Neckarau parkrun, Mannheim

Neckarau parkrun route
Neckarau parkrun route. Clockwise from bottom left.

Mannheim is a big transport hub for the region, by road and water, and the smoke stacks  of the industrial area are visible as you approach. Yet it makes good use of the water on the West and East side of the city, and the parkrun is in a beautiful spot, through tree-lined tarmac and mud paths. It is a flat and fast one, so long as you aren’t distracted by views of the river that appear on your left. Take my advice, and walk or run there from the North (where the station is, and the large youth hostel, both under 4km away) and take in all the river views you want beforehand. Or just, hey, more river views. Run or walk it how you want, gaze at the trees and water.

River view through trees
The river appears through the trees.

The run generally gets around 70 runners (for now – parkrun in Germany is growing. Hasenheide, in Berlin, with today the day before the marathon there, got 733). Today we had 77, with a record of 105 that will one day look tiny. The route can certainly take more if necessary.

Wide tarmac path with trees on both sides
The start area (after the start, so the sign has gone).

The run directors are well set up for visitors, with separate first-timers’ briefings in German and English. In the latter (smaller) group alone, there were visitors from Greece, England, Australia and Poland.

Runners and volunteers at the finish line
Scott, from Australia, contemplates marathon legs after his finish.

I got talking to Scott, from Australia, before and after the run. He was fit, if tired, from the Sydney Marathon a few weeks ago, and here on business. It’s probably the kind of city, or region at least that attracts as many people for work as pleasure, but it’s a parkrun not to miss if you have the chance. Despite being here for work Scott had, admittedly, travelled from tourist-friendly Heidelburg, which was recommended to me multiple times over breakfast. It’s about 15 minutes by train, but I didn’t go, preferring to spend my day in Mannheim, in Mannheim, but it is banked for later.

View of the finish line
It isn’t exactly hidden, but the finish line is tucked just round the corner. Accelerate before you see it, if you have anything left!

Post-run/walk chats are at PURiNO, right on the river front – but a different-looking part of same, more open and with hard paths, round the bend of the river from the run. It’s just a short walk from the finish.

As ever, a glorious run with friendly folk and great organisation. It’s also one for any kind of weather because of the tree cover and good surface underneath.

Finishing straight; hard-packed path, with trees on either side
The finishing straight, looking the wrong way

Results from Neckarau parkrun event 96, 28/9/19.

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