During our family summer vacation this year we stayed at an Airbnb in a small town called Dachwig outside of Erfurt. Wanting to do our July run here, we originally planned a route from our apartment out around some country roads there, which was going to be a 17K. But after while, I realized it was going to be a quite drab run with qutie monotonous scenery, along multiple-kilometer-long stretches through farm land. So I searched for some better running routes around Erfurt and found that someone had posted a nice KMZ file through the Steigerwald south of Erfurt, which I loaded into Google Earth and traced my own route from where we could park the car, run down through the forest, then back up through some small outlying villages and back into town to the car, for a total of 15K.
We got up at 5:30 and were in the car driving to Erfurt by 6:01. We hadn't bought anything for breakfast the night before, so arrived at the bakery a few streets away from our starting point, and picked up a pre-race sandwich for some energy for the run. We promptly found our starting corner and without any ado, started our stop watches and took off. My Google Earth path on my phone quickly lead us down a few streets to the north edge of the pretty massive Steigerwald forest, where we ran up some steep steps and took off down into a covered path through the thick trees.
The run through the forest was very memorable, as this KMZ file was apparently created by someone who had just turned on their GPS tracker and discovered a rather zig-zag path through the forest, sometimes taking main pathways but with frequent turns into what looked like bushes, but after you ran through them, you could recognize a smaller trail. I was constantly navigating on my phone scouting out the way with Hannah about 20 meters behind me.
At about 9K we finally made it out of the southern side of the forest and came into a little, sleepy village where numerous little kids and their parents were all on their way to the Kita, looking both ways before crossing the street, etc. very cute. After we passed a father and daughter pair standing on the side of the street, the little girl asked her Dad, "Papa, wer war das?"
The trek back up into the south of Erfurt seemed quite long but the scenery was varied, some farm roads, another little village, a quaint little bridge across a small river, and then about 2K along the river itself, all with warmer sun rising into the sky and people getting out to go to work, etc.
Google Earth eventually led us back to our starting point and we walked back to the car, sans cheering crowds or the finish line glory of yore. This was our 5th Corona-era, do-it-yourself run. For our August run, we hope to find some little village somewhere that is sponsoring an official run for a couple hundred people or so. Hannah and I began our 100-day-power-push with the heady goal of me running a sub-4-hour marathon and Hannah running a sub-1-hour 10K in October. Hopefully the Rotterdam Marathon will actually take place for me, and we can find an official 10K for Hannah.