At each of my 202020 runs I will hope to track down one or two of the fine folk who toed the start line with me and find out what the race meant to them.
Dr. Hans-Peter Gräbel
A quietly humoured business director from Wels in Austria, Hans-Peter finished a minute and a half ahead of me in Zurich. He also fronted a little pod of over 50 year old men that pushed me back from 7th to 11th in category. I hadn’t noticed this, perhaps I would have mustered up my kick finish sooner had I spotted the group.
Hans-Peter trains in enviable countryside, cold and snowy. His business operates in clinical sterilisation and hygiene, a business that seemed to me to fit the serious and level-headed runner that I met. He seems to take his running seriously too and uses it as a way of generating a positive vibe.
Zurich was his first marathon, for a serious runner, possibly putting a time marker down, it is an unusual choice being a cold night run with off road sections to negotiate.
Before going to Zurich I imagined the midnight novelty would be the main motivator for running it but in Hans-Peter’s case I was wrong. For him, and in fact for others that I spoke to, it was just a matter of convenience, an event scheduled at a time of year when there is time in life to commit to a run.
- Why did you choose Neujahrmarathon Zurich for your first marathon?
I was looking for a marathon around Christmas and Zurich was the only one I could find.
In October I decided I wanted to do a marathon at the end of the year because I’d had a bad year, and I wanted to end 2019 positively with a success.
- Did you enjoy the event?
Yes, much better than expected. But I came only for running at 23:40 and left before 4am.
- Did you feel a sense of achievement at the end?
I missed my plan (3:29 h) but I was very happy doing my first marathon with success. I ran at a very constant pace with the last quarter being my fastest.
- Will you be doing another marathon (or ultramarathon) this year?
One, perhaps two in daylight and without gloves, perhaps Linz (5.4.20) or Vienna (20.4.20)
I’ve tracked Hans-Peter on Strava – well in fact he tracked me, thanking me for running with him (for offering him a target to overtake, I imagine!) So, I’ll keep an eye out on these spring marathons. I hope he does Vienna, simply because of the link to recent marathon history. Though I have to say, Linz is also very welcoming town, and a gateway to the wonderful Salzkammergut mountains. Fond memories, I visited for Travel IQ magazine in the late 90s.
Best of luck Hans-Peter, will raise a glass if you break 3.30.