Andi, at the Wings for Life World Run 2017 in Vienna you managed to run an incredible 44.22km before being caught by the Catcher Car – what’s your take on this year’s race?
On that special day I said to myself before the race, that I would give it my very best, no matter what. Like all starters, I knew I am running for those who can’t, which is why I wanted to go all out to see how far I could run. Without the charitable background of the race however, I would never try and run a marathon (laughs).
Prior to the start you described how in 2016 you over paced at the beginning and had to pay for it during the last 20km – did you manage to pace yourself better this time around?
(laughs) Far from it. I ran the first 10km in 39 minutes! For someone like me that’s way too fast. After the half marathon marker, where I stood at 1h and 25min, I knew that I would once again have to pay for my early euphoria. From kilometer 25 onwards, when I had to deal with the first cramps, the fight was on. At kilometer 33 I thought: Andi, you are done…
Who, or what kept you motivated and running at that point?
I remembered that I promised myself before the race that I would never give up and stop, no matter what happened. I rather would have crawled until the Catcher Car caught me. But giving up was never an option. Then, at kilometer 37, Austrian female winner Karin Freitag effortlessly passed me, making me feel like I was going backwards… That moment motivated me to clench my teeth once more and be like: Alright Andi, this year I will go for the marathon, no matter what! Then, after reaching the 42km marker, all I did was wait for the Catcher Car to finally release me from my suffering…
After coming back to the starting area and seeing how Lemawork Ketema, Bartosz Olszewski and Co. were running 80km and more – how did that make you feel?
I was absolutely fascinated, what these guys are capable of! The same goes for Aron Anderson, who managed to reach 92km in his wheelchair – that’s unbelievable. After all, that’s the cruel thing about the Wings for Life World Run: The faster you run, the further you have to run! With every other race, if you run faster, you reach the goal line earlier. That’s why at one point during my own race I thought to myself: Actually, you are a real idiot, speeding things up like that (laughs). But I couldn’t help it.
Regardless of your performance: what did it feel like being part of the Wings for Life World Run once again?
It was extremely emotional and really amazing. Especially during the start when they played the song “I am from Austria”, and the giant flag was being passed over everyone’s head, and the big globe was being kicked around – that was really cool! That very moment I knew, that I wanted to be part of the run again in 2018 and experience that unique vibe once more.