2007-05-06

Vienna City Marathon

Last Sunday was the great Vienna City Marathon. Other than running the relay in the Baltimore Marathon twice, I had never participated in a marathon, or even seen one live. So, this year I wanted to do something different, like watch the start and finish, etc. I didn't. I stayed home and watched it on T.V. like last year (but last year I was just on vacation here). But, that way I got to see the competition the entire time, and not just for ten seconds like I would out on the course.

But, after the Kenyans took the first seven places for the men, a Russian woman took the race wire-to-wire with one male pacer the whole way, and Austria's marathon darling and former mid-distance star Susi Pumper "raced" the 42.195km P. Diddy style, with an entourage of no fewer than six men surrounding her at all times, I decided I needed a better view of the course and the event. This would be a bit of preparation for next year when I may, dare I say, participate. I'm a little afraid of a marathon, so I'm setting my sights low, about half as high, actually. The half sounds like a pleasant outing.

I ran the thirty minutes or so to approximately the 35km mark in the middle of the Prater, the large park on the east side of town that is a runner's favorite. I ran the rest of the course with those guys taking approximately twice as long as the winners and almost twice as long as I would hope to run when my day comes.

The course is great; I highly recommend it for the runner-tourist. It's not hilly, the logistics are great, and the city along the course is not only beautiful but also varied.

Speaking of runner-tourists, whats the deal with that? Why do some people travel far away only when there is a good marathon to run there? And conversely, why do some people for whom marathoning is an arduous ordeal ruin a perfectly good vacation by avoiding local food for the days before a race and then walking around like the extra cavalry in Take 30 of a John Wayne movie for the days following the race? Maybe running and pleasure (such as the kind I get from seeing new places) are two separate elements of my life. Do I like running? [Awkward silence.] Do I like winning races? Hell yeah!! What does everyone else find enjoyable about running, especially a 4:20 marathon in a foreign city when it's sure to cause you a fair bit of pain and limitation during your travels?

Although I didn't see these while I was running (I wasn't really looking for them), watching average marathoners makes me think of a wonderfully functional water bottle belt my roomies and I came across in college. It's called "Fuelbelt 5k". Surely most customers purchasing these for running purposes spend no longer than 35 minutes on a typical five kilometer course. I don't know about you, but I can usually go 35 minutes without water. If they have water on the course, that's a bonus. Does anybody have any statistics on the advantages of having your favorite fluid at your fingertips when compared to the extra weight of such a belt? Maybe I should think of these more like baseball fans' beer hats. You could do your own beer mile or Wild Turkey Trot with one of these belts. Hmmm.

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