Rhein Ruhr Marathon, Duisburg, Germany – 5.6.16

Race report by Dave Phillips.

D PhillipsI said after last week’s Liverpool marathon that it rated as in the top 5 in the world. Well Duisburg is in the top 2 and that’s why I’ve done it for the last 13 years.

Situated on the confluence of 2 of Germany’s mightiest rivers the Rhein and Ruhr, the course meanders through what is also the heartland of industrial Germany-albeit a far cry from what it was in the last century.

However the magnificence of very flooded rivers plus the huge industrial sites (coal, steel, gas, chemicals, transport, warehousing, manufacturing of all sorts-you know what GB used to do) makes a spectacular course. Plus of course the endless sights of huge fully laden barges steaming up the rivers into the countless docks where huge cranes loaded or unloaded their goods, make this a one off event.

However if those of you who did L/Pool thought that was a “hot un”, then by 1000 hrs it was 25 degrees and around 30 degrees at the finish so a real toughie this was.

The start for the hand-bike, inline (roller blade), half, full, relay team full and kids’ events were in the huge Wedau Sports complex which, apart from being the centre for world water sports, is also the home of Duisburg FC and a major sports college where every conceivable sport takes place. So a truly fabulous setting.

The full started at 0930 and by 1000 hrs I was boiling as were most others. But as there were drink stations almost at every Km all was “OK ish” as most of the water was poured over our heads for the whole run. Every road was closed with barriers and well controlled by marshals and police (even the dual carriage ways were closed over the huge mile long bridge over the Rhein in one place) so that it was traffic free like you’ve never seen before. But the population love the event as it is to them a civic occasion that brings thousands into the area. Plus Germany (and Switzerland) are civilised places where shops are closed on Sundays and families stay at home for domestic pleasure (or run!). As such the road closures are no problem as the population doesn’t need to rush to Aldi/Lidl for its Sunday 6 pack and they readily accept everything. Just like the population in Cov for the Cov ½ half event-ha ha ha. So much so that many houses had erected water spray hoses to cool us down, put drinks out for us and buckets of water so that we could keep our sponges (part of the kit) wet. Plus huge applause from cafes and pubs that lined the route.

Also there were bands along the route (bit like Liverpool) to encourage and entertain us and the public. Eventually on a long stretch along-side the Rhein the half sign at 21k came into view and I was on 2.38 so I suspected a long 2nd half in the incredible windless heat. And it just got hotter with zero clouds. Hmm I thought-swim home as it was downstream?

Finally after an age the Wedau came back into view so half a mile to the finish in the fabulous Duisburg City Football Club (great 2nd division club) stadium. Bit like finishing in the Ricoh in reality. Huge screaming greeted me form Massey’s Michaela and Rob Eyley who had done the half, and Robina and our German friend Astrid who had also done the half. Astrid comes to the Cov ½ every year so she is well known to many at Masseys.

Then the fun started with as much free beer as you could drink, medal and T shirt, the usual food goodies, roses for the lady finishers and all these were for everyone in all events. Then to really top it all I found I had won the cup (2nd year running), and what a huge silver cup it was too, for coming 3rd in my age category. What more can a man ask for?

Back next year? Stupid question and it’s on June 11th we think. So check it out everyone and get involved.

Massey invades the Rhein Ruhr! Nice thought.

Massey times:

Half marathon:

Rob Eyley 3.08.

Michaela Eyley 3.08.

 Full marathon:

Dave Phillips 5.44.