As you might know by now, running around and along lakes is one of my favorite things to do. So after lake Fuschlsee at the Mozart100, lake Traunsee at Bergmarathon and the Half Marathon around lake Tegernsee I spontaneously signed up for a race called Wolfgangseelauf around lake Wolfgangsee in Austria.
The race was 27km long (one lap around the lake) and was just a perfect training race for NYC Marathon. The perfect weather and great views also helped with that.
Disclaimer: most of my review will be about the 27km classic race, but some points are also valid for the Marathon and 10k.
Travel & Accessibility
At the classic 27km race at Wolfgangseelauf the start and finish are located in St. Wolfgang, on the north shore of the lake. The Marathon starts in Bad Ischl and the 10km race starts on the other side of the lake, but both also finish in St. Wolfgang.
If you want to go there you need to take a car. Public parking is available for free outside of town, or in the city center. However there is also the option to take the regular ferry lines, that go across the lake. So in case you parked your car at the 10km start you can then take the ferry back after the race and vice versa.
As St. Wolfgang is a cute little town you can then easily walk to the start line.
Bib pick-up and pre-race
Bib pick-up in in a conference center right in the middle of town and close to the start. There are toilets, but they can get very busy. Better try the ones a bit further away from the start.
The start itself is located on the main street in the old town of St. Wolfgang. There are just three corrals, that can get quite tight. Also the space on the outside of the starting corral is quite limited. So spectators should wait a bit further away, as it can get quite crowded.
Wolfgangseelauf race course
The course starts in St. Wolfgang and runs counterclockwise around the lake. The first 3km are pretty easy, but then you reach a grueling incline of the Falkenstein mountain. This part feels more like a trail run, than a road race, and is absolutely crucial. If try hard and go fast on the incline to gain a few seconds, you will lose minutes in the end.
After you reached the top with a cute little chapel (where Saint Wolfgang, the founder of the town lived) it is a short decline back to the lake and to the next town called St. Gilgen. (Side note: this steep foot path is the only connection from St. Wolfgang to St. Gilgen. If you want to go there by car, you have to drive all around the lake)
From there it is flat(ish) Half Marathon with spectacular views. Just the last bit before the finish line is a bit hillier, before you descend into the last 50m of the race.
The course is mostly on concrete and gravel. Parts of it are single trails, which made passing difficult. Water and refreshment stations were set up every 3km approximately.
The refreshment area after the race is not set up after the finish line as you would expect it. It is located in the small little streets to the right. This took me a while to figure out. Also, it was quite crowded there.
But this was absolutely outweighed with the selection of food and drinks: water, sports drinks, coke, soup, biscuits, fruit.
There are also showers available. However I decided to just take a quick swim in the lake before putting on some dry clothes and heading home.
Before the race you can visit the former Austrian Emperor’s summer residence in Bad Ischl, where the first World War started.
When you are already in St. Wolfgang you can take the cable car up the Schafberg mountain to get some spectacular views.