For many ultrarunners, it’s not just the distance and the natural views, but also the challenging conditions and demanding terrains that make the ultra experience so appealing.
We’ve already covered the distance, and there’s a reason the Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The weather on Sylt will be unpredictable throughout the day. However, we haven’t had many sections that harken back to the trail-running origins of our sport. So, brace yourselves, as the next 8 km will be the most “trail-like” of the entire run.
Our route, coming from Keitum, takes us through Sylt’s oldest nature reserve, the Morsumer Kliff. It’s a cliff coast that we traverse along the Wadden Sea. Comprising up to eight million-year-old earth layers, it’s one of the few places in Schleswig-Holstein where rock from a pre-glacial era is visible. If you focus your gaze on the layers during a walking break, you’ll see the results of the last ice ages. What’s intriguing about this formation is that here, the layers aren’t stacked on top of each other but, due to geological progression, almost side by side. The primary result, the cliff and its sand dunes, are only around 10,000 years old. So, at this point, we’re essentially journeying through Earth’s history. We’re also at the easternmost point of the run. Morsum, the village, lies far behind us, and we get very close to the Hindenburgdamm. It’s one of the quietest and loneliest sections of the run after the Ellenbogen, shortly after the start.
There are also a few, very moderate elevation gains (21 m), which, given the distance covered and the weather conditions, can sting a bit. Depending on the weather, the ground can be somewhat muddy but is mostly sandy. There are occasional wooden boardwalks as we make our way to the next refreshment station at the Morsum Kliff parking lot. It’s crucial to always stay on the designated path, as setting foot on the Kliff itself is strictly prohibited to preserve this unique natural landscape for future generations.