After her half marathon in Oslo, Hannah wanted to continue doing a race every month, and at best 15K runs so she can keep up her distance stimina in order to do another half marathon in 2020. Using the website www.myraceland.com, which I can recommend, particularly if you pay the 6 euros per year to get a premium account which gives you access to even more races, I was able to find three 15K races in and around Berlin in the last two weeks of October: the first was Neuruppin, which was about an hours drive from here, the second was the Eichwalder Herbstlauf near Airport Schöneberg but which seemed to be a very hard core race for Verein profis and only had a few people, under 20, doing the 15K last year, and then there was the 15K in the Hermsdorf forest also put on by a Verein, but seemed to have a lot more runners in it, so we chose it.
It almost took an hour to get to the race via the S-Bahn and the 1K walk to the track where it started. We picked up our numbers and asked where the bag deposit was but they said they didn't have one. We soon realized that everyone was just putting their bags against the wall, since, it was apparently a high-trust group, most people seemed to know each other, even though by the time we gathered for the start, there were a couple hundred people ready to run.
The start was on the track, and the route was a 3.85 kilometer trail into the forest up and down hills and then back. There were races for 1, 2, 3, and 4 laps, the 4-lap race was the one we did which added up to 15.4 kilometers. The first lap we were with a crowd of people and dug into the 2-3 mega hills with everyone, despite the hills, really fun running trails through the forest. By the second lap, the fastest 15.4 runners were lapping us, and by the third and fourth laps we often found ourselves completely alone in the woods running the long, empty trails all by ourselves, quite fun actually, but luckily well-marked with red dot signs on trees, since otherwise we were completely disoriented in the forest. But the run was full of fresh air and lots of trees, a very healthy nature run.
Hannah powered up the hills, even the mega hill at 2.5 kilometers which seemed to be about 40 meters at a 45° angle, and each of these hills we faced four times, once on each lap. The time limit of the course was 2.5 hours, our time being quite constant, staying under a two-hour pace for the first three laps: 27:00, 58:40, and 01:29:48, and then finishing with a 02:02:55, being the absolutely last runners on the course. The refreshment stand was already packed up by the time we finished, so a nice women gave us two waters from the concession stand where they sold food, and she gave us two medals for being first-time runners of the race. By the time we got our bags and were leaving, there were only about 10 people left on the track, everyone else had gone home.
But the race was very refreshing and enjoyable. Even though it was four rounds on the same route, it didn't get tedious at all, probably because you never really knew where you were in the forest anyway, and the air was so cool and the forest full of the wonderful smell of pine.
Next month we will probably do the Tropical Island 15K, after which you get to swim among the palm trees in the middle of Brandenburg, so we are looking forward to that.