LuxNUL 4 – Bonnevoie, for the hardy few
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
That’s said to be the motto of the US Postal Service, but it’s also true of the dozen Luxembourg OC members and friends who turned out to run the fourth event in the 2019-20 Luxembourg Night Urban League (“LuxNUL”) series, in Bonnevoie. The weather wasn’t quite as the planner had expected – cool and cloudy was the forecast, and this was the basis for the decision to go ahead and not postpone the event. So the sleet white-out that blew in just as the planner set out to hang the controls was an unwelcome surprise. And – although the skies then cleared – the icy ground and patches of freezing fog that greeted runners after the first couple of controls made for tough conditions.
On the long (“Deer”) course, last starter Sasha Rybakov made it three wins out of three starts, easing round the 5.1km course in under 37 minutes. But not too far behind was Club president Jonas Wolff, with his best run in the series to date, making some shrewd route choices along the way. And, with Ondra Kotecky out of action, third place went to Club secretary Staffan Vowles – the only runner to have completed all four LuxNUL runs so far. And while Sasha can now already be sure of the overall LuxNUL Deer course title, with his three wins putting him in an unassailable lead, Staffan moved up to fourth LuxNUL place overall, having dropped the slow time he put in at Limpertsberg.
The leading three on the medium (“Rabbit”) course were also close together, with Elisabet Wirtz taking her second win in the series, just ahead of Renelde Pierlot, who was making her first appearance as a LuxNUL runner, but running and navigating very steadily. Maggie Roach was two and a half minutes down in third, but Maggie, a D60, has the overall lead at the moment as she has run the most times in the series.
The courses both involved a big route-choice leg early on – with the options including a drop down to the bridge towards Hamm over the Alzette and then a brutal ascent up a long flight of steep stairs, or a rather longer no-climbing run towards the centre of Bonnevoie and back out. The Deer course had an extra twist at the start of the leg – climbing up through the dark forest, or an easy flat run along the bank of the Alzette but with an extra 250 metres of distance. By accounts, most people braved the woods and the steps. Which way would you have chosen? A copy of the Deer course is attached.
The last control rather emphasised the “urban” character of the LuxNUL series, hung right outside the main entrance to the busy Cactus supermarket. But the beggar sitting under the flag only arrived during the event – the planner apologises for this extra local colour.
As usual, the full results for the run have been compiled by Michael Hock, and are on the Helga website – see https://helga-o.com/webres/index.php?lauf=3153 Cumulative placings to date for the overall LuxNUL rankings are also attached. Remember – the best three results will count, out of the series of six runs.
Thanks to Balazs Duhy for hosting us, in the garage behind his apartment. The Club banner, draped over the entrance alley, came in handy as an aid to finding the venue. It wasn’t the most luxurious event base there’s ever been – when the planner asked what facilities there were, he was told that it “had an electric light”. But the location was ideal, and LuxOC is not ungrateful!
And thanks also to Maggie Roach, for co-piloting the planner as he drove round the streets after the event to collect all the controls. The car navigating challenges, and roads that by then were like a skating rink, made the task feel a bit like one of the icier stages of the Monte Carlo rally!
Luxembourg OC looks forward to welcoming all members and friends to LuxNUL 5, on Wednesday 4 March, in Belair. Some super jugendstil and bauhaus architecture to admire, and hopefully the weather will be kinder and will encourage a few more runners to take part. Further details – see the next news item on this webpage.