Tag Archives: Durlach

My 2015 race/event awards

27 Dec
This year has been hectic. I’ve taken part in a wider range of events than in any previous year. I’ve completed single and multisport events and gone further and faster than previously. I even won a race! Without further ado, here are my 2015 race awards… drum roll, please…
Most Scenic Course
The runner-up in this category is Heartbreak Tailwind 10. It is a picturesque course held in the New Forest.

The winner in this category is the Grand Shaftesbury Tri/Run weekend. St Giles House at Wimborne St Giles is the family home of the Shaftesburys and it made a stunning backdrop for these events:



Most Challenging Course

The runner-up in this category was Winchester Duathlon. I had assumed that it was going to be on the same course as previous years, which was very flat, but instead it took place on what felt like a mountain :-S

The winner of the most challenging course category is Brutal 10 Enduro. A single lap of this course wasn’t too bad, but running 50km on it at night-time wasn’t easy.
Tamsyn at Brutal 10
Winning pairs
Best Expo
This has to go to London marathon, which consistently has a good expo. It was also easy to choose this one, as no other event that I went to had a decent expo.
IMG_5484 IMG_5491
I enjoyed watching Martin Yelling’s presentation on marathon running and also the interviews with elite runners.
Best Post-Race Food/Beverages
This is another hard category to judge. I enjoyed taking part in my Tri Club’s “Tim Wilks Day”, which is a timed swim, bike and run, followed by a delicious pub lunch, but it’s not really what is meant by post-race food, so I’m going to award this to Gridiron 100, which is a low-key randonnee that I took part in. Bacon sandwiches were available before the start of the event and then there were copious platters of biscuits and other snacks along the way, followed by some more food at the finish.
Best Swag
I’ve not received a lot of goodies at races this year, so I’m going to award this to Durlach Turmberglauf. At the end of this 10k, I received a glass with the race logo and as much water as I could drink. Given that the event only cost €6, I can’t complain about that!
Most Unique Medal
This has to go to Ironman Dublin 70.3:
Ironman Dublin 70.3 medal
This is a heavy medal with a beautifully decorated ribbon.
Favourite Race Shirt (tech tee or reg)
The runner up in this category is Salisbury 10 mile. Runners were presented with blue technical t-shirts at the end of this race – I’ve worn mine quite a few times:
Salisbury tshirt
The winner in this category is Thunder Run. The main sponsor is adidas, so of course, the technical t-shirt is a lovely adidas shirt:
TR24 tshirt

Best Course Support (aid stations, volunteers, people cheering you on, etc

For me there was no competition for this – it has to be Southampton Half Marathon. Various groups were challenged to be ‘mile makers’, which guaranteed crowds all of the way around the course. I saw many friends from Southampton Tri Club, SUTRI, Lordshill Road Runners and parkrun as well as work colleagues from University of Southampton. Although I went into this race with low expectations (of myself), the support of the crowd meant that I finished in a time that I was really proud of.

Event You Are Most Proud of Yourself for Completing
This has to be Scilly Swim Challenge. At the start of this year, I’d never swum more than 2km… and that wasn’t continuous, so this was a massive challenge for me. I may have had to be rescued for some of it, but completing the training and getting to the start line was an accomplishment in itself. It also meant that I took part in a variety of swimming events throughout the year. The event itself was really well organised and great fun – it’s already too late for you to sign up for 2016, but please do add it to your planning for 2017!
End of Scilly Swim with Bryony
Favourite Overall Event
The runner-up for my favourite overall event is St Michael’s Mount swim. It was a really fun evening and it gave me so much confidence.
tams SMM swim2
Overall, my favourite event was ABP Southampton Half Marathon. The crowd support was great as were the technical t-shirt and the medal. This is an event that will go from strength to strength, so I’m definitely going to do it again in 2016.
pub with Teri
Which events that you took part in this year would you give prizes to? What should I add to my bucket list?


Durlach Turmberglauf

7 Oct

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Germany for an education conference. I was really excited as I love Germany. I had private lessons for two years when I did my German A-level (because no-one else wanted to study the subject at my school) and also attended extra evening classes and conversation classes. Then I chose to do a German module when I was at university.

I have to admit a downside of visiting Germany is that it’s not always easy to find vegetarian food, but I am completely addicted to brezel!

Brezel with chives

I managed to buy a brezel with chives on my trip from Stuttgart to Karlsruhe!

I much prefer the breakfasts in Germany to a ‘full English’. Most days I had some fruit, some yoghurt and some brezel – yummy!


Fig, melon, pineapple and mohnstrudel (sweet bread with poppyseeds).


Bread roll with cheese selection.


Brezel and cheese

The food at the conference was delicious – a selection of fresh fruit, open sandwiches, yoghurts and quark was available at every break time.



Fortunately, it wasn’t all eating and studying. I also got to see a little bit of the city when I was walking to and from the conference venue. I particularly liked this block of flats with its intricate mosaic.


Before going to the conference, I happened to notice did a bit of research and found that a 10k race would be held in nearby Durlach on Saturday afternoon. It was reasonably priced at €10, so I thought I might as well enter. However, I had failed to take note of the date: October 3rd. This probably doesn’t mean much to many of you, but if I were to start whistling ‘Winds of Change’ by The Scorpions then it might remind some of you of Germany’s recent history. October 3rd is Reunification Day, so it’s a Public Holiday in Germany, which means that only bakeries are open and public transport is limited. To compound this, it’s the 25th anniversary, so when I got on a tram at 10:15am, it was already packed with women in dirndls and men wearing lederhosen, swigging away on bottles of beer.


A couple in traditional dress


A group of young men waiting for the tram

Trachten (traditional German clothing) has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there were displays in many shop windows.



Anyway, I carefully read through the race details: “Der Turmberglauf ist ein flacher, schneller Lauf durch die Durlacher Altstadt”… it seems that fast and flat are keywords that all Race Directors like to include in their race info, no matter where they are held. However, I was uncertain whether it would be true as Turmberg translates as tower hill.

The race wasn’t due to start until 4pm, so I spent the morning going on the funicular railway up the mountain and then climbing many spiral steps in the tower. I’m sure it’s great as strength training, but probably not ideal on race day. Then again, as a hideous Tuesday night track session has been my only run for two months, I figured any training would be better than none.IMG_6471


The view of Durlach from the top of the funicular railway.



I’m terrible at taking selfies, but I took a couple to capture me with the beautiful view from the top of the tower.

IMG_6477 IMG_6479

After I’d looked around the tower, I walked back into town and wandered around for a little bit before going to register. It was a simple process, so it didn’t take long.

At 2pm the children’s races started. It was fantastic to see hundreds of children taking part in single year groups from 5-12. I didn’t see any scarily competitive parents and many of the children were wearing incredibly odd outfits for running (such as dresses and tights or jeans and hoodies). There were a few tears, but everyone finished their races to cheers from the crowd.

At 3:30pm, it was time to pin on my number, and head to the start. It was 25C and even in the shade I had been feeling the heat. I decided to buy a glass of water in the registration hall, but only sparkling water was available, which wasn’t really what I wanted.

The event is a well-supported community race, with a competitive element between the local schools. There was also an option to be weighed at registration as part of a special competition, where people’s time could be divided by their weight with the best score winning. Although I’m carrying a few more kilos than I should, the immense height of many of the other competitors meant that I was fairly confident that they weighed a lot more than me (as well as looking faster).

Interestingly, the only rule for entry into the ‘Volkslauf’ is that the participants are fit and healthy. Scanning the entry list, I saw that there were children as young as 8 who had entered, as well as being a lady in her 80s and a gent in his late 70s. During the race, I saw many young children running with their parents.

The race started promptly at 4pm, however, it wasn’t chip-timed and there was a huge crowd at the start, so I didn’t start my garmin until I crossed the line. The first section was in the old town, which features uneven cobbles as well as lattices of tram rails going in all directions. It then headed along the river, which almost had a breeze, but as the entire race was in full sunlight, it didn’t help much. I think my clothing made me stick out – aside from very young teenagers, I seemed to be the only female in shorts with most of the others wearing full tights. Lycra shorts and compression tshirts (or thick hoodies and tracksuit trousers) were the preferred options for male runners.

Fortunately, it was with the only incline being a lengthy spiral taking us up onto a bridge that crossed the motorway.

There were huge crowds out on much of the course which was nice, but I could feel the heat emanating from them. I hoped that there would be a water station at 5km, but there wasn’t one. At about 6.5km, there was a family with some cups of water on a table in front of their house. I was so grateful!

By 8km, my total lack of training was starting to show as my quads started to seize up. From 400m, I could see the finish arch, so I foolishly decided to go for a heroic sprint. Unfortunately, a group of teenage lads also decided to try to sprint, which brought out my most competitive side. I managed to beat the lads to the line and stopped my watch: 56:08. Horribly slow and I dare say my official time will be even worse as we had to queue in a finish funnel (similar to parkrun) and have the barcode on our race number scanned. Apparently our time will be whatever time we got to the scanner.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 22.40.26Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 22.40.40

There were 9 women in my age category:

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 22.18.23

My official time was 56:20, which is the slowest 10k that I’ve run for many years! (Overall, I was 361/580. 180 of the entrants were female).

As a cheap race, there wasn’t a medal (which is fine by me), but we were each given a commemorative glass and as many free refills of (still) water as we wanted – fantastic! I went back to the registration hall and treated myself to some Black Forest gateau. It was a nice end to a fun race.