The Mueggelturm, located to the south of the Mueggelsee lake. The tower is situated on Berlin’s highest natural elevation at 115m. It doesn’t sound that high really. Just a couple of lengths and a bit of my local pool, stuck end to end then placed upright. Seems OK for a 10km race.
Last Sunday we took part in Trailrun Berlin, a relatively new event, this is its second year. It’s also relatively small, with just over 300 participants.
It wasn’t clear how best to arrive. Public transport required an S-Bahn train and then a bus, but, it wasn’t obvious how frequently the buses run, or how close it would get us to the start line, or more importantly, did it even operate on Sundays? With huge gratitude another Urban Foxer had signed up for the event, who generously rented a car, solving all our public transport concerns. We swiftly arrived from Prenzlauer Berg’s city surroundings, to thick forests in about 30 minutes.
A short walk up hill brought us to the compact event village where we collected our race numbers and rather fetching free socks! We an hour to wait before the start, so we passed the time calculating how to attach lace-fixed timing chips to elastic laces, and observing all the trail-related kit surrounding us. Plenty of professionals in this event. Vibram 5 fingers, Salomon trail shoes, compression socks and all manner of professional timing devices. I took my trusty Addidas Goretex shoes anticipating some soggy mud after the early morning downpour. I like them, they have great grip, but they do tend to make my feet hot.
The run started promptly at midday and led us over a short cobbled hill and straight into the forest paths. The ground was soft and firm, littered with autumnal leaves reminding us another Berlin winter is on its way.
The terrain undulated from the outset and by 3km we turned a corner to face the steps back up to the event village. There were 111 in total, staggered in sections of 8 steps. Now, we are used to training on the stretch of steps in our local Volkspark which provides us with a lofty 104 consecutive steps, so we were feeling comfortable and confident. Yet the last 3 sections were very tough on the thighs, and it was only through grit and determination that my legs carried me over the top, thinking only of the stretch of downhill I will soon reach in return for my climbing effort.
A short stretch of tarmac led us back to the forest trails, which undulated through various degrees of difficulty. Some stretches were too steep to run, however, each down hill allowed us enough time to recover ready for the next effort.
The scenery was stunning. Protected by the cover of old forest trees and soaring pines, the dappled sunlight created a warm, welcoming light, while temperatures remained comfortably in the high teens. At one point we passed the banks of Tuefelsee, a small lake with high reeds, board-walks and more pine trees. It was a spectacular view, and I really wished I’d paused for a photo, but at close to the 7km mark, I wanted to keep going strong and steady. The trails ranged from wide paths to single file tracks. Sand, roots, leaves and firm ground underfoot kept our feet dry and trouble-free.
The final push to the steps for one last time really challenged us, our thighs burning, willing us to stop, then with wobbly knees, one final push across the finish line.
Organisers provided apples, bananas, water a coca cola for the all the finishers. It was hard to believe it was all over.
This race was a real escape from the city. We can highly recommend it to any running fan. You don’t have to be experienced to run the trails, or have a predetermined level of fitness. We enjoy the change of scenery. Pounding pavements can become very repetitive, and being out in the countryside is great for the mind and can really inspire you.
Why not look out for your next local trail run and see where the adventure takes you.
Find the Trail Run Berlin 10km route here