Also it must be the flattest anywhere.
Also the Rhein has those massive industrial barges that are constantly in view and what spectacular things these are. Huge by any standards and most have living accommodation on them for the owners plus their cars. Worth going there just to see these. Tried to thumb a lift but failed!
Also there were about 12 bands round the course many of them drum bands urging us for ever onwards.
But what a hot day it was and on the 2nd half it was a struggle.
At around 20 miles the 5.30 hrs “flag man” and a few runners caught me up and I stayed with them but we all slowed and finally got to the stadium in a bunch so job done. Then the final circuit of the football pitch and another one was done.
With only 500 in the full 2 things happen. Most are in front of me these days BUT there are fewer in my age category and for the 4th successive year I won 2nd place in my age category and another huge silver cup on an engraved marble base. Add this to the medal, T Shirt, as much free beer as you could drink afterwards in the stadium then what else could anyone want (despite coming officially last I’ve just found out)?
Thanks to Rob and Michaela Eyley who did the half and Robina for welcoming me home with the 5.30 hr sweeper (albeit a bit late!).
So 5 to go for the 500-getting tougher mind you.
David Phillips 6hrs 4 mins.