The Karwendel March: The legend is alive
This year, blogger and guest author Manuel Kluibenschädl participated in the legendary Karwendel March. A great achievement and a unique experience one can be proud of. For us, he thinks back to this unforgettable day and takes us with him on the Karwendel March run:
52 km is not the distance of a nice bicycle tour around the Olympiaregion Seefeld and 2.281 m is not the climb to one of our gorgeous mountains – No, this is the distance of the Karwendel March run. This legendary run leads from Scharnitz to Pertisau at lake Achensee through the Karwendel mountain range. In this article, I will tell you why I participated and how I prepared myself for this event. Of course, backed with information about the route, personal impressions and how I felt!
My first participation: Karwendel March
This year was the first time I participated in the run, in 2016 I did the Karwendel March. I would describe myself as a “mountain person”, but I still had no idea what would expect me. At the end of August of 2016, I was a whole lot smarter. The impressions and emotions of the Karwendel mountain range and the March were sensational. This is why I only had one goal in 2017: I must participate again!
Challenge Karwendel March run: The preparation
Since I seek challenges, I decided to take part in the run. As every year, the tickets were sold old as quick as a flash, but I was lucky enough to get one. Now it was time to train. Here in the mountains, there are many trails that are simply great for trailrunning. Therefore, my motto for July and August was: “Run Forrest, ehm Manuel, run”!
Karwendel March: Start in Scharnitz
The 26th of August 2017, it was finally time: My alarm rang at 4 o’clock in the morning, but the nervousness made me wake up even earlier. I dressed quickly, ate breakfast and drove to Scharnitz. Thanks to the great organisation, I found a parking lot, got my starter’s number and sent my rucksack ahead in no time.
Almost 5.000 feet (meaning 2.500 participants) were excitedly waiting in the starting area, you could almost smell the adrenaline. It was an incredible feeling!
Perfectly on time and in Tyrolean tradition, the rod was fired at 6 o’clock. After 5 to 10 kilometres, the Karwendel began to present its full beauty: The first rays of sunshine lit up the mountains and the small trail in the woods turned into a marvellous path along green meadows, waterfalls and small mountain streams.
The route: It is getting more demanding
After around 15k, it gets more demanding for the first time: The climb to Karwendelhaus is the first challenge. One of the numerous refreshment stations are awaiting here – without them, one could probably never run such a distance. I enjoyed the landscape once more before descending to “kleiner Ahornboden” and Falkenhütte. Until shortly before Falkenhütte, the route is easy to run, but the last kilometres are very steep. Here, I had to switch from running to hiking.
Tip: Always take time to look back and enjoy the landscape:
Refill the batteries at the refreshment stations with delicious and organic products (you should definitely try the home-made muesli bars!) and continue the route through the dream-like mountain scene. The next goal is the “Eng”, where the participants of the 35km march have mastered their distance.
The route: It is getting even more demanding
The ascend to Binsalm (1.502m/ 38,37km) and to Gramai Hochleger (1.756m/ 41,52km) are awaiting. This last climb is a tough challenge for tired thighs. Having reached the top, my watched showed a distance of 42 km. This would have been a marathon – but the Karwendel March wouldn’t be such a legend if it didn’t cap it all off: Not less than 10 kilometres, passing Gramaialm (1.263m/44,5 km) and Falzturn Alm (1.098m/ 48,18km), are still ahead of me. The gorgeous weather and the stunning mountain panorama give me the strength for this last part.
Welcome to lake Achensee
The last 5km feel like ages, but the cheering crowd almost carried me over the finish line. After 6.25 h I had mastered one of the greatest challenges of this year. This was an incredible, but also painful feeling: My tired feet and legs slowly began to burn! But a cold beer in my right hand and the medal in the left, as well as the pride of having made it let me forget the pain.
All participants were well taken care of in Pertisau to refill the empty batteries. A fresh shower, cool beverages, delicious snacks at several stations, and even a nice massage were awaiting. The DJ also heated up the joyful atmosphere in the finish area. Before taking the bus home, I had to jump into the turquoise water of lake Achensee… A great refreshment and absolutely recommendable!
For me, it was an indescribable day full of emotions and pain, pride and a feeling of pure happiness. The gorgeous Karwendel valley, the cheering crowd, the nice volunteers and helpers and the unbelievable group dynamics made this event an unforgettable experience.
Thanks again to the organisation team and the volunteers for this great event.
Congrats to all participants – I’ll see you in 2018!
You might wonder why one would do something like that? To conquer one’s weaker self? To be better than others? To get motivation for a training? I would like to answer these questions with pictures: