Germany’s fifth largest city played host to the country’s oldest road marathon last weekend.
First held in 1981, the race has increased in popularity year on year with some 27000 signing up thus far, making it the second largest race in Germany. It boasts a varied course mixing modern skyscrapers and historic facades culminating in an atmospheric “Ironman” style finish down the red carpet inside the city’s concert venue the Festhalle.
The most likely draw however for so many of the participants is that it’s the 3rd fastest marathon course in the world… it’s flat… pancake flat.
Margaret Niland-Murphy took the trip over with partner Harry Vernon to make her marathon debut
“I’ve been thinking of doing a marathon for a while” she said “Harry’s sister lives in Frankfurt so we decided to visit her and run the marathon whilst we were there”
They were not the only ones to travel over to Hesse to utilise the flat course, Ladies Captain Jodie Wilmott also jumped in Gus the Bus with husband Pete to #runtheskyline (to coin their motto) there.
Race day and the conditions were good. Overcast and a bit chilly, perfect in fact.
“On the startline I felt really ready for the challenge” said Margaret “I was excited to spend my first marathon experience with Harry. Wearing my club vest with pride, I couldn’t wait to get the race underway”
Jodie was also raring to go after stringently training hard all year.
Starting on Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage next to the iconic Messeturm, the huge field ran a circuit of the Taunusanlage before wiggling their way through the city streets in almost a figure of eight pattern. This took them to Altstadt and across the River Main via Alt Brücke.
“I felt strong” said Margaret “the first few miles past really quickly”
“The crowds were great” said Harry “they were cheering and ringing cowbells”
On the south bank now, the crowds were more sparse through the suburban Sachsenhausen, but there were lots of bands dotting along the way to give the runners a boost with their pumping bass, samba drums and African beats. All three keeping good pace and going according to plan.
By mile 12 Margaret’s knee started to hurt, so she decided to slow slightly and let Harry go ahead as he was feeling good, whilst she swapped to the other side of the road to balance the camber. Her plan worked and her pain eased enough to keep her moving.
Jodie however was going great guns. Her pacing sitting as perfectly even throughout as the elevation. She and Mags & Harry re-crossed the River back onto the Northside and into the business end of the race.
Harry unfortunately paid for his injection of pace in the middle section of the race. The girls paced it more evenly however as Jodie continued to rocket her way through Griesham and Gallus before revisiting the winding streets through the city past the Alter Oper and through the Platz dear Republik. Finally the end was in sight as she entered the Festhalle to take her turn to run down the red carpet and under the finishing arch. She finished in a massive 23 minute PB of 3.16.35
“That’s a brilliant end to a shedload of training” she says on Facebook “I have sore toes”
Harry managed to achieve his goal of running under 4 hours to finish in 3.56.56
“The 3.59 pacemaker caught up with me at mile 25. There was no way I was letting him pass me, I had to summon everything I had left”
Margaret maintained her nerve to keep pushing in the final stages. When running a marathon for the first time, nothing can really prepare you for just how hard those last couple of miles can be. But she gave all she had to pick up her pace as much as she could.
“Those last 2 miles were HARD!” she exclaims
But the digging deep paid off as she finished in 4.12.52 and a fantastic 4th in her age category.
“I did it!!!!!”””
Good day at the German office team IWRR