Length 11.5 km (7.2 miles), terrain: flat, gain 105 meters
Herzogenaurach is a small Frankish town, with just 22,000 people, not far from Nuremberg. The old-town is nice enough, but not spectacular enough to attract a lot of tourists. But it's the home of some world-class companies, meaning a lot of business travelers find themselves spending their evenings there.
For one thing, there is the huge Schaeffler bearings factory, precision parts supplier for car companies worldwide. And much more famous among runners are the two athletic shoe makers, Adidas and Puma. The two rivals were once one company, belonging to the Dassler brothers (Adidas = Adi Dassler). But the brothers had a bitter dispute on how to run the company, so they split it into two, and each brother took one of their two factories in Herzogenaurach, facing each other across the little river.
|The fountain in Herzogenaurach|
So, it's definitely an interesting town for us runners. And while on a business trip to Puma, I got to try some running routes in the surrounding, rolling Frankish countryside.
|The Aurach River|
So, are you ready to get a taste of Frankish country life? Then let's go to the center of the old-town, to the 600-year-old Fehnturm, a medieval tower, on the Hauptstraße. The tower rises above some beautiful half-timbered buildings, with the old town hall and the church nearby.
|Start of the run, at the Fehlturm|
When you see the modern Puma headquarters on the left side, turn into their parking lot and run to the back of the property, where a riverside park awaits.
|The author wearing his Adidas shirt at the Puma HQ: sorry about that!|
|Michael-Kress-Weg with trail markers|
|Along the Dohnwald|
|Horses grazing along the trail|
This dirt road ends at the bridge into the village, where you turn right and run straight north past a couple of restaurants in the heart of the village. Look for the little monument across the main street and go there to follow the trail through the park that leads up the hill, with some steps taking you to the top. This is a modern neighborhood of single-family homes.
|Monument and park in Falkendorf: head straight up there!|
Now head east, past the tennis club, until you get to a paved little road heading north, where you turn left. We're running to the next village in the distance, Hammerbach.
|Crossing the fields to Hammerbach|
|Chapel in Hammerbach|
At the clubhouse, turn left to run along this quiet road between fields. The road ends after a few hundred meters, but continues as a dirt track through a tree-lined meadow.
You'll now come to a pond, used for raising carp, a popular fish for eating during the colder months of the year. This is actually a series of many ponds linked together, going down the hillside. These chains of carp ponds are common in the area, and if you fly in, you're sure to see them from the air.
|At the carp ponds|
You soon come to the main road again, at Welkenbach. But there at the bus-stop, we'll get away from the traffic by taking the next left turn onto Welkenbacher Kirchweg. This quiet street goes past a few farms and fields, heading straight back into Herzogenaurach.
You'll run past the big, red-roofed rehab clinic for people with heart- or orthopedic problems at the 10-km mark. Then head onwards, downhill into town.
|Madonna statue in the old town|