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Date : 17th October, 2019
Time : 58’ 18”
Number of runners (total to date) : 6 (6405)
Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 29 (5546)
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/4176259226
If you have any interest in sport, or just in extraordinary human achievements, you’ll be aware that Eliud Kipchoge recently became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. 1 h 59’40” to be exact.
And he did in Vienna (Wien) – more specifically on the Hauptallee in Vienna’s Prater park. And so where better for Run the World Austria to take place and give us runners a chance to measure ourselves against the great man?
Of course, he did have a few things going for him. Like groups of pacemakers running in front of him in an aerodynamically efficient formation. A flexible start time optimised for a combination of humidity, wind and temperature. A laser wielding car leading the way at exactly the required pace. The new Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes. And, of course, an abundance of god given talent and determination.
And what did we – the Vindobona Hash House Harriers and yours truly – have ? A certain amateurish enthusiasm, some fringe benefits from the reputed $40 million invested by INEOS in the route and the comradeship you get wherever there are a group of hashers.
Would this be enough to challenge Kipchoge’s achievement ? Possibly not – except for our secret weapon. We were only running 10 km versus the 42.2 km run by Eliud. Surely, given this advantage, we could beat his time?
We started at the Praterstern end of Hauptallee and could immediately see some of the results of the INEOS investment. There were lines on the road and, every so often, new tarmac which meant the running surface was smooth and flat throughout.
We ran through the Prater, the emperor’s old hunting grounds, as far as the Lusthaus – one of the two turning points on Kipchoge’s record setting course.
Now, it’s very hard to keep your speed up around a corner, especially when it’s quite a tight corner. So they’d built a cambered road around the Lusthaus to minimise loss of speed. Unfortunately this was closed to us so we had to run round it in the usual way, bleeding speed and time as we went.
Truthfully it probably didn’t make a huge difference as this was one of the various points where we paused to regroup…
We then set off back up the Hauptallee getting back to our start point having run close on 9 km. A little backtracking to regroup once more before running our last kilometre through the Wurstelprater amusement park
finishing with a plank in front of the legendary Riesenrad Ferris wheel*.
We did, in the end, beat Kipchoge’s time. But only by running less than a quarter of his distance….
I don’t know how you would beat his time over the full distance. He ran 42.2 km at an average speed of c 2 minutes 50 seconds per kilometre. If you can run one kilometre in 2 minutes 50 seconds then that’s already pretty impressive (I couldn’t and I dare say most people would struggle.) To run over 42 kilometres at that pace is simply incredible.
And so run 180 was done – just 26 to go. Not the 999 820 to go which would be the case if one of the more enthusiastic attendees at that afternoon’s school talk had been correct in guessing that there are a million countries in the world!
It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Mr Pink, Joystick, Pussy Galore, Prima Donna and Richard Kopf from the Vindobona Hash for the company, the donations and the Kasekreiner!
And to Maria Addie and all the staff and students at the American International School in Vienna – the talk was great fun!
I’d love to see you all in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!
If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11
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*For younger readers, it played a key part in the seminal film ‘The Third Man’