Julius, what was your goal going into the Wings for Life World Run 2017 in Munich?
This year my participation was very short lived. Still, I tried and prepared myself best I could. Being a former top athlete you don’t want to be caught after 5km at such an event (laughs). Regarding that, my goal was to run 10km before the Catcher Car would get me. Therefore, I am quite happy with the 9.76km I managed to run.
How would you describe the feeling of being part of the Wings for Life World Run?
When you start at the Wings for Life World Run, you immediately realize that it is a totally new running experience. Especially at the start there’s an incredible amount of energy and a sense of euphoria in the air, which makes everyone run a lot faster than they should – top runners, as well as hobby runners, like myself. After a quarter of an hour the field pretty much sorted itself out, and I was finally running amongst my equals. But no matter where you eventually get in line, the atmosphere at this race is one of a kind.
What was your personal highlight at this year’s run in Munich?
My absolute highlight was the moment, when I passed a couple of which she was running and pushing her husband, who was sitting in a wheelchair. I passed them at kilometer eight or nine, and I remember thinking: Wow! That’s pretty damn good. Especially since I was pretty much spent at that point already, and I wasn’t pushing anyone. I loved that moment because it beautifully illustrated the cause of the run.
Luckily you captured the moment the Catcher Car passed you with your mobile phone – did the Catcher Car really surprise you that much?
Yes! I was truly surprised. From kilometer nine onwards I was so drained that running wasn’t fun anymore, it was rather a fight (laughs). All of a sudden there is screaming and honking all around me and I thought, what is going on? When I realized that the Catcher Car was quickly closing in on me, it was too late for a final sprint or anything – instead it went real quick. But it was a really cool moment!
After your race, where did you follow the global showdown and what do you think of the top runners’ performances?
I watched the final race action at the starting area. The distances that were coming together towards the end of the race left me deeply impressed! Especially knowing that some of the people running 50km and more aren’t even professional runners. Imagine working a normal job and then delivering such a performance – that’s exceptional! Besides the action on track I really enjoyed the whole live production. It was an outright brilliant event.
What are the chances of seeing you run a half-marathon, or marathon at the Wings for Life World Run in the years to come?
Actually, running a marathon once in my lifetime is a must for me! I usually don’t talk about that, but it is definitely on my list. It’s something that I would love to achieve one day. It would certainly be a big challenge for me, but with the right preparation I am sure I could do it.
What are your plans for next year’s run?
Right now, I have no specific plans. I did think about combining my participation in the Wings for Life World Run with an extended city trip. I wouldn’t fly to another continent to participate in one of the events, but visiting a European city nearby would be great. On the other hand I really enjoyed running in Munich. Maybe I have my little son join me next year, so I can push him in his buggy… we will have to see.