1,300 kilometres by foot in 19 days

Right across Germany, from Sylt to the Zugspitze – Holger Hedelt is taking part in the Deutschlandlauf. And how does he feel after over 600 kilometres?

Holger Hedelt
Runner Holger Hedelt Holger Hedelt

Germany. The Deutschlandlauf is an ultramarathon, and this year 65 men and women are taking part. They will run right across Germany, in 19 stages. 49-year-old Holger Hedelt from Mannheim’s Sandhofen district is taking up the challenge for the first time this year.

Follow Holger Hedelt on instagram.com/deutschland_de

Herr Hedelt, 1,300 kilometres in 19 days – why are you putting yourself through such an ordeal?

It has always been my big dream to compete in the Deutschlandlauf. I’ve been running marathons since 2002 and have already run the 320 kilometres from Berlin to Usedom. I want to find out what my physical limits are. Good training alone is not enough, as the head is also involved. You have to have a strong will.

It was an emotional explosion

Holger Hedelt, ultramarathon runner

How do you motivate yourself?

If, after a very long run, you at long last cross the finishing line, then all the highlights of your life rush past your inner eye. Or that’s what I felt after running 246 kilometres. It was such an emotional explosion and I want to experience that feeling again. After stage 12, from Oberwesel to Westhofen, my wife and son will be standing by the road. That’s massively motivating for me. I’m really looking forward to the moment when I cross the line at the Zugspitze and raise my arms to the sky.

What has surprised you most so far along the route across Germany?

What amazed me is just how many long straight roads there are in Germany. In Hamburg I had the feeling I was running in a straight line for 40 kilometres. And I’ve noticed just how Germany is defined by football: The flags of the local football club fly in each and every town. 

What’s the mood like today, on Day Nine?

I’m really surprised how well it’s going. In the last two years I’ve fought hard to make my comeback after suffering severe injuries and I’m really happy it’s going so well. 

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to my home territory. We’ll be running through Lampertheim, which is only six kilometres from Sandhofen in Mannheim. I’ll run past my favourite ice-cream parlour, and I intend to stop and spoil myself with a cone.

© www.deutschland.de