The 24 year old completed the distance in a terrific 9 hours, 36 minutes and 45 seconds and as a result ranked this day as one of the best and most exciting of his life. "He is so good we'll get him below the nine hours overall time yet", reckoned trainer Bennie Lindberg afterwards, who with the support of Memmert had taken over coaching the team.
It is not easy to train for high performance sport alongside the job, and for this reason Lindberg has devised a special training programme so as not to be disheartened of one or the other challenge, but on the contrary, to be more motivated and more effective in all areas. The other two individual starters Mario Giurdanella and Christiane Riefler-Karpa also managed to accomplish the self-imposed target, to tough it out, to withstand the highs and the lows of the competition and to win through at the end.
Another hero of the day was Peter Krieger of Memmert Relay Team I. For years, the final marathon has been his major discipline. His team mates Carsten Angermeyer and Ronald Mühe had performed excellently in swimming and cycling, Ronald Mühe undercut his best time on the 180 kilometre cycling course by, believe it or not, 23 minutes thanks to his optimal preparation.
A few days before the competition, severe influenza had however put an end to Peter Krieger's aim of also exceeding his personal best. Against all common sense he entered in spite of not having completely recovered because he did not want to let down his team. And somewhere from about kilometre 20, as his legs almost gave up the ghost, what team spirit coupled with willpower is capable of achieving became evident.
Accompanied by Christiane Riefler-Karpa, who met him on the course, he fought through to the finish. His fans swayed between relief, emotion and adulation, amongst them several MIP guests from the executive meeting, that had taken place the same weekend.
For all three participants of the second Memmert Relay Team Sunday was a competition debut. Norbert Richter had prepared himself thoroughly. Over the past year, he had covered 3,500 kilometres on his bicycle, and had even prepared himself in a training camp on Majorca. Even so, none of the three could guess how the competition would actually turn out. "In no way can the atmosphere during the race be compared to training sessions", explained swimmer Peter Englisch. "However, one must survive, otherwise the others just stand there alone", he continued laughingly.
It was also similar for Harald von Blumenthal who completed his very first marathon on Sunday. "Because of my lactate values it was predicted that I would fail", he said, smilingly sending a sideswipe in the direction of coach Bennie Lindberg, "but it was quite astonishing how simple it was at the end.” Socke, his dog, was also allowed to accompany his smiling master to the finish, where the day's winner Rasmus Henning was waiting with the medals. "Shall I hang it on you or the dog?" asked the immensely likeable Dane, who then took time to chat a little with the team.
That is how it is at the Challenge Roth. No airs and graces, close contact with the World's best, and a convivial, relaxed atmosphere from early morning until late into the night. Memmert will return, Roth, no doubt of that!
Participant Total time
(3,86 km swimming,
180 km cycling,
42,195 km running)
Christiane Riefler-Karpa 13:42:51
Matthias Grosser 09:36:45
Mario Giurdanella 11:19:34
Team Memmert 1
(Angermeyer, Mühe, Krieger) 11:27:52
Team Memmert 2
(Englisch, Richter, von Blumenthal) 12:00:12
Photo credits: Salvatore Giurdanella www.foto-salvatore.de