Sat on the shuttle bus from Strasbourg to the start of the Mozart marathon, the temperature gauge read 26 degrees at 7.41am, it’s going to be a hot day.

Last night during race brief at race village, the organisers made last minute changes to mandatory kit, stating that warm hat, gloves are no longer needed, and the head torch requirements changed to a post 3pm checkpoint arrival instead of everyone taking two from the start.

This was great news for pony who started the 105km early this morning. And less weight to carry out there in this soaring heat the better.

The bus winds through villages deep in the hills, boasting lush green, the hills are alive with the sound of music!

This race was a last-minute decision for me, I was accompanying pony on his 100km, but we soon realised I couldn’t get to, and am not allowed anywhere along his route, so that would mean a possible 22 hour wait in the city, which anyone that knows me would know that the countryside calls. Entering the marathon would mean that I could see a majority of the route and have my own sightseeing adventure with aid stops full of fruit to greet me along the way, bonus! Pony was also concerned about boredom, and the possibility of me running into the nearby hills from the city with risk of getting lost 😂this way, I have way markers to guide me, and I get some decent hours on my feet to keep me both amused and my soul happy.

As I’m sat here, I feel quite nervous. Not about the run, but just generally nervous. I speak little, almost no German, which is terrible as the pony is German, so this causes an immediate barrier to this process, although most speak English, it still reminds me to learn more.

We approach the start line area, with a good 45 mins to spare before take-off, so I sit in the sun, overlooking the lake while soaking up the excitement of pre-race feels.

Countdown, and off we go.

The course start is super runnable, and it’s soon clear that this race is full of very good runners including many elite. I start and continue with my usual easy, happy, chat attack run pace and enjoy the ride.

It’s hot as hell, this makes me happy as I prefer the hotter weather, almost solar charged (I stole that term from Clare Capper @capparazzi who I had the pleasure to meet on the run!)

Paths wind around, up and down hills. Open fields surround us as we glide through the countryside filled with green. Woodland greets us with ankle twisting roots, reaching out to claw and trip you up if you are off guard. Climbing up into the trees to views that will remain in the memory bank for a lifetime.

Up, down, up again.

Aid stops every 10km, fruit and water are my fuel. Hydration is key on this one.

Up, down, up again.

Trip, trip, fall.

I fall on a steep descent, I’m rescued by a runner, thank you whoever you are. This made me super nervous now on the downhills, and they only got steeper!

Trip, trip, fall.

Up, down, up again.

The last ascent is a killer, many steps, the descent worse than the climb. But the end in sight.

Running through Mozart Platz to the finish line I am greeted by cheers and claps. It’s over. Medal on. Alcohol free beer consumed. Stumble back to hotel.

Mozart100 series is an amazing experience. Well organised, amazing course, challenging with rewards at the top of every tough climb.

Pony has a great race, runs strong, gets lush and covers an extra 5km, stops on the run to help a fellow runner who has collapsed then continues to run 72km before being timed out. He’s happy to have experienced the super tough ascents the 105km has to offer, these climbs take a good 2-2.5 hours up, the downhills are relentless.

Up, down, up again

Trip, trip, fall

Pony falls too.

We both have battle marks.

Pony shuttles back to race village and we head for noodles. A trip to Salzburg is worth just for this plate of vegan wonderful. More alcohol-free beer.

Post run stumbles, trip, trip, sleep.

We will come back, pony has unfinished business and I, purely to re visit those views and to reward myself after with the noodles!

Mozart gave me time to think, to process, to plan. What a way to see new lands. What a great way to mind dump and see what sticks. I’m a soul runner, I run for the journey, I run to experience all that I can, I run to fill the memory bank and inspire others to believe in their own capabilities, trust their bodies, and take that scary jump into the unknown. You will never regret what you have tried, only what you were too frightened to attempt.