Copyright 2021 - Dundee Roadrunners

Harry Kay - Wurzburg Visit

The road to Germany began one summer's evening in May 1987. A double decker coachliner bus left Crichton Street Dundee bound for our twin city of Wurzburg in Bavaria Southern Germany packed with Dundee Roadrunners  some family members and friends.  The trip had been organised by the City Council as part of the 25 year twinning of the two cities and several sporting clubs from the city were to be in Wurzburg at the same time.


A second party of Dundee Roadrunners left Dundee later that same evening mostly committee members and they travelled first by rail to London overnight and then from Heathrow to Frankfurt on a PanAm flight and then by bus to Wurzburg where our fellow bus travellers arrived all the way from Dundee.


The intention of the trip was to ultimately compete in a 13.5 km race and we were to be housed in various types of accommodation from hostels to private homes and those who stayed in the latter were able to get to know our hosts better and learn about the German way of life. Within the next few days we were to find out that our hosts Laufgemeinschaft Wurzburg, the name of their running club, would treat us to a wonderful time in their city.


On race day the course took us along the banks of the River Main a pathway which was below the typically steep hillside vineyards of Wurzburg. Our host had been to Dundee the previous year 1986 and competed in the Dundee Marathon and we were in no doubt the opposition for the race would be very competitive. I can recall some of us sampled the local wine and beer on the eve of the race and to say our preparation could have been better was an understatement however we all finished in good form.  Race day saw the usual high standard of German efficiency and after the race we all trooped off to a local school for a shower and changed into party mode and believe me what a party they laid on. 


A huge tented arena awaited us and we were given free food and endless beer. The beer could be ordered by producing tickets which we had been given earlier in the evening and by some cajoling and friendly banter I managed to obtain more tickets and thereafter a memorable evening was had by all.


We have all the pictures to prove the tale (it may be some of us would prefer they were kept out of sight). The German for hangover is Ein Kater and believe me there were many Katers the next morning as we assembled for a civic reception in Wurzburg's Town Hall.


The hospitality followed on through the next few days, one trip on a river boat took us up the River Main to a classic summer residence of what may have been a wealthy industrialistís home and there we had the biggest ice cream cone imaginable.


I can also recall going to the local football stadium of the Wurzburg Kickers under a marquee for an evening's entertainment supplied by the Dundee Reel and Strathspey Society. The final evening of music and dance in the Carl Diem Halle in Wurzburg saw us all march in behind a Pipe Band all the way from Dundee and I can tell you what a proud moment that was for all the Roadrunners present.


To continue this particular story would take several more pages however I am pleased to say subsequent groups from our club have gone out to Wurzburg and our German friends have reciprocated over the years. The last trip we made in 2005 to compete in the Wurzburg Half Marathon and 10 mile walk. I recall 17 musical groups were on the roadside encouraging us along.


On the day the majority of the party took to the half marathon while Wilma Davidson our sole walking race competitor finished in determined mood giving one or two of us the thought that we should have a go at a walking race one day.  True to form a large beer truck was present at the end of our race which supplied us with more than enough alcohol to end an afternoon's sporting event.


I have no doubt the Dundee Roadrunners will return to Wurzburg in the future and I know all who have gone in the past have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. There is always a very warm welcome for those who travel over to Germany and being accommodated in the homes of the Wurzburgers guarantees the visitor an insight into German life and culture. 


                                                                                                      Harry Kay 

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