FKT: Wiebke Ringel, Christian Schout, Stefanie Schout - Tour de Vogel (Karlsruhe, Germany) - 2023-06-24

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Mixed-gender team
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 37m 7s
GPS track(s)

While Courtney Dauwalter set out to smash the course record at Western States, halfway across the globe the Karlsruhe Project - Chrissi, Steffi & Wiebke - set out to conquer a very different type of endurance challenge: the Tour de Vogel (TdV), which connects the three Vogelbräu pubs in Karlsruhe, Durlach and Ettlingen.

Though not quite covering the distance from Squaw Valley to Auburn, the TdV offers a unique reward: stop and order a large beer (or non-alcoholic beverage) at each location and get the third drink on the house! Given Courtney’s well-documented love for beer, we’re sure the GOAT herself would approve...

Dislaimer: the drinking pitstops are not a mandatory part of completing the FKT!

The TdV has been on our running team’s bucket list for a while now, so we were looking forward to embarking on a beer&run biathlon, combining two of our favourite pastimes. We left our bikes at the Karlsruhe pub, our final destination, and started our loop on foot from there. Hoping to avoid the beer garden crowds, we began our run at 10:20 am. With the current heat wave in Germany, temperatures were already climbing and sweat began to drip while we made our way from Karlsruhe Oststadt to Rüppur. We sure felt like we were actually competing in the Californian heat of Auburn (well, almost).

Adding unintended thrills to our trail adventure, we had a jump scare on the first kilometres as Steffi was attacked by a large dog after rounding a corner and got a bloody knee for her trouble…from jumping out of the way, not from being bitten. Still, Steffi definitely won this round of blood, sweat & tears. The dog’s owner was largely unconcerned by the whole situation and mostly fixated on her phone. For the record, we’re not bashing any dogs here, we’re bashing dog owners who don’t train their dogs and who pay zero attention when out and about…

We finally made it to safer waters, reaching Rüppur and enjoying the shade along the banks of the river Alb before crossing through the fields between Karlsruhe and Ettlingen and facing the scorching heat again.

After 10 kilometres, and the occasional navigation-related bickering between Steffi (who as usual had diligently planned the whole tour in advance) and Chrissi (who as usual hadn’t even looked at the map once), we reached our first stop at the Ettlingen Vogelbräu and ordered our first round: a Summer Brew Special for Chrissi and two Radler for Steffi and Wiebke. For the uninitiated, Radler aka beer mixed with lemonade/lemon-flavoured soda is a staple in German Biergarten culture…and yes, it totally counts towards the TdV beer tally.

The second leg of the route took us from Ettlingen into the forest and up the rolling climbs of the Saumweg trail. Some of us felt positively invigorated by the beer and all but flew over the trails, while others positively struggled and were left wheezing even by the gentlest of climbs. But when we arrived at our second stop, the Vogelbräu in Durlach, everyone on the team was in equally good spirits and agreed that this part of the tour had definitely been the most fun. We ordered a proper beer each for our second round, together with a round of Bretzel with sweet mustard to re-fuel (highly recommended).

Despite being the shortest part of the tour, with just under 5 kilometres to go, the final stretch from Durlach back to Karlsruhe was not without challenges. A good part of the route runs along a busy road and offers little to no cover from the sun. At this point, we were feeling the burn, both from the sun and from the workout, especially when forced to stop at several traffic lights. With a collective cry of relief, the Karlsruhe Vogelbräu came into sight and we finally collected our reward: a free round of beers! Starving, or maybe just suffering from heat stroke and/or beer munchies, we also ordered panini sandwiches with fries and fully enjoyed a lazy beer garden afternoon.

Courtney, if you’re ever in the Black Forest region, give as a shout: we can’t keep up with your pace but we’ll happily introduce you to the amazing Vogelbräu brews!