Rennsteiglauf Marathon

Quick facts

Location Thuringian Forest., Germany

Distance Marathon

Date 18 May, 2019

About Rennsteiglauf Marathon

Follow us to the courses of Europe’s largest and most iconic trail race event. It is here, right in the beautiful upland scenery of the Thuringian Forest, that about 15,000 passionate runners come together for their annual highlight, the Rennsteiglauf race, in mid-May every year. Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, the famous staple of Thuringian dumplings and the local fried sausage, well-prepared courses along the Rennsteig, Germany’s most famous long distance hiking trail, green wooded hills and valleys, among them the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Vessertal, legendary, fairy-tale and mysterious places, good accessibility and accommodation in central Germany, very special refreshments for the runners consisting in Köstritzer Schwarzbier black lager beer and oatmeal gruel, and the “world’s greatest finish line at Schmiedefeld”. All of these make up our popular Rennsteiglauf event, but why not check it out for yourselves. The backdrop to the unforgettable moment of crossing the finish line is not a city of grand buildings. Schmiedefeld – the world’s greatest finish – is a place of not even 2,000 inhabitants. Its sports ground is not called stadium or arena. A village of containers and tents is set up on the site. The showers only are in a permanent building. The atmosphere at the party in the evening after the race is legendary. Also the food before, during and after the race differs from that at the city marathons. On the eve of the race, instead of having a pasta party, Thuringian potato dumplings are served with goulash or beef rolls – free of charge, by the way. During the race the runners can replenish their stores not only by means of energy bars and gels, there is also clear soup and bread with cold cuts or dripping. The Rennsteig magic potion is oatmeal gruel. And the beer after the finish line is not a white brand, but Köstritzer Schwarzbier black lager, in fact regional products are given priority throughout, not least to cut transport distances. Whether in starting the Supermarathon in Eisenach at the foot of Wartburg Castle or running the Marathon course in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Vessertal, the Rennsteiglauf race offers live experience of our UNESCO World and Natural Heritage sites. We invite you to enjoy the cultural offer and the countryside of Thuringia also before and after the running event.


Neuhaus am Rennweg – Apelsberg (820 m above sea level)

Neuhaus am Rennweg, Germany


Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig (711 m above sea level)

Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig, Germany




The Rennsteig is a ridgeway on the high ground of the Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Slate Mountains and the Franconian Forest. It extends 168.3 km in northwest-to-southeast direction between the rivers Werra and Saale. In mid-May every year it magically attracts over ten thousand trail enthusiasts from Germany and all over the world. They are participants in the GutsMuths-Rennsteiglauf race. What once was an adventure taken by four Jena students has in over 40 years developed into one of the major German running events.


From the starting area the race initially enters the “narrow” street leading out of Neuhaus. There is a nearly 6 km stretch to be run on a road surface before, after the first drink station at “Sandwieschen” (km 5.81 / 777 m above sea level), the race continues on a forest trail. At km 10.63 participants reach the first food station at “Dreistromstein” (812 m), which is looked after by WSV Scheibe-Alsbach winter sports club. Refreshed, participants tackle uphills and downhills towards “Eisfelder Ausspanne” (km 15.76 / 752 m) and from there continue uphill to the highest elevation of the Marathon course, the “Eselsberg” (km 18.3 / 841 m) with its Rennsteigwarte observation tower, a landmark on the Rennsteig trail. A food station is set up here by SG “Rennsteig” Masserberg sports group and there is split timing. Now the route is downhill. When crossing the road at Rennsteighaus (km 19.25 / 785) runners have already tackled a 56 m elevation change. Passing the meadow behind Masserberg the race moves towards the next drink station at Schwalbenhauptwiese (km 22.2 / 703 m), where Wanderverein Schleusegrund hiking club distributes refreshments. But participants need to be alert. Before arriving at the drink station they have to tackle a hollow-way downhill over rough and smooth and roots. A real cross-country trail indeed. In parallel with the road the Rennsteig leads towards Neustadt. The route crosses the road at Kahlert über den Tannengrund and then continues to where it enters Neustadt. On the fairground there is the food station (km 28.3 / 805 m) set up by Laufgruppe Neustadt runners group. Following the refreshment the climb via Großer Burgberg (818 m) can now be tackled. It is a steep uphill and tends to be taken at walking pace. But the next drink station at “Dreiherrenstein” (km 33.4 / 810 m), which is looked after by IG Stützerbach, is not far away. From there, the route is slightly downhill towards Frauenwald. At the “Monument am Bohrstuhl” (km 37.1 / 786 m) Frauenwälder SV sports club distributes a last refreshment to the runners. Those who wish may have a “sip” of Köstritzer Schwarzbier black lager beer here as an energy boost for the last few kilometres to Schmiedefeld. Schmiedefeld, the finish – just across the level crossing and a left turn into “Reitallee” street. The uphill to the sports ground from 622 m above sea level to 711 m above sea level is a real challenge for every marathoner. The finish area buzz can be heard already. The final stretch of the course lined by a big crowd of cheering spectators, every runner will go all-out. Just half a lap to go and then cross the finish line.

The race information has been found on the official website of the event or through publicly available sources. Always refer to the official website the latest race information. Please let us know if any data is wrong or missing, by emailing us.