10 Things I Think About The Zwentendorf Donaulauf 2019
1. It’s Pronounced Nuclear
I think every town has something it’s known for. I didn’t know anything about the unused Nuclear plant in Zwentendorf until Friday when I was buying hipster coffee after a run in Vienna. The hipster coffee guy asked was I doing a race. I said that I was running a race in Zwentendorf. “Ah with the Nuclear Plant”. I was interested in a walking tour but they’re only on Fridays and sold out miles ahead. Next time.
2. Stock Photo
I think it was safe to assume that the photo that was used to promote the Donalauf in rural Austria was a stock photo taken from Ireland. When I googled the race it looked a little odd to see Mick Clohisey in a Raheny singlet in the photo used to promote the race. I presumed that they’d taken a photo from a race in Ireland to use in promotion. Sure what would Mick Clohisey be doing in Zwentendorf.
3. Mini Cooper
I think that I might have to get a convertible Mini Cooper. We had to rent a car for the day to get to the race in Zwenendorf outside Vienna. I got an upgrade to a convertible Mini. At first I was horrified but it surprised me in how excellent it was. It was even orange like my sunglasses. Rhona said that I looked like a boss in it.
I think that the main reason I was interested in running in Zwentendorf was that the race was called the Donalauf, who wouldn’t want to try and win a race with their name in it. It would have made a great story.
I think that I was a little nervous about the race being 6 times around a lap of just over a mile per lap. I was worried that lapped runners would be in the way. As it turned out it was perfect, a beautiful almost perfectly flat route with a lovely view of the Danube. The weather was even better, sunny and over 20 degrees.
6. Mick Clohisey
I think I’d like it if in 7 years time the organisers of the race remember me like they remembered Mick Clohisey. Before the start the guy with the mic broke from his German spiel to welcome his two Irish guests Rhona and Donal. We even got a cheer. He asked if we knew the “great Irish runner Mick Clohisey”. I said we did even if I’ve never met Mick in my life.
I think you shouldn’t judge a runner by his t-shirt. It upset my brain to see a guy wearing a red t-shirt with McDonald’s on the back sprinting away at the start. He went off at a ridiculous Spanish style pace. I didn’t even try and follow because it was a very crazy pace and Ronan wouldn’t be surprised if I got injured being stupid in a small road race two weeks before Berlin. I arrogantly presumed that the McDonald’s t-shirt would come back to me if I just ran steady. I was wrong, lap after lap he just got further away, McDonald’s must be good. At least the guy with the Vaporflys on the start line was no-where to be seen.
8. Coakley Donal
I think that laps are a great idea for road races, it creates a great atmosphere running past the start/finish line six times. It’s very excellent to have your name called out every time you cross the line, I particularly liked the Austrian order and pronunciation of my name, The Coakley Donal, much better.
I think that dogs should be allowed into every prize giving. Despite the almost Spanish style weather the podium and prize giving was inside in a parish hall, it was almost Irish except that everything was really well built and well finished. While waiting for the prizes we made friends with an Austrian dog called Ludwig. There is no language barrier with dogs, he even gave us a kiss.
10. Happy Hamper
I think that it’s a terrible shame that I can’t bring some of the prizes home with me. I got to go on the podium twice. Once for winning the M30 category for which I got a medal and once for coming second overall. For second I got the Austrian equivalent of massive SuperValu hamper. We tried to give it to Ludwig but he was gone so we brought it back to the hotel and gave it to the housekeeper. She was delighted with it. Mick Clohisey didn’t have to worry about what to do with a hamper in 2012 as he only came fourth. Perhaps the Austrians will remember me yet.