Austrian Cross Country Championships
Last Sunday, I took part in Austria's cross country Championships on the long distance (9,96km). The course was placed in Vienna's recreation Park "Prater", passing our flat only by about 50 meters :) So, Patrizia and me just had to get out of the door, and voila, we were on the course.
In our category we had to run 1 short (530m) and 9 long (1,04 km) rounds, passing 9 times the more or less famous Wiener Rodlberg (sleding mountain), which still had some soft art-snow. Furthermore, we had to cross one smaller hill (knoll would suit better), beach volley court and the rest was rather flat.
I had a good start and took the first corner at about place 10. During the first short and long round I could overtake two runners, before I could hear that Markus is coming closer and closer until he overtook me during the second time running uphill the sleding mountain (ok, mountain sounds really high, but it was not more than 10 climbing meters, but steep). From that point on, my only hope was to stay in his slipstream, as it was a very windy day. Somehow I managed to keep his pace and we passed three more runners (most of them during the uphill or downhill part from the sled-hill) until we were on place 5 and 6. Thos nine long rounds felt endless and I was always happy to recover a little bit in the windy parts, behind Markus' back :)
Obviously, the gap to the fourth runner was too big to catch him, and also the gap behind me was satisfying. In the eight round, runner on place 4 cancelled his run and Markus started to run a little bit faster than me. In the last round I could gain some seconds back, but finished two seconds behind Markus on place 5 with a time of 33:35. Winning time was 31:38, set by Michael Schmid. Without running in Markus slipstream, it would have been much harder for me, I have to say thank you to him.
In the team ranking, Markus Lang, Wolfgang Siegert and me, achieved place number two, missing gold only by one position (indiviudal rankings ared added, not the time), but we were happy with the silver medal. Unfortunately we missed the price giving ceremony, as Markus had to hurry back to Sweden by plane. Better than missing the plane ;)
I am satisfied with the time and the ranking and it was my first medal in cross country running :) Getting a comparison with the top runners from Austria is always a good thing, I think.