SRAC on international ground with Austrian adventure

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After a very enjoyable trip at the Vienna marathon in 2012, SRAC’s ‘man on the ground’, Gerald Kalchauer persuaded the team back to Austria for his home town race; the Linz marathon!

The SRAC team brought together members from the island, Scottish mainland, and Germany as well as our host and organiser Gerald in Austria!

The race was an ideal time of year to train through the long winter months in preparation for a Spring marathon or half marathon! For those not fully fit and those looking to enjoy the camaraderie of SIRAC (Stornoway International Running & Athletics Club) they got to try the unusual quarter marathon distance at a new venue.

Four of the team did indeed run the quarter marathon (10.5K), the experienced Jim Bruce and Corina Rahmann both returning from injury were able to complete the race. While two other SIRACers at opposite ends of the competition scales also ran! Martina May made her debut in road running and did just fine to finish 76th in her age group.

At the front end of the race and in top form fresh from a stormer of a run in the Inverness half marathon Norman Ferguson really put in a fast effort. His 38mins 53 gave him a top twenty placing (17th) and he placed 6th in his age group. There was some fair banter post race with Norman and Jim, as Jim placed 8th in his category.

After the early start of the quarter marathon at 8.30am, the half marathon, marathon relay and marathon a field of approximately 30,000 got under way at 9.30am. Team SRAC had two runners in the full marathon and four in the half marathon.

Bom MacKay, Donnie (800) MacLeod and Ross Munro, set off together but having not got into a good starting position were severely slowed down by hundreds of slower runners.

The planned pace for the SRAC threesome was intended to be around 4mins 20 per kilometre. But at 2K the stopwatches read 11 plus minutes!

At 5K the bobbing and weaving through the masses lead to a much clearer road, though overtaking continued throughout most of the race.

At 15K, 6K from the finish the lads caught up with and passed the 1 hour 45 pace group. A long catch-up! Thereafter Ross broke away, but was very soon overtaken by Donnie as Bom fell back some.

In his second half marathon Donnie showed his class. After passing the 1hr 45 pace group, he finished in a new personal best time of 1hr 31 mins 56.

Ross P.B.’d in his category with 1 hr 33mins 35 and Bom also met his target time of 1 hr 35mins!

The fourth half marathoner was Gunter Fuchs. Gunter had entered the marathon, but injury prevented him doing that and instead he pace Ludger Schuren through the opening half of the marathon.

The pair reached half way in 1hr 45, Gunter feeling pretty good, Ludger thinking mmm … long way to go! Ahead of the pair and leading the way in the red and gold of SRAC was ‘home boy’ Gerald (the Prince of Linz).

As Gerald and Ludger passed the 26.2miles half way mark, the sun really ‘got his hat’ on.

Great for those of us now finished running and spectating. But the rising temperatures made running a marathon that wee bit harder for SRAC’S last two men standing, or at least running in the marathon.

By the time the team four half marathoners had time to take some food on board and rehydrated some, there was little time to retrieve clothing from the baggage holding area and back to the finish to cheer the boys over the marathon finishing line.

In Linz square in the thronging crowd the quarter marathoners were showered fresh and looking good. A fortuitous meeting as we’d forgot to arrange a rendezvous point.

No sooner than the quarter and half teams met it was time to cheer Gerald across the line. Certainly one of the most entertaining finishes you are likely to see as the Prince of Linz zigzagged to the finish to the rapture of the crowd in 3 hrs18 dead.

An overall placing of 161st and 32nd in his age category. Just over 20 minutes behind Ludger crossed the line in his own quiet way.

After all it was only a warm-up for the Hamburg marathon in a fortnight’s time! Will he run faster? Keep an eye on the SRAC FB page!

The SRAC team at this years Linz marathon’s can highly recommend the event as superb.

Organisationally, for atmosphere, a fast course and of course there will always be a Stornoway welcome from the Prince of Linz!

Next up for SRAC will be the MacLeod and MacLeod Pentland Road races this Friday and look out for Louise Henderson in the London marathon.

SRAC and friends will celebrate the 10th anniversary of meeting our European membership at the Munich marathon in October 2017. Fancy it?