The Mullerthal region is one of the most popular hiking regions in Luxembourg. Its landscape is dotted with towering sandstone rock formations and crisscrossed by the rivers that created it. The awe-inspiring rocks have earned the region its nickname “Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland“. The region is above all a unique biotope characterized by sandstone rock formations which are as charming as surprising.
A few days ago, on the 14th of September, I ran the 4th edition of Leopard UTML Ultratrail in Echternach. An exciting trail with amazing views. A dream for every hiker, runner or outdoor lover. A unique landscape of sandstone cliffs and deep crevasses. In other words, an absolute joy to run the Trail race with its 39 km and over 1100 m of elevation.
Btw, the UTML organization offers you 4 semi-self-sufficiency events: 1) Shorty Trail 15 km, 2) Trail 39 km, 3) Long Trail 75 km and 4) Ultra Trail ® 112 km.
The day before the race
We arrived in Echternach the night before the race. The travel had taken longer than we had expected, which helped me fall asleep like a baby. Without having the energy to think about the next day’s race.
After such a good night sleep, in the morning I decided to change the way I always start racing – slow, making sure I get a good warm-up for the first kilometers – and go all the way in. Simply race from the start to the finish line.
Before the start, I warmed up a little and I could feel the energy, and the excitement of the course that was ahead of me. The first two kilometers through town and up the trail I pushed quite a bit, however, managed to find a good, relatively fast but sustainable pace.
In the following kilometers, the Mullerthal Trail took me through a natural setting of magnificent rocky landscapes, fields, and forests that looked almost intact. Now imagine my enthusiasm on these stunning trails – with its rock formations and its wildness – I felt so fortunate to be able to run there.
15km in the race and I realized that I haven’t seen any fellow lady runner. Felt strange to be surrounded only by runner guys in a race. I mean, it was new to me. At the same time, it was so motivational to have them encouraging me to keep up the speedy pace, I am on the podium.
I took a few minutes to think about (again) why I run.
I don’t run to get on the podium. I simply run because I love the feeling of freedom in running. The trails. The mountains. The conversations with fellow runners. Simply put, the way it makes me feel. And the energy it gives me. The more I run the more I love my body. Not because it is perfect, far from it, but because with every kilometer it’s proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. Running reminds me that even in my weakest moments I am strong.
The idea of getting on the podium start making its place in my head, and honestly, I didn’t want to keep thinking of it. I just wanted to enjoy the stunning trail ahead and run for the pure, absolute joy! So I managed to push the thought away.
Over the next 20 km, I maintained a good (relative fast) pace while enjoying every step of the way. Fortunate for me, the course was very runnable. The sceneries with its caves and forests were magnificent. On top, the trail was leading repeatedly to beautiful viewpoints. Definitely, running on this trail was an unforgettable experience! I really had an amazing day. No pain. Good breath. Great weather. Strong legs.
I crossed the finish line with pure exhilaration after 04:09:43, a big smile, and a joined family last-meters run. Ah, and a strong feeling of returning! I placed myself 2nd women out of 85. :)
Stay healthy and run happy!