How I shitted my way through Vienna’s half marathon.

The plan for my weekend couple of weeks ago was: 6 am train from Prague to Vienna on Saturday, meet my friend Jens, enjoy the day in Vienna, go for dinner, get a good night sleep, then THE RACE, sauna and spa, eat loads of Sachertorte and train back to Prague on Sunday evening.

And actually, this is what we did… except the Sachertorte on Sunday.

But boy, what a trip (read: race) this was!


(I stole this picture from Google. Thank you, Google!)

By now I have run quite few races and, so far, I loved every minute of every race. Yup, sometimes it was pretty hard, sometimes my legs felt heavy, sometimes I was too cold, sometimes I was too hot but overall I loved every race.

Vienna’s half marathon was the first race I really DID NOT enjoy but it was the first race where I thought I really deserve the medal at the finish line because I didn’t give up!

start numbers vienna

(We look a bit strange on this picture, but it was the sun, I swear!)

I’m sure it has happened to you as well. Life is great, you are feeling great and then BOOM you get a cramp in your belly and you have to go to the toilet straight away or else! Not pleasant but hey, life goes on.

But, has that happened to you during a race when you are supposed to run, where there are only portable loos, where there are lines to get to the loos and where there can be no toilet paper on a loo? Aaa!

If it happened to you, then you know what I’m talking to you, if it hasn’t happened to you, then “lucky you” and let me tell you: It is NOT the best experience.


(Another Google stolen picture… Hmm, bad me.)

Before every race my stomach feels a bit funny since I’m always a bit nervous. So when my stomach was feeling a bit funny on Sunday morning, I didn’t pay too much attention to it. The sun was shining, everyone was smiling, the music at the start line was good. Lovely.

before viennas half

The first 14k were really nice. It was a bit too hot, the route was a bit too crowded but I was enjoying it and I was sure I can finish just a wee bit over 2 hours.


On km 15 my stomach made a strange sound and I knew that I have to RUN for a toilet if I don’t want to shit my pants.

Of course there were no portable loos around (just my luck), so I left the road and raced to the first café. I made it just in time.

Luckily the lady behind the counter was super nice and let me use their toilet. Unluckily their toilet had paper thin walls so I apologize to all the people in the café who had to listen to some very strange sounds. Oops.

I said my embarrassed “DANKE”, smiled at everyone who was trying to enjoy a piece of cake, and off I went back to my race.

As soon as I started to run, I had to go to the toilet again… so back I went to the same café. This time I didn’t even have time to feel embarrassed.

When I got back to the road aka race track, I knew I can’t run because as soon as I run I will have to search for the loo again.

toilet selfie

(This toilet selfie is not from Vienna. Trust me, you would not want to see how I looked in Vienna.) 

From 15k till 20k this is how my race looked:

walk, walk, walk

I see a portable loo – HURRAY

fast sprint and pray there is a toilet paper,

MADE IT in time – YAY

walk, walk, walk

On 18th km I really wanted to give up but my willpower and my stubbornness didn’t allow me to.

On 20th km I started to run and thought, that if I shit myself now it doesn’t matter, because the hotel is close to the finish line.

I don’t think I was ever happier to see the bloody finish line!

Shitty Vienna’s half marathon = 2:24:26

finish line vienna

The three biggest realizations from this experience:

  1. When your stomach hurts before a race it’s not always because you are nervous.
  2. Untying the lace in your running trousers in a BIIIG hurry is pure evil (I had to rip mine off).
  3. Everyone who walks during a race has a story to tell and my utmost respect.

Have you ever had a “shitty” experience?

Have you ever walked during a race and thought about giving up?


P.S. Whoever invented portable loos is my HERO. I had to use them 8x between 15th and 20th km.

P.P.S. I will forever love a random fellow runner stranger who gave me a pack of tissues when there was no toilet paper.

P.P.P.S. And just for the record: I did not shit my pants! (I almost did but luckily almost doesn’t count :)


  1. Jaj, tak to sis pěkně užila závod :-( Já jsem v neděli předbíhala paní, která to nestihla. Bylo to asi dva kilometry před cílem, tak už si možná taky říkala, že bydlí kousek od cíle. Bylo mi jí líto :-(


  2. Bravo to you for sticking with it and finishing! :) I think the fear of not making it to the next toilet would have been enough to deter me but you never know what you’re capable of making it through until you’ve been in that situation.
    Not nearly on the same level but I was out for a walk a couple nights ago and about 1.5 miles from my apartment on an isolated trail my stomach began grumbling. I had planned to go further but decided I might want to head home because for some reason my stomach was not happy. It was terrible but I was just glad I made it home without an incident.


  3. oh my goodness.!! what a horrible racing experience.! I am very lucky to have never had to experience something like that.. I’ve had instances where I’ve had an upset stomach and as soon as I stopped running, I had to run to the bathroom. ha sorry about your experience.


  4. Wow… I would have given up :-) I would have run around a loo :-)))))
    And I loved you stolen pictures :-) Especially the sacher… although it remembered me of the first and last time I ate it in Vienna… and forgot my camera in the cafe…. :-)))


  5. You sure are a fighter!! I’ve never had an experience like this in a race, but on training runs – yup! I learned to use my treadmill when my stomach was having an off day so if things got ugly all I had to do was jump off and run to the bathroom.
    Congrats on finishing!! What a fast time too considering you walked and had all those bathroom breaks! I’m so impressed! Seriously though, whatever you ate the night before or something, don’t eat it again!!


    • Good thinking with the treadmill!

      Haha! Thanks – this is now the worst half marathon time I have ever had. Even my first half marathon was faster than this, but hey ho… :)


  6. AHH THE TROTS! I have indeed experienced this in a race, but not quite this bad. The worst was on a 9 mile training run where I legit ran into the bushes by my house because despite how close I was I didn’t think I’d make it. I did, thank god. Way to finish strong!


  7. Omg… that is such a sad but yet funny story!! I seriously cannot use the restroom in public places (well when its number 2) hahah. But, hey! At least you finished! Congrats :D


  8. Aww I am sorry but I laughed out loud reading this… The fact that you had to go into the cafe a second time! It sure sounds like a memorable race! :)


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