It doesn’t have to be the New York Marathon that you absolutely have to have run. Our columnist especially likes these small runs that few people know about. One in particular appealed to him.

Little Red Riding Hood stage, Sleeping Beauty stage, Snow White stage, Frau Holle stage, Hansel and Gretel stage, from June 10th to 12th, a little over 300 runners are currently running 81.3 kilometers through the Vogelsberg and the Wetterau.

One of the loveliest and most beautiful runs in Germany takes place in the middle of the Main-Kinzig district. Runners from all parts of Germany set off every year. What sounds so sweet and lovely is tough competitive sport.

Friday begins with a 14 kilometer stage. Flat, asphalt, some forest, you curl up. There are two stages each on Saturday and Sunday, with a break of several hours in between. This is particularly bad because the body shuts down completely. And then suddenly have to deliver top performance again.

Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “If you move, you achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite topic. He has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day for the past seven years, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons. So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiß lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne. He writes about running here every Thursday.

The first few meters of every second daily stage feel like cotton in your head. And yet you float as if on clouds, inspired by a piece of nature that is simply magically beautiful. The “Brothers Grimm Run” is not made for world records, it will never be part of the mass runs, and it will probably only be mentioned here once on this large platform. And that’s good. So this small runner island remains an insider tip.

It’s not a run for everyone. It’s a run for people who can walk properly. Who can complete many meters of altitude, but who enjoy it. It’s a run for people who can do well over 30 kilometers a day, in heat, storm and rain. The weather in the Wetterau can be moody. The Brothers Grimm Run is for everyone who can simply get fruit, bananas, water and biscuits at a supply point. Which the encouraging words of the many volunteer helpers go down better than any artificial power gel.

And it is a run for all those for whom togetherness means more than their own best time. On the heights and in the depths of the Vogelsberg people laugh, cry, curse and fight together. Anyone who has run the BGL once will do it again and again. Rarely have I experienced a run that acquires so many repeat runners. There is something loving about the BGL. It is probably the love of nature that connects the BGL runners. And nowhere are more friendships formed than during this run. I am sure. For me personally, this run is the best of all.

I ran it for the first time years ago with a friend I knew at the time. It was during the BGL that we really got to know each other. The “Brothers Grimm Lauf” made us real friends years ago. Today we are best friends. In the meantime we have run it almost every year, the BGL has become a kind of ritual. Sometimes he gave me strength over these many kilometers, sometimes the other way around. Just as we help each other in some situations in life, we have always been side by side in this competition.

I was hoping that we could start together this year, it would have been a celebration for me, the first BGL after the pandemic. But it’s not supposed to be like that: He was injured for a long time, I have to slowly fight my way back after the pulmonary embolism and Corona. We’ve both learned the hard way that there’s no point in being unreasonable. And we really like to be unreasonable.

So the “Brothers Grimm Run” will start without us, but what remains for us is: The friendship. That’s why we run. And that’s what we fought for. And won. So often.

We both realized how important it is in life to have common goals, to take each other on the journey. In preparation for this demanding run, we repeatedly ran individual stages as a test.

Almost every time we learned something from it. We shared our worries, we laughed and paused, exchanged thoughts, all of which brought us forward.

Personally, but also in training. We are both grateful that this run exists. And cheer everyone on the BGL days.

May Mother Holle be well with all mine.

That’s how it works.