A running year in retrospect

After having moved from Gabersdorf to Graz in May 2006, it became possible for me to start cultivating a routine of running. Although living in the center of the city, it turned out to be a lot easier for me to run on a regular basis than in Gabersdorf.
In 2007, I ran my first two marathons and in November through Christian Kleineberg, I met Georg Ruess, a champion marathon runner and running coach, who agreed to write my training plans for the next marathons.
With professional plans, the quality and efficiency of my training runs improved in such a way that I was able to boost my marathon record by more than 13 minutes within 6 months. The Linz marathon was not only the first long distance run without break-down on the last 12 km, it was my first marathon in which I was able to increase the speed on the last 7 km, clocking in the 11th fastest time of the whole field between 35 km and 42 km.
My Linz experience provided high motivation for the rest of the year. It turned out that, once again, my body couldn’t keep up with my ambition. Fast and intensive running sessions in May resulted in problems with my achilles tendons which forced me to cancel a half marathon in early June. Our wedding just came at a perfect time in order to give my legs a rest.
I started training for my next marathon in early July and had a good summer. I became 7th in the Römerlauf over 10 ks in July and set a new half marathon record (1:20:16 hrs) in September. The high intensity training at the end of August again affected my achilles tendons and suddenly a big question mark loomed over my next marathon in Graz in October. With the help of my masseur, Leo Winte,r and Dr. Hans Holler, however, I managed to keep those problems in check and was able to start at the Graz marathon well prepared.
The Graz marathon turned out to become the most difficult marathon so far, due to rising temperatures on the second half. Guided and perfectly assisted by Martin Hackl, I managed to complete a marathon, which was hell of a race for many runners, in acceptable 2:54:20 without having to exhaust myself completely. It was a cleverly paced race which saw me at position 64 after 8ks. I completed the first half marathon in 1:25:42 (14,7 km/h, 4:03 min/km) on position 52. After 30 ks (2:03:15, 14,6 km/h, 4:06 min/km) I was 44th. At KM 35, I had advance to position 37 (2:24:20, 14,5 km/h, 4.07 min/km). Also slowing down myself with every kilometer towards the end, my pace was still good, however, in comparison, and thus I kept overtaking runners and finished on position 29 after 42,195 km in 2:54:20 hrs (14,4 km/h, 4:08 min/km).
Also the rest of our team ran great races. Jörg Achten finished on 7th position overall in 2:38 hrs, only 5 runners from Kenia and Ethopia and Erich Kokaly from Villach were faster, thus making him the 2nd fastest runner out of Europe.
Vinzenz Kumpusch surprised with a marvellous run, finishing on 10th position in 2:42 hrs. Vinzenz had been injured all through late July and August, and had not been able to prepare properly for the marathon. In such a light, his performance is exceptional. He seems set for 2:35 hrs and faster in 2009.
Christian Kleineberg, who had had a fantastic year up till then, complemented our team’s strong performance, on position 15 in 2:47 hrs.
Last not least, Klaus Vrisk, the latest addition to our team, ran his first marathon and finished in really good 3:43 hrs.
The overall time of our three fastest runners was 8:07 hrs. Only the African Bushtrekkers Kenya were faster than Jörg, Vinzenz and Christian. This goes to show that as a team we are set to compete with the best teams nationwide. In our next marathon at the Austrian marathon championships in Salzburg we have to confirm our claim and have to prove ourselves in a strong field and a tough, competitive race.