When we planned the trip to my parents, we found out about the Siebengebirgsmarathon. We got thrilled, as there are very few events in winter-time in Germany we know about. It was close to my parents’ home and with 650m climb and drop through the forest it seemed like a nice and tough alternative to the street marathons we are used to run. So we signed up. Unfortunately the tough week before, and a flu on top was too much for Annika. She couldn’t start. I hadn’t gotten the flu up to then and I had to bring the car to Cologne airport, which was close to the run, so I decided to run alone. And I was looking enviously at the other running couples.

Being there more than an hour before the run started made it easy to pick up the start number and to have a coffee with something small to eat. The atmosphere was great. The event was not too big. A lot of nice people and almost everybody smiling, despite of 2°C and fog. When I picked up the number I was told that the start was around 500m from the place we were, and that we would go there together 20 minutes before the start. So we did, and the fun began.

We quickly entered the forest from the asphalt road. From then on, we wouldn’t see a street until the very end. Most of the track was in the beautiful forest there. The course was challenging, as expected. But the climbs weren’t too hard. The paths not too muddy. It was really enjoyable. Every 5km there were drinking stations with various drinks and later snacks as well. Everything was perfectly organised. Knowing about the ups and downs I started quite slowly. I didn’t check the time, but crossed 21 km at around 2 hours. I was expecting a time over 4 hours, which is usually the minimum I want to achieve, no matter the track, no matter the conditions, no matter my condition. Of course, it’s stupid, doesn’t make sense. But it is like that. Anyway, after 28-30km I still felt ok and could push a little more. Finally, I ran the last 10k in 48 minutes and finished in 3:48.

To conclude, it was a perfectly arranged marathon with a lot of really nice and open people who were easy to talk to. The course was challenging but not too hard. I had a lot of fun, even though - which was the sad part - Annika wasn’t able to join. If possible I’d do it again next year, hopefully with her. Anybody who’s undecided and reads this before signing up: Just do it! ;)