The König Ludwig Lauf is held every year on the first weekend of February, and is known by the local people by it’s nickname, “Luggi”. It is the most popular race in Germany and this year marks it’s 38th running. It is part of the Worldloppet, Euroloppet, and DSV cross country skiing series.
The race is run from Oberammergau, a small village in the Bavarian Alps of South Germany, right near the border of Austria. The usual 50km course winds through the Graswang valley, with the Ammergau Alps towering overhead. This year, though, there was little snow to work with, and the race was instead run on a 21 kilometer loop – one lap for the short distance races and two laps for the full marathons.
3500 racers from 32 nations raced in one of four events over the weekend: Saturday’s 21 and 42 km skate races, and Sunday’s 21 and 42 classic races, of which the 42 classic was the main event.
The Aukland brothers of Norway took first and second, but it was Anders Aukland who won the race over brother . Last year it was also Anders who beat his brother, taking fourth to Jorgen’s 6th place at this event. This year, however, Jorgen came into the race with a higher ranking on the FIS points list, after taking 5th at the Jizerski Padeska and 3rd at the Marcialonga. Anders took this year’s victory by finishing over a minute ahead of Jorgen in a relatively short race in which his winning time was 1:44:13.
The Ludwig Lauf is not part of the FIS Marathon Cup, and may be a reason that there were fewer elite marathon cup racers in the event. Stanislov Rezac (CZE) however, was in the race to defend last year’s title. He ended up sprinting toward the finish with three competitors – Jorgen Aukland, John Bjorgaard (NOR), and Martin Sutter (AUT) – who finished less than 3 seconds apart in that order, Rezac the last of the pack to cross the line in 5th place.
In the women’s race Suri Karjaluoto of Finland won the race in 2:10:11. Martina Stursova of Poland finished one and a half minutes back, for second place.
The top U.S. finisher was in the men’s race: William Bothe of Park City, in 186th, with a time of 2:12:04.