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Die Freude am Laufen: The Joy Of Running

One unexpected benefit of teaching at the Theological Seminary of the Rhineland was the chance to run the trails of the forestland that surrounds the school. I mean, who doesn’t want to travel to exotic and historic lands and run around in woods that you have never seen before?

No worries, after all, I had a map. Also, I was a few weeks away from running in the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon, and I needed to get in some miles to keep up my training. And on top of that, who knew what surprises nature might have in store for me in the deep woods of Germany?

The actual map

Geländelaufen: Trail Running

The Western Forest near Altenkirchen, Germany

On my first day to run, I was so excited not only to do some trail running but also to see some of the local wildlife. I was even more excited when I learned that I might meet my old friend while traipsing through the woods: Sus Scrofa, alias Wild Hog in the USA and alias Wildschwein in these here parts. I have chased pigs all over Texas, so it was time to see what German pigs are made of (Schweinefleisch, of course).

My plan was to run the woodland trails for endurance and also to listen for “grunzen,” which of course is the grunting sounds that German pigs make, but with a German accent. However, seeing any wildlife would do in a pinch.

The clue that told me “Pigs live here.”

Was I worried about losing my way? Perhaps becoming an American footnote to the story of Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods? Fortunately, being an experienced trail runner, I am well-versed in reading the signs of the forest and was not worried about getting lost in the woods. Here are a few examples of woodland signs that years of trail running have taught me to identify. Don’t try this at home, kids.

“Traveler, you are in the woods.” #Helpful
To find your way back to Wölmersen, just remember that the moss grows on the northern sides of the signposts.

Der Wanderwege: The Trails

The trails were as beautiful as the weather. Sunny and 70 degrees with low humidity. Everything was perfect for running but an added bonus was that you could even run up the hills to a tower with its gorgeous view of the entire area.

Time to run
Heupelzen: The Tower

Many wonderful miles were run, but alas, no wild hog sightings occurred. I did see some of the local wildlife so it was not a total loss. 

Friendly Local
Less than Friendly Local

You may never have the opportunity to run the trails here yourself, but you can watch this video for just a small idea of the experience.

Short video of some of the trails

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