FKT: Nico Schifferdecker, Thomas Leier - Murgleiter (Germany) - 2021-09-12

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
23h 19m 8s

This was our second attempt on the Murgleiter (, which is not only Germany’s third most beautiful multi-stage hiking trail but also means something special for us. The path leads through the valley of the river Murg along the cities Forbach and Gaggenau, where we grew up and spent at least half our lives there. Due to its relentless climbs and descents along the entire route, the Murgleiter is the most notorious as well as intimidating hiking trail among local residents including our friends and family. Thus, after the aborted attempt from June 2020, it was obligatory for us to start out once again with the goal to complete all five stages of this beast at a stretch.

After a 70km drive followed by a short walk, we reached the southern starting point of the route, the 1.055 m high plateau of the Schliffkopf, which is also a famous landmark in the Black Forest National Park. The sun had just risen at 6:53 a.m. on September 11, 2021, when we hit the start buttons of our watches and set off towards the north. Like last year, we chose this direction with the aim to finish in Gaggenau mainly for logistical and safety reasons. Since we live nearby the northern end of the trail, this will ensure a worry-free way home when we are tired and exhausted. Another advantage is the fact that we have friends in proximity to the route who could help in the event of emergencies, which are more likely the longer the day lasts. The situation that the route has less climb but more downhill in this direction might be a benefit but could be a penalty as well, which strongly depends on the type of runner you are.

Different to the first attempt is the sad fact that only two of the previously four runners were able to face this challenge again. Our two friends Andreas and Tobias dropped out at kilometer 63 last year. Both got knee problems during this section and walked with a limp to the next possible exit point in Forbach. Andreas even had to undergo a knee surgery and months later, he is still not able to run properly. Another indication how demanding the elevation profile of this route is, also for experienced athletes. That day, we went on in twos, but were forced to quit after 98 kilometers when Thomas suddenly suffered from severe stomachaches and could not walk a single step further.

Consequently, we modified the following parameter for our second attempt:

  • Start in the early morning instead of in the night, which allows us to pass the more unpredictable and deserted parts of the trail with the highest altitudes in the unfrequented areas of the Northern Black Forest at the beginning of the endeavor.
  • We asked our Friend Markus Klumpp to join us as “safety runner” for the final stage from Gernsbach to Gaggenau (23 kilometers). Just in case one of us drops out, the other one could finish the remaining distance together with him, since continuing alone in such a condition through the dark woods of the Black Forest would simply be too dangerous.
  • Because this automatically meant that our second attempt would be “supported”, we made provisions for seven “aid stations” along the route (KM 25, 37, 45, 63, 83, 98), which were conducted by our friends and family. In contrast to last year were we aimed for a “self-supported” attempt with six pre-cached food bags, this would allow us to be more gentle to the stomach with some warm soup or tea in addition to the obligatory "runner snacks".
  • In addition, this would give Christina (the wife of Andreas) the occasion to join us for the first 37 kilometers. As a mother of three, she haven’t had time any more for actual races or even training runs of more than 10k, which is why this made it to her special sports challenge of the year.
  • We scheduled an overall duration of 24 hours for the entire route instead of the overambitious goal of 18 hours from the last year. We planned 12 hours for the first “half” of the trail until KM 63 and another 12 hours for the remaining 47 kilometers, considering that this second part will take place in the dark and contain the longest climbs. In addition, this will give us the opportunity to savor each and every of the seven aid stations with a break of around 30 minutes, which will also help to preserve a well-functioning stomach. However, our goal was to finish “sub 24” with the elapsed time and “sub 18” for the moving time.
  • At the “halfway” point in Forbach we deposited a bag with changing clothes, a second pair of shoes, a new rucksack and headlamps in order to start fresh and prepared into the night.

How this plan actually worked out, can be seen in this video compilation:

This much I will tell you: The last 12 kilometer section of the route definitely was an epic battle but we were able to maintain an advantage of 30 minutes ahead of plan from the first aid station until the finish line and thus completed the route within the self-set goals (23:19 elapsed time / 17:40 moving time).

Our heartfelt thanks to:

  • My partner Sandra for driving us to starting point in the very early morning.
  • Andreas with the kids for providing the first two aid stations in Tonbach (KM 25) and Huzenbach (KM 37) and the sweet pastries from the bakery, we know you would rather have joined us.
  • Christina for running with us on the first 37 kilometers, it was an outstanding performance.
  • Peter for visiting us with the bike on the second and third aid station.
  • My Dad Fritz for arranging the third aid station in Schönmünzach (KM 45).
  • Wolfgang (the Dad of Christina) for allowing us to change in his garage in Forbach (KM 63) and also to Andreas and Christina for preparing the hot noodle soup.
  • Manuel with Alina and Tobias with Anne for cheering when we passed Gausbach (KM 65).
  • Tobias for serving snacks and drinks out of the trunk of his car aka “aid station 4” in the late evening in Obertsrot (KM 83).
  • Markus L. for bringing the superb hot chicken soup to the sixth aid station in Gernsbach (KM 88).
  • My Trail-Angel Sandra for managing the seventh and last aid station at the Wolfsschlucht (KM 98) in the middle of the night with the stomach tea, this definitely saved the day.
  • Andreas and Markus L. for awaiting us in Gaggenau at the Murgleiter Portal, for taking the finisher photos and the ride home.
  • Markus Klumpp for joining us in Gernsbach at some ungodly hours in the middle of the night and taking care of us during the final 23 kilometers, you did a great job.
  • Sandra for washing my dirty smelly clothes.


Please note: Thomas recorded with an old Fenix 3 Garmin watch. When he tried to charge the battery at the stop in Forbach, the watch crashed. He restarted the tracking from thereon, but after some other 23 kilometers it died completely (both partial tracks from Garmin connect are linked). I can assure that he run the full route and finished side by side together with me. In addition Markus can testify this for the final 23 kilometers (his Strava track is linked as well).