The Autumn trip 2013 to Munich saw the largest number of Village Roadrunners on tour, with 39 travelling to Germany. On offer was the opportunity to finish running inside the Olympic stadium, as the city hosted the summer games in 1972. Our runners raced three different distances – some opting for the 10k, others for the half marathon and a significant number the full marathon. Again, Gary J. had picked a tour that allowed people to travel a few days prior to the race or the day before, so those that travelled earlier had a chance to sample the many tourist delights of the city. Sadly, the beer festival had finished the week before! However there was the opportunity to sample the local delicacy of white sausage in the meat market!!!
Most of us stayed together in a hotel just outside the centre of the city, and everyone visited the large expo either on the Friday or the Saturday, experiencing quite a hike to get to it once the site had been reached! Some availed themselves of the generous pasta on offer there, but it was a challenge to find somewhere to have the traditional pasta party of our own the night before the race, due to the large number of us! However, the secret weapon in our midst was Tony, who summoned up his German speaking skills and booked us tables at a very nice Italian restaurant, where everyone, no matter where they were staying, met up for a meal.
Race day dawned, and even those who had experienced checking in difficulties – finding themselves sharing not just a room, but a bed! – were ready. Those running the full marathon set off to the start, and unusually, the half marathon course began half way along the same route, so those who had opted for it travelled a little later. The public transport system allowed easy travel but of course runners were pouring out of every train! Those who were supporting found it possible to cheer at various places along the route with the minimum of travelling themselves, and once at the stadium, there was ample seating to cheer everyone in, although it was a little confusing to see marathon, half marathon 10k and relay marathon all finishing at the same pint! It was a little easier to see who had run the further though by the look on their faces! The race was not without drama, as Julie-Ann picked up an early injury, but with the generous and selfless support of Dr. Joe, who stayed with her all the way round, offering mental and physical support, they finished together.
The night out that followed saw a crowd of us celebrating Gail Goodall’s birthday in the large bierkellar with a personal performance from the resident oompah band! Dancing on the table may have been involved by the birthday girl! Of course, there were many other runners from different countries out celebrating too, and it was a good way to end of an eventful day.
The following day saw people availing themselves of the chance to visit more of the city and it’s surroundings. One group visited Dachau concentration camp, meeting up by chance with others who had the same idea. Yet others strolled round the city centre to admire the variety of architecture whilst others still appreciated the lovely parks and gardens, or went shopping for family presents. As most of the group were traveling home, albeit at different times on different flights, it was time to leave this magnificent city with the knowledge that the biggest number of Village Roadrunners on tour had experienced another great trip. Thanks again to Gary for his choice of venue, and the hard work put in to arrange it.