Some of my instagram images surely raised some inquiries. While pretty much well-known around Germany, the Ecco Indoor Trail meeting in Dortmund is pretty much nameless abroad. Running non-natural trails protected by a large roof? It surely is something different and it certainly raises the eyebrows across a genre affine running community.
Yes. It is strange and it undeniably isn’t true “trail running” as people would like to identify the new hysteria in running. But are benchmarks like Sierre-Zinal or Zegama also “real” trail-running or mountain running or whatnot? Well. The Ecco Indoor Trail in Germany’s city of Dortmund has it’s own niche and it’s forte. When the weather outside is unpredictable and cranky it is good to know that you can go inside and race without wind and rain.
When I got the offer by Ecco to go up and experience their race I was just too curious. Determined by some new territory, a new style of racing and the stories of my buddy Flo Reichert it did not take me to long to agree. The best way to judge something is essentially doing it.
I was jogging for an hour round the time-worn Westfallenhallen in Dortmund and pretty much went straight to the start line. A tense and winding course like this makes it necessary to have separate starts for each contestant. It is a battle against the clock and only the top 10 dudes get to race against each other in the last duel of the day.
The 6 loop-race was the one I selected. You can choose from single day races which start on Friday with the 3-loop race continue with the 6-loop race on Saturday and finishes off with the 9-loop race on Sunday. The course takes you through tight corners, over fallen trees, up steep ramps, over footsteps, across the hallways and over different kind of synthetic obstacles.
At first I took it defensively as I had the Rome marathon coming up next weekend. But after I got in the atmosphere and rhythm I absolutely enjoyed the course. It takes a distinct strength to deal with the short sprints and the hurdles. It is fun and it is special. As you have to run across this “a-bit-more than 1k” loop you need to pass people. This is something that can get a bit tricky from time to time and made for a more challenging atmosphere.
Generally it was a great experience and a nice way to spend a weekend. It still is weird and it still raises the eyebrows but certainly in a positive way.