The 42nd Monschau Marathon Walk 2018 was our first race a week after our summer vacation in Asia and Australia. Monschau is a very picturesque town in western Germany, just a little over two hours from where we live in Belgium. The running festival had several race categories: 52K ultra, marathon, relay marathon, marathon walk, and mini marathon. I signed up for the marathon walk as my recovery race from the four marathons and one ultra I did over the past five weeks. I also studied the altimetry of the race course and decided I did not want to run up those major hills!
Registration for the marathon run or walk varied from as low as 31€ if you registered before March 31st to 43€ until July 31st. The registration entitled you to a finisher’s certificate, medal, and T-shirt.
The marathon walk started at 6:00 AM in the morning of August 12, 2018. We decided to stay overnight at a hotel near the race start so I would not be so rushed so early in the morning. All the hotels in Monschau were already fully booked. Instead, we stayed in nearby Raeren at Hotel Restaurant Zum Onkel Jonathan, a three-star homely family-run accommodation. Free parking was available right in front of the hotel.
Dinner was at the hotel that night with vegetable soup and roasted chicken with frites. The restaurant was a local favorite. We had dinner at 6:00 PM and there were already people seated at two other tables, unusual in Europe where dinners start late at 8:00 PM.
I set the alarm for 4:00 AM on Sunday. We brought sandwiches with us that served as my breakfast the next morning. Richard ate the breakfast that came with the reservation later at 8:00 AM. We were on the road by 5:00 AM for the 20-minute drive to the bib pick-up and start line on Konrad Adenauer Straße.
People were already milling about. I picked up my bib and walked around the area. marathon walkers were scheduled to start at 6:00 AM with the ultra runners toeing off at 6:05 AM.
The program changed because the ultra runners started at 6:00 AM and we were released by twos after the organizers wrote down our numbers starting at 6:10 AM.
The walker category allowed us to do nordic walking or even run all or parts of the course. The organizers made up for the tough course with a generous time limit eight hours and thirty minutes.
The route was beautiful, picturesque, and peaceful.
We had access to the full service provided for the ultra runners and marathoners but did not have the pressure to run the whole race. Sweet! I can get used to this!
I stepped on the finish line in 6:58:43. They immediately gave me a rose and my finisher’s medal and waited just a few minutes for my official finisher certificate.
I had time for a quick shower at the primary school in Konzen next door before we drove home.