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„I want to run New York“

After her sensational race in Gothenburg Ulrike Maisch speaks about European victory and the next goals


Ulrike Maisch got her first European title in Gothenburg.
© Photo Run / Jiro Mochizuki

Ulrike Maisch sensationally won gold in the marathon at the European Championships in Gothenburg. The German ran a new personal best of 2:30:01 hours, finishing in the Ullevi Stadium. It was her second marathon this year, after she had run in Hamburg in April. In November 2004 she had a foot surgery.    

You are the first German to have won an international marathon title. How does it feel?

Ulrike Maisch: „That is fantastic. I still can’t believe it. I never had thought about winning the marathon here or even winning a medal. A place among the top eight was my goal. So I guess I will be in the history books now.”  

When did you realize that you would win the gold medal?

Ulrike Maisch: „First I had not thought about gold. As I saw the third runner in front of me I wanted to pass her so badly since a fourth place would have been the worst place. When I passed her, I knew that she wouldn’t be able to overtake me again. I know that if I pass somebody she is not able to pass me again. Then I suddenly saw the second placed runner and I couldn’t believe it. When I then saw the leading Russian I chased her and finally took the lead. I then realized that I would win the race and thought about my family in the stadium and my friends in front of the TV. Then I suddenly saw the stadium approaching and almost started to cry.“   

The conditions of the race weren’t that good. Was it nevertheless a perfect race?

Ulrike Maisch: „Definitely. There couldn’t have been better conditions for me. It just rained slightly and the wind wasn’t a problem since I had run in the group for a long time. There I was protected from the wind. When I started to run alone the wind wasn’t that bad anymore. The course was great for me. I like it when it is a bit hilly and here in Gothenburg the course was hilly. The initial pace was very slow and that was as well perfect for me.”  

Weren’t you a little bit alarmed when the Russians increased the pace?

Ulrike Maisch: „No, because I knew that I would have to run my own race and I wouldn’t have run with them anyway. I thought they would be faster at the beginning. But it was good for me that they didn’t, so I was able to get them in the end. If I would have stayed with them I wouldn’t have been able to keep up in the end.”   

How did you prepare for the European Championships?

Ulrike Maisch: „I have trained in St. Moritz in Switzerland. That was good since I already trained in a hilly environment. That paid off here. I was running about 150 k a week, but I have to say that I am a runner who does not do high mileage. I rather go hiking or do aqua jogging. I was in a very good shape and I proved it here.”   

You were running your first marathon in 2000. What did you do before?

Ulrike Maisch: „I did multiple track events first and my dad used to coach me. Then the wall came down and somehow I stuck with running. It was the event I liked the most. When I was younger I used to run between 3,000 and 10,000 metres on the track. My first marathon was in Berlin in 2000. I clocked 2:40 and my coach said I should continue running marathons. He said taking into account the limited preparations I did the result was very good. So that is why I am running the marathon now. So far I was able to improve my personal best at every single marathon I ran.”

You are now the European Champion. What is next?  

Ulrike Maisch: „First of all I have to realize that it all real. I know that those chances, to win an international title, won’t come often. At World Championships or Olympic Games the Asians as well as the Africans are too strong. I will prepare now for my next marathon. I want to run the New York City Marathon. I always wanted to go there once so as I am invited now, I should take the opportunity. My goal is to clock sub 2:31 hours and the hilly course in New York should suit me. Sure I know that I won’t be able to run for one of the first positions, but maybe I can finish within the top ten.“  

You don’t look like the typical runner. Is that an advantage?

Ulrike Maisch: „For me it is an advantage. I have never been as skinny as most runners. I personally think that this is why I have the power to come back in the end of a race. It happens quite often that I am passing runners in the final part because everybody else is getting tired.”     


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