Wings for Life world run Munich – Gary Lee

Eating drinking and trying to out run a car.

An idea grew from a conversation about a fun race that me and Annette did a few years ago into the plan of a Harriers long weekend away in Munich. Those at the AGM may remember prosecco shots being passed around in a candle stick holder and being told about a race where a car chases you. Turns out some of you liked the idea. Some liked it so much they entered twice. (Annette)

After a few months we had a total of 12 people up for a long weekend away. Not sure what they were more interested in, the run or the beer? This became apparent after the race on Sunday


Day 1 Getting to Munich and day drinking

The day started early (3:15am) but after early night and a large morning cup of tea I was almost ready for the long day ahead. Once at the airport our first stop was Weatherspoon’s for a traditional beer before going away. This is something I have always done for as long as I can remember. Me Annette and Holly are soon joined by James & Alix followed by Rachel, Bill and Heather soon after.

The flight to Munich felt very short and we were soon in Munich. After dumping our bags at the hotel, I suggested this place I knew that had a massive beer garden but also had lots of deer next to it. It was raining so the only warm/dry option was inside. As you probably guessed, yes we had a few more beers and some food.

We later moved on and finally ended up in Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus where the glasses got bigger and beer poured faster. If we were going to make Parkrun in the morning, we had to stop drinking soon so headed back to the hotel. I am still impressed we started at 5:15 am and carried on drinking till late that night.


Day 2 Parkrun, race numbers and crazy golf

The morning was a bit touch and go or should I say touch and throw but luckily, I was ok (ish) after breakfast and fresh air, I went to meet some of the others outside our weekend meeting spot which was local to our hotels. This is the first time we had seen Claire and Ian who flew out late after work and Tanya after her 8 hour train Journey.

Joined by James and Alix we went on a short run to the start location of Munich’s new Westpark Parkrun. Bill and Heather were already there, and we were joined just before the race by Nikki and her friend that she was staying with. a few people missing you may have noticed but I only found out after the run what happened.

Westpark’s parkrun is a beautiful 2 lap run around a lake in the middle of a park. I started way to quickly again and was soon passed by James who disappeared into the distance. The first part was mostly flat or downhill towards the lake and then the length of the lake and up a few small hills towards the end of the first lap, This is when I saw Holly supporting and realised the others had made it but missed the start, Turns out they got the train in the wrong direction and had to get an Uber, driven by a slightly crazy woman called Anetta. I was the second Harrier in after James and 1 place behind me was Tanya who got herself a top 5 female spot. Everyone really enjoyed it including Heather who walked the 5k in a nice speedy time.

After freshening up we headed to the Olympic park to pick up our race packs. And the freebies were plentiful, T-shirt, Buff, Resistance band, Pasta, Redbull, alcohol free beer and a pack of very hard to remove temporary tattoo’s.

After yesterdays parkrun Heather was interested in joining us in the race and as Holly cannot run (at the moment) they decided to walk it together. The problem was Heather had not entered, luckily someone had entered twice….

I suggested a round of crazy golf as our next activity as it’s something I may have a chance of winning. After a fun and wet/windy game of golf we headed back to our hotels.

Later that day we had a few drinks at an underground beer hall and went to a nice Italian for dinner. We have never seen a French waiter at a Italian restaurant in Germany before and I think he struggled with our English accents.


Day 3 The race and celebrations

Let me start but telling you how this race works.

It’s a worldwide run where everybody starts simultaneously and the finish line chases you!
Here’s how it works: On one day each year, the Wings for Life World Run takes place at event locations across the planet. Everybody starts at exactly the same moment, 11am UTC. Whether it’s day or night, bright sun or pouring rain at your location – you’re running together with the world and sharing an amazing experience. Your name shows up on a global result list, too!

The Wings for Life World Run is perfect for everyone, of every ability, because you set your own goals and you don’t head toward a distant finish line. Instead, the finish line catches up with you. A half hour after the race starts, a moving finish line, the “Catcher Car,” chases runners along the course, gradually getting faster until each one is caught. The first runners passed after a few kilometers are the first to celebrate their accomplishments, while the last man and woman to be caught are declared Global Champions. (92.14 km is the current record!)

That’s the basics of it which I copied and pasted from their website.

Our start time in Munich is 1pm so no early starts for us. After bag drops, we got into our pens ready, as it started to lightly rain. We looked around to see that everyone else was wearing multiple layers, Jackets, and a lot more clothing than us. I am just there in shorts and my Harriers t-shirt. Feeling a bit cold I knew I would soon warm up when I start running.

The start guns were fired by men in traditional bavarian clothing, we were in the second wave but not to far from the start line. I found it difficult to pass runners for the first few KM because on the narrow parts with barriers. There were other runners jumping over the barriers to get ahead but soon had to jump back over when the course went over the bridge, as they re-joined the course there were jumping into other runners and in peoples way. Soon the metal barriers turned into tape so this this where I decided to duck under and try to get ahead (no short cuts were taken)

Close to leaving the Olympic park I heard some very odd music being played and then spotted one man down on his knees proposing, its ok to do this at the end of a race but not when other people are trying to run around you. (eye roll).

We were soon on big closed roads where I could settle into a nice pace. Still running scared as I knew the car had already started and will slowly be chasing me down, this may of helped to run a pace I have not run for a long time. Big roads turned into beautiful country roads and I was somehow still feeling strong. About 15k in I realized that if I keep this pace it will be a new half marathon PB.

At 21k I had done it a new PB by 3 mins and now the furthest I had run on this type of race, (this is my 4th time). Now I had reached my target distance I slowed down, other runners and the 30k pacer I passed earlier overtook but I kept going.
I was now at 25k and feeling a little tired and ready to be caught. Soon after 26k the motor bikes passed warning runners to stay on the right, Now I knew the catcher car was close. More bikes passed saying the catcher car was coming. I looked around but could not see it.

Can I make it to 27k, Maybe? Suddenly everyone pace increased, I see the 27k marker and speed up. I turn around and see the catcher car at the corner. I try to run faster but soon passed by the car. That was it for me my race had finished, the finish line had caught me. What an amazing experience.

The harriers all met back at the Olympic stadium under the H sign. After waiting for everyone to return on the buses and collecting our medals we watched the rest of the race on the big screen. Cold and tired we head back into the city center. It was time to celebrate so found a nice local restaurant. This is where the beer drinking started. we ended with 5 survivors at closing time still in the Hofbrauhaus. A good night and lots of fun.

I would recommend this race to anyone that could run, walk or crawl.

Massive thank you to Annette, Holly, Rachel, James, Alix, Tanya, Bill, Heather, Claire, Ian and Nikki for making it awesome weekend. Looking forward to Croatia next year.

Posted in Runners Blogs.