For a long time now I’ve had the idea in my head to make a sports event happen. Now the time had come!
Hamburg 1000 Reloaded – Running up a 1,000 meters in flat Hamburg.
First things first. To create a little race, you have to have a team. That’s the first challenge. A few like-minded people who want to do this as well as you, and if you’re lucky, a few more helping hands. With Karla and Rasmus joining my HoneyPower team a year ago, the foundation was laid. But there’s another team, which already had some experience in these events. Additionally, I quite like that team.
It’s the Triathlon Affen!
A few freaks from Hamburg who built this self-aware and ironic as well as iconic brand of “Triathlon Affen”, literally ”triathlon monkeys”. I find their posts to be hilarious, and their clothes and artworks very nice. So I wrote an e-mail and we met and talked. In 2017, a year ago, they had done a little Guerrilla style bike racing event called Hamburg 1000, so some experience was there. They were keen on doing something like it again, so we brainstormed, and out of about 10 ideas, the most simple one won: Do the same race type again, but ditch the bike.
What’s the Plan?
Last year, the idea was to bike up a hill in Hamburg exactly as many times as necessary to collect 1,000 meter of elevation gain.
This year, it’s running up that hill.
We set the date for September 1st and asked around for people who would like to run with us.
How Was This Organized?
Very rudimentary, honestly. All six of us had lots going on, so just a bare minimum of time could be used. Also, we didn’t want to go through the hassle of registering an official event, because we feared we wouldn’t get approved by the council and wouldn’t get a road closure in place. So we decided to go rogue and internally declare the event as a slightly coordinated run of friends. Nothing can go wrong there, no liabilities, no problems.
Surely, we needed to find a lap route for the run. After some test runs we settled on a route that mainly consists of trails and stairs. No meters wasted to get up this mountain called Waseberg.
Using this route in western Hamburg, we could move up about 75 meters by running just 550 meters in distance. That’s about as good as it gets by still keeping practicality in mind. 1,000 divided by 75 is 13.3, so it’s 14 laps of 1.1 kilometers each, that make it a 15.4 kilometer long run. Doable, right?
Yeah, no. We saw this as a bit of a test and were careful with spreading the word. No one wants to be responsible for people falling down the stairs or collapsing from dehydration, so an amount of runners that surpasses a certain number becomes difficult to handle.
A Facebook group, a Strava group, and some invitations sent out to possibly interested friends. That’s all we did for now. And we got the perfect amount of participants – lucky!
A bit of last minute preparation on race day, and we met down at Falkensteiner Ufer to build the stage for today’s event.
We came down from creating the route just bare minutes before the start, so that worked out perfectly. To our amazement and excitement, some runners actually found their way towards our little run!
And that’s it, off we go! Around 15 kilometers with 1,000 meters of elevation gain. How many of them will finish? Who will win? Does that matter? Will we make it through without any accidents? I must admit, some nervousness was definitely there.
Rasmus and I led the pack along the street towards the first sign, a right hand turn up the first stairs. Shortly thereafter, the tougher soldiers started to pass us by, rightfully so.
It’s really not an easy course, this one we set. But to be fair, there were a few flat stretches that gave everyone a short chance to breathe.
The first lap is obviously the easiest, and these people were a welcome, returning, sight.
Rainbow-colored Gesine did an amazing job marking everyones progress on their blue wrist-bands that we handed out as well, so no one could miscalculate the 14 laps. To mark everyone is not as easy as it sounds, especially when those insane fast guys come by!
The weather couldn’t have been better, as well. For some, it got visibly too hot, as the longer the race went on, the more naked male upper bodies you got to see.
As the course used the same route up and also down the hill, the meeting points were a large number. That made for many smiles, encouraging word to each other, some clapping, some photos, some high-fives. Very cool.
What Wasn’t Cool
We made the mistake of ignoring some other guiding arrows that roamed the course. Unfortunately, there had been a real official race that used parts of this trail earlier, and their orange and white markings were a distraction from our red and blue markings. At one point, two runners went off into the wrong direction. I saw them and could help them, though. Maybe some more people got lost at first, whom I didn’t see and couldn’t warn. Anyways, no one got angry (the entry fee of this run was 0 Euros, after all), and after one lap everybody knew for sure what the route was supposed to be.
A Legend Among Us
This beast of a runner, a well-known ultra runner from Hamburg, graced us with his presence, and later, groans. Yes, it’s not an easy race! It was great to have him as a participant, and we were quite proud of his kind words about the race afterwards.
We should’ve had him as the turning point instead of that brick column!
I myself spend quite some time chatting, cheering, and taking photos during the run – those are my excuses for not finishing fast, at least. After 8 laps I got into the groove and really enjoyed it, but after 12 I felt I was done. 2 more to run, and that also worked out. Mind over matter, as always.
It took me about 2:30 hours to pull this off, but I think the first few runners finished in around 1:45, which is quite an achievement in my opinion. I think, around two thirds of the participants really made it through all of the 14 laps. A few dropped out, but had fun anyways, at least apparently.
And finally, the one real runner gets his participation HoneyPower gift, finishing last, but finishing! Impressive and inspiring, this one.
We’ve heard many variations of “It’s been great” and “See you next year!” – so we think this was a success. Lots of HoneyPowers were eaten, lots of water and beer consumed, lots of new connections made.
”From a sports-physiological point of view alcohol is absolutely no problem!”
– Michael Mankus after having a beer in the middle of the run
Check out some more photos of Hamburg 1000 Reloaded and my own Strava tracking of the run.
And start training for next year, if you feel up for it!