|Date:||20th Sep 2009|
This half marathon is in Austria from the village of Spitz to Krems. It's very crowded in Spitz, there being about 3500 runners for the half marathon. As it's alongside the River Danube for the whole distance, the course is flat but it feels long. Because the Danube doesn't twist much, the route has long straights. There are crowds alongside the route as we run through the villages of Woesendorf, Weissenkirchen, Duernstein, Unterloiben, Oberloiben and Stein before reaching lots of support through the streets of Krems. On the same morning, there is also a full marathon and a quarter marathon which also start in other villages on the Danube.
The first seven finishers in the Half Marathon were from Kenya and Ethopia. The first woman was 10th. Although I should have done a better time, I came 17th out of 41 finishers in my age category.
The races are very well organised with lots of details truely thought out. There is a free early morning train service from Vienna and a free bus shuttle from car parks in Krems to the railway station where there is free transport (bus, train, ship) to the starts of the three main races. The race is chip-timed from start to finish. And after the race, the competitors pass through a large funnel containing water, isotonic drinks, bananas, energy bars, apples, cakes. There is then a park where you can meet your friends and buy lunch (such as bratwurst) and beer/coffee.
If you include this race as part of a holiday, the area is good for vineyards, cycling and walking. In particular, the flat cycle paths alongside both sides of the Danube between Krems and Melk are very popular. There are also numerous footpaths between Krems and Melk that take you through vineyards and into the pine forests on the hills that are set back from the Danube.