I haven’t been doing many races of the ZüriLaufCup series this year. In 2010, I did seven out of twelve, in 2011 even ten; this year, I won’t reach the six races required to get into the overall ranking, four is the maximum I can reach.
Nevertheless, I think they are fun, well organised and never far to travel, so whenever I can, I will join them. GP Dübendorf is the shortest of the series, a 10 km race. I did it as part of a double race weekend, with Walliseller Triathlon (a sprint) the next day.
I’ve raced Dübendorf in 2010 and 2011 with quite substantial improvement, finishing in about 42:30 in 2010 and 37:50 or so in 2011. Having run a bit less a this point than last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The course was different from the last years: we raced on the old military airport in Dübendorf. Which I realised only a few days before the race; good thing some TV Oerlikon running buddies told me about it!
Before warming up, I bumped into Marc whom I know from badminton times. We chatted for a bit, then did our own warm-ups separately. I did quite a lengthy one on the track near the start as it wasn’t very warm (and not very pleasant, either).
With a few minutes to spare, I went to the starting line and placed myself not too far from the front.
Yes, you have to look closely. Zooming in for you:
Chatting with Marc again.
The course was completely flat and consisted of two out-and-backs with a small detour at the end of each lap:
Probably fast, but certainly not very interesting.
Off we went, and rather fast at that. There was one guy I know from training with TV Oerlikon who passed me a few times and I passed him back (thinking I was running a constant pace, but who knows [I actually do, thanks to my Garmin]); at the turnaround point at about 2.5 kilometres, he was behind me, and I thought for good. I focused on the woman in front of me now: Jutta is a regular on the podium for these races, and as always, I tried to beat all women. I inched closer and closer, while she got closer to the second woman, Luzia. Here’s us at about kilometre four:
“Us” as in “how did I even find myself in this picture?”
Note the guy in the yellow shirt behind me.
Shortly before the end of the first lap, Jutta caught up with Luzia and passed her. My splits, on the other hands, dropped by about 10 seconds per kilometre compared to the start, so I stayed behind all of the top three women.
Much worse was the re-pass of the TVO guy shortly into the second lap: he trailed the guy in the yellow shirt, and I was a bit annoyed about being passed just like that. I stayed with them until before the turnaround point, when I felt I could afford to pass them again.
I could, but the rest of the race wasn’t easy. Turns out that the guy in yellow was Peter Gschwend, veteran of 1247 races until today, of which he won 240 overall and 426 in his age group (he has rather neat statistics on his website). His marathon PB is 2:15:57, but luckily, he is a bit older nowadays and not unbeatable by a guy close to half his age. The main problem was that about everyody knows him, and as he was running just behind me, I heard about 50 times “Go Peter”, “Hopp”, “Peter!” and so on, not only from spectators but also from runners coming the opposite way.
Despite all the positive energy channeled to directly behind me, I managed to stay in front of him (and the TVO guy), thanks to a) a fast last 1500 metres and b) Baschi from TVO who cheered for me and not for Super-Peter at exactly the right moment.
I finished with a rather unexpected new personal best for 10 km, in 36:50. I chatted a bit with Lutz from TVO who had placed second in our age group in 32:58 and then headed to the showers – needed some rest for the sprint tri the next day!
After two years of wine glasses as the freebie, they upgraded this year to a carafe. Very useful!