Out here in the scenic countryside in the vicinity of Sibbesse, a small village near Hildesheim and some 50 Km south of Hannover, the first male and the first female runner achieved new course records. It took Giselher Schneider 18:48 hours to complete 100 miles on the tough course, which is breathtakingly brilliant and going to be unbeaten for a long time. Simone Stegmaier set a new ladies’ record in 28:17 hours.
A record number of brave runners started and a record number of participants finished the STUNT. Both the dedicated runners and the helpful staff members made the weekend an unforgettable experience.
Although the race started in torrential rain 22 runners and 2 huskies were eager to take on the challenge of 100 miles on grassy trails and gravel roads through deep woods and wide valleys in the beautiful countryside. After 2 hours into the race, heaven was gracious and the rain stopped. Moderate temperatures in the low 70s (day) and low 60s (night), and a partly cloudy sky made it easier for everyone to cope with the efforts. When the rain came back on Sunday morning to test the resilience of the runners none did overly complain, even though some may have muttered a few curses.
As an unfamiliar sight on ultra-running courses larger groups of runners huddled together for the first 30-40 km. It was maybe due to the bad weather that they tried to give themselves a little more encouragement. But the competition and the course took its toll and the groups split up progressively. For the rest of the race most of the runners had to deal on their own with both the challenges of nature and their inner demos.
Running well ahead of the pack from the early moments the experienced Giselher Schneider was steadily increasing his advance. He performed ultra running at its best; by running with consistent and sustainable pace for the whole race, pausing only for a minute or two at each aid station, he set the basis for the new record. His positive spirit remained unshaken even when he had to deal with some sort of crisis in the early evening hours. Having overcome that he stayed focused and navigated safely on the unfamiliar course during the night hours and apparently effortlessly he took on the last long climbs. He did great and finished in 18:48 hrs, which is more than 3 hours faster than the old record. What a stunt! Who dares to beat that record?
Simone Stegmaier of Berlin, the new female record holder, delighted everyone with her strong Berlin accent, her contagious wit, and great sense of humor.
It was everyone’s cheerful spirit that astonished staff members and spectators alike. Despite heavy rain, slippery trails thickly traversed by roots, densely overgrown paths, and ruts filled with water every participant seemed nonetheless to be all smile. Of course, sometimes their humor may have been a little sarcastically toned, especially when one of the English-speaking runners called a steep rutted climb “devil-made”. But even when their muscles got sore and unavoidable blisters occurred most of the folks looked on the bright side and strived forward with great persistence. Quite astonishingly, not even the runners who dropped out were really disappointed; they said they had enjoyed a beautiful run and were eager to give it another try next year.
So let’s hope for another scenic run in July 2008. We’ll keep you posted on that.