Blankeneser Heldenlauf : Compete against container ships

26 Jul 2012 10:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Interview Focus on a race

§staticmap(6076,5,450,250)Hello, on August 26th 2012, you’ll be organizing the Blankeneser Generali Heldenlauf Halbmarathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Blankeneser Heldenlauf (means “hero run”) is located in Blankenese, a district of Hamburg in the western part of the city. Blankenese is located right at the river Elbe and known for its narrow streets, green hills and very steep and long stairs (this part is also called “Treppenviertel” which means stairs district).

In earlier days, Blankenese used to be an old fishing village where lots of sailors and captains lived. Today, the picture of Blankenese is shaped by many beautiful old villas from which you can enjoy fantastic views over the river, which is crossed by huge container ships or cruise ships such as the Queen Mary.

A very maritime place!

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

This year, the Heldenlauf takes place for the 10th time. Initially, a run was organized as a one-time running event in relation to Blankenese’s 700th birthday. Due to its scenic route, the organizers decided to create a re-occuring running event through and around Blankenese; the Heldenlauf was born.

Credit : Blankeneser Heldenlauf
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Without exaggeration it can be said that the route of the Blankeneser Heldenlauf is the most scenic one in Hamburg, if not Germany. The river Elbe, the famous Elbchaussee, many green parks and the Treppenviertel of Blankenese are just a few of the many highlights of the route.

Again and again the runners are led to the river Elbe where they have the chance to lead an imaginary competition against the huge container ships. The heart of Blankenese, the market place, is where the participants can enjoy the cheering of the many spectators on their way to the finish line. For those who know Blankenese and its surroundings are aware that Heldenlauf means stairs and hills but this very fact is what makes the Heldenlauf so special. Once you finished it you can call yourself a real hero, for sure!

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

We expect approximately 3,500 participants for the Heldenlauf. According to the three different distances of 6, 11 and 21 km we target both young and old, competition beginners and advanced.

Cap San Diego
Credit : Arne List
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

As we’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary of the Heldenlauf this year, we created a very unique and extraordinary running event, which will take place just an hour before the start of the Heldenlauf. In agreement with the motto of the Heldenlauf “To compete with container ships”, the idea for the “MISSION ELBRACE: 111 runners vs. 1 ship” was born.

Here, the participants will compete with the famous ship “Cap San Diego” over a distance of 4.76 km. The Cap San Diego is a famous cargo ship and Hamburg’s maritime landmark. After all its years on the sea it is now a museum in the harbor with only very few seafarings. In order for the runners to a have a realistic chance to win, they should be able to run 5 km in 15-20 minutes. The event will be a lifetime experience! For those who prefer coziness can follow the race as a passenger on the Cap San Diego, which will set sails again for this fantastic occasion.

Credit : Blankeneser Heldenlauf
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

Summer in Hamburg is usually not very hot and sometimes rainy, which means good conditions for our runners. For this special year, we ordered sunshine, of course!

Have you planned festivities around the race?

As every year, there will be an interesting entertainment on the market place of Blankenese. Due to the anniversary our runners and spectators can look forward to some nice surprises.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Hamburg before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Once you are in the area, the restaurant and café of the Hotel Süllberg in Blankenese offer a fantastic view on the Treppenviertel and the river Elbe.

Apart from that, the harbor with its newly built “Hafen City” and the Elbphilharmonie are always worth a visit, just to name a few of the many lovely places in the world’s most beautiful city.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Blankeneser Generali Heldenlauf Halbmarathon?

The Blankeneser Heldenlauf: where else do you get the chance to compete with container ships?

Interview with Stephie Albrecht.