In July this year, at the invitation of the Twinning Association, Almost Athletes selected 3 runners to travel to Göttingen to take part in the annual Old Town Run. Graham (Gray) Davis, Matt Proome and Paul Turner were the lucky names drawn from the beanie hat, so we 3 intrepid runners set off via plane and train to arrive at our hotel in Göttingen at nearly midnight.
At breakfast the following morning, we met runners from Göttingen’s other twin towns in Germany and Poland, then it was off to meet our hosts in town for lunch in the new Town Hall building – great views from the restaurant on the top floor! As the day went on, it got hotter and hotter – and we all realised that PBs (personal best times) were highly unlikely. After a couple of shorter races (children’s and a 5km run), we 10km runners lined up in the square for the start of the race – 6 laps winding through the centre of the Old Town. Suffice to say that our PB expectations were accurate – the heat (even after 8pm!) duly played its part – but all 3 of us really enjoyed taking part. Fantastic support from the townspeople all round the course – which was not surprising, as everyone we met in Göttingen was so friendly – and impressed that we’d come “all the way from Cheltenham” to run!
The morning after the race, we were treated to a very interesting guided tour of the Old Town Hall and the old town centre itself – amazing to discover just how closely Göttingen has been linked to Britain for so long via the House of Hannover. Our afternoon was spent sightseeing, then the deputy mayor with responsibility for tourism and twinning hosted a meal at a traditional restaurant for the runners from the 3 twin towns. The liquid celebrations carried on for some time after we’d finished eating…
All three of us really enjoyed our visit to Göttingen, and we were immensely proud to represent Cheltenham at the race; the Old Town, steeped in history and well worth a visit, is compact, thus easy to stroll round, with plenty of good places to eat (and drink!) – and for runners, the races are well organised, marshalled and supported. And flat!
Thanks must go to the Twinning Association for the invitation to take part and for their generous assistance with travel costs.
Report and pictures supplied by Paul Turner, Almost Athletes