Der Zauberberg | Grossglockner Ultra Trail

I'm a bit short on words to grasp the past weekend, so here's a summary of what apparently can be fitted in two days.

Start a 110k / 6700m elevation trail through the Austrian mountains around Grossglockner, Austrias highest summit on Friday evening. Meet Attila the Flying Hun. Turn your headlight off on the first mountain pass and run under the moonlight. Be amazed by the eclipsed moon and the amount of stars. Shrug off your most recent DNF. Climb a slope of 1500m with a moonlit mountainscape as backdrop. See the first rays of sunlight touching Grossglockner after running through the night. Get near hyperthermic while going up another climb to Rudolfshütte. Have a chat with Roland. Refresh with mountain water (ad libitum). Wet your pants when realising you need to make it up to Kaprunner Törl. Go up Kaprunner Törl. Feel Fred's core-exercises are paying off. Realise you're going to make it to the finish line. Wet your pants again looking down from Kaprunner Törl. Start singing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" out loud to blank out the thunder. Slide down some snowfields in the rain, giggling like a little kid. Get waist-high in a mountain stream because you missed one of the stepping stones. Don't lose your sense of humour. Get nearly hypothermic. Warm up with hot tea at the next aid station. Continue in the dark night with a minimum of light to save the dying battery of your headlamp. Survive a mot-attack. Finish after 26h42min together with a Swede and an Argentinian. Get a beer and a medal from an Austrian and a hug from a kiwi. Pour away most of the Austrian beer. Fall asleep for a few hours, waking up with the feeling there's no time to lose. Get to the local spa for a swim. Meet other runners and an Iron Woman. Go to the sauna. Feel your body recovering. Have another Austrian beer. Take the slide to the pool, giggling like a little kid. Realise it's ok to have fun. Have a Belgian beer. Realise some things which were broken can be fixed. Realise you have some amazing people in your life. Realise life is ok. Be grateful for this.

Mervyn Van Gompel