Triathlete Jan Frodeno in an interview about Ironman in Hawaii

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Ironman Thorsten Schröder wants to go to Hawaii again | NDR.de – Sport

11/30/2020 | 9:00 a.m.

14 Min
| Available until 11/30/2022

The moderator would like to qualify for the toughest triathlon in the world for the second time. For two years he wants to get fit for the great challenge – and takes the users of NDR.de with him on his arduous journey.

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Where is the border between the healthy and the unhealthy in sport?

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 – 14:02

Ultradistance, on the rise, can cause temporary damage to the brain and nervous system and even chronic damage to the heart

Castanyer, in red, during an ultra-distance test on Mont Blanc.
GETTY

«In my beginnings, all my relatives accompanied me to an Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc and, among them, my sister-in-law, who is a doctor. After the 100-kilometer race, they gave me an anti-doping control, she reviewed the results of the analysis and told me that I had the white blood cell level of a person with a serious hematological disease, of a person with leukemia. I got goose bumps. I am passionate about ultradistance, it is where I feel the most things, but I am aware that

it’s insane. The tute for the body at an organic level, not only at the muscular level, is exaggerated, “he acknowledges.

Tòfol Castanyer

and nobody better than him to open the debate. Castanyer, 48, was a mountain runner before trail running, the roommate of a

Kilian Jornet

He was a teenager, he was champion of the World Cup in 2010 among other successes and now through experience he observes the boom of long distances with concern: «Before running 100 kilometers was already a lot, now if you don’t do 170 kilometers you are nobody. He has lost respect for distance and that is not good. In the last decade, fans who challenge routes far beyond the marathon, who travel hundreds of kilometers by bicycle or who complete the audacity of an Ironman have multiplied and their fervor has forced doctors and researchers to address a question: Where is it? the border between the healthy and the unhealthy?

“The nervous system and the brain slow down”

The limit will always depend on the physical state of each one, but curiously all the experts questioned answered that, although the athlete is in top shape, even if he is very prepared for the effort, there is a moment when yes or yes he begins to punish himself: when he overcomes the 10 or 12 hours of continuous effort, that is, more or less when night falls. «From that moment on the body begins to collapse. Although hydration and nutrition have been perfect throughout the race, the nervous system and brain slow down, there is a significant drop in the immune system … And that continues for days. For example, after a test of this type, it is normal for the athlete to drop things from their hands or catch a good cold, “he explains.

Pedro Luis Valenzuela

, a researcher at the Department of Systems Biology at the University of Alcalá (UAH), who a few years ago carried out an interesting study in this regard. The amateur cyclist

Keco Matey

He had proposed to travel more than 500 kilometers around Azuqueca for a charitable cause and he decided to accompany him in the pre, during and post to analyze the effects of the beating. “I had scheduled the last test 72 hours after the challenge because I believed that the improvement would be considerable, but the nervous system, for example, was still very fatigued. It was pending for me to study how he recovered a week or a month later to know if the effects are more lasting than we think, “says Valenzuela and names the great fear of lovers of ultra-distance every time he asks whether what they do is harmful: atrial fibrillation. For years, studies and more studies conclude and contradict themselves on whether prolonged sport can damage the heart and, although the controversy is constant, there is evidence that everyone admits: it increases the risk of an arrhythmia called that, atrial fibrillation. Ultra runners, long-distance cyclists or Ironmans triathletes can suffer from excessive growth of the atria – especially the left atrium – and this can make the heart pump go crazy with the consequent danger.

“Body protectors are enough”

“There are cases, but we are talking about athletes with many years of very intense exercise behind them. The incidence is low. A single ultramarathon or a similar effort fatigue the heart, can cause edema, but then it recovers. In most cases, the body’s protective mechanisms, such as fatigue or overtraining, are sufficient to avoid these extreme risks, “he explains.

Alexander Lucia

, professor at the European University of Madrid (UEM), who together with other researchers such as doctor

Araceli Boraita

, head of the Cardiology Service of the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD), have analyzed this ailment through data from thousands of athletes. For them, atrial fibrillation is a control threat in professional endurance athletes, but only a few amateurs are exposed. “It is true that there is a boom in ultra-distance and that there may be those who are exercising more, but there are still millions of people who exercise less. For me, that’s the real danger. All in all, the benefits of the exercise will always be well above its losses, “concludes Lucía, thus solving the question opened by Castanyer. According to experts, the border between healthy and unhealthy exists. After 10 or 12 hours of continuous exercise, temporary damage to the brain and nervous system occurs and even the heart can be affected forever. But very few make it there.

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First athlete with Down syndrome masters triathlon

A 21-year-old with Down’s syndrome successfully completed the Ironman in the USA – and is now in the history books. He needed almost 17 hours for the three sports categories.

Chris Nikic did it and, according to the organizers, was the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman. With his hands up jubilantly, the 21-year-old American crossed the finish line in Panama Beach City in the US state of Florida on Saturday night. For the 3.86 kilometers of swimming, 180.2 kilometers of cycling and 42.2 kilometers of running Nikic unofficially needed 16:49:09 hours at Ironman Florida.

“I get goosebumps, so incredibly inspiring”

While swimming and running, he and his trainer Daniel Grieb were connected with a belt. At the finish they hugged each other. “Chris Nikic made history this evening,” commented organizer Ironman on his Facebook page. “I have goosebumps, so incredibly inspiring,” wrote the 37-year-old Ironman World Cup fifth in 2019, Cameron Wurf (37) from Australia.

It was not until he was four years old that Chris Nikic could walk without a walker, his muscle strength and muscle tension were not expressed as in people without Down syndrome. Four years ago he had to undergo four ear operations. If he can manage an Ironman, he can handle everything else in life, according to the credo of the 21-year-old from Maitland.

In the first half of the year, after the cancellation of a race over half the Ironman distance, he had completed an improvised competition of 1.9 kilometers of swimming, 90 kilometers of cycling and 21.1 kilometers of running. At Ironman Florida, he was not stopped by a crash with the bike and a slightly bleeding knee as well as ant bites. “Giving up is not an option for Chris,” said his coach before the race.

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Triathlon – Tertsch third in the World Cup final – sport

Triathlete Lisa Tertsch took third place at the World Cup final in Valencia. The 21-year-old from Darmstadt crossed the sprint distance after swimming 750 meters, cycling 20 kilometers and running 5 kilometers, four seconds behind winner Beth Potter (Great Britain) and one second behind second-placed Nicola Spirig (Switzerland).

© SZ vom 08.11.2020 / sid/and

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Triathlet Chris Nikic in Florida

EActually, Chris Nikic wants one thing above all else: an ordinary life with his own house, his own car and a wife. He wants to be perceived like any other person. He wants to prove it to himself and to others. However, in a way that for most people who were not born with Down syndrome is not only unusual, but almost unimaginable.


The 21-year-old wants to swim 3.86 kilometers, cycle 180.2 kilometers and run 42.2 kilometers at Ironman Florida this Saturday. “Yes, I’m ready,” he says in an interview with the German Press Agency and his anticipation is palpable.

At the beginning of the week, the motorhome drove around 600 kilometers from his hometown Maitland to Panama City Beach, the scene of the action. It is one of only a few triathlon races this year, Chris Nikic’s official premiere over half the Ironman distance was canceled in May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So it was improvised and he did the 1.9 kilometers of swimming, 90 kilometers of cycling and 21.1 kilometers of running for himself. “Giving up is not an option for Chris,” says his trainer Daniel Grieb. And it doesn’t just apply to daily training. It has become a way of life at a young age.

Until he was four years old, Chris Nikic needed a walker. Muscle strength and muscle tension were not expressed as in people without Down syndrome. At 17, he had four ear surgeries. At 18 he weighed over 80 kilos. “If I had continued like this, I’d be over 100 pounds today, sit on the couch and play video games, and my weak muscles would serve as an excuse,” says Chris Nikic.

He decided to do a junior triathlon. It continued over the sprint and the Olympic distance and finally half the Ironman route. According to his own statements, it took him 8:25 hours. “I know that I can’t keep up with a top athlete. But with hard work, I can be strong enough to do an Ironman, ”explains Chris Nikic. I can’t do it – it doesn’t exist for him. Just one thing: I have to work harder to get there. And to be noticed like everyone else – without Down syndrome. “The biggest problem is that people think that if you take longer, you can’t,” he says.

But why an Ironman of all things? After a swimming competition in a lake of almost a kilometer, Chris Nikic was to be immortalized on a wall with his name. Without further ado he signed “World Champion”. Father Nik thought about what might correspond to that and then asked his son if he wanted to start an Ironman. The answer is clear. “He started from scratch,” says Nik Nikic with a view to the beginning of the Ironman mission.

Get one percent better every day, that’s the motto. Chris and his coach set up the training plan on a huge white board. Day after day. And so it goes into the water, on the bike or on the running track before the race. Coach Grieb is always there.

They also sit next to each other during the video interview. The two of them joke and laugh a lot, also and especially when Chris Nikic tells that the ritual will include a hug with Miss Tampa before the race and that after the big day you should first go to a nightclub. Chris Nikic’s zest for life, his positive nature is contagious.

Father Nik supports his son in his big project.


Father Nik supports his son in his big project.
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Image: dpa

“The greatest memories I’ll take with me to my grave were with Chris,” says Grieb. A man with an angular face, cropped hair and a muscular body, a real estate agent by trade. “He’s taking me to his interviews now,” he says and laughs.

When swimming and running, the two will be connected with a belt, help is allowed with the changes, but Chris Nikic has to complete the total of 226 kilometers like everyone else. Then, shortly before midnight local time, he will probably be able to hear the four magic words for long-distance triathletes – You are an Ironman – on the red carpet.

For world champion Anne Haug he is already one. “You are a fantastic inspiration to all the athletes out there and a great example of what willpower can do,” said the 37-year-old Hawaii 2019 winner.

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Jonas Deichmann – Around the World in 120 Ironmans – Sport

Jonas Deichmann could still stand wind and dry cold on the bike. Only when the system sprayed crystalline water on him did the minus 25 degrees in the cold chamber of Deutsche Bahn in Minden feel really “fresh”, says the 33-year-old. In a matter of seconds, the water formed a layer of ice on the handlebars, the spokes, his ski goggles and the faux fur of his cap. Deichmann tested himself and his equipment for a special record. The long-distance cyclist wants to travel around the world by triathlon in 120 Ironman distances. A section of the route could even become Siberia due to the pandemic. 450 kilometers of swimming, 20,000 kilometers by bike, 5,000 kilometers of running and two sailing passages – nobody has tried that before.

Jonas Deichmann started at the Odeonsplatz in Munich at the end of September. 70 people said goodbye to him on his greatest adventure to date. He’s been on a bike for three years and earns his living as an adventurer. That is probably family-related: his grandfather was a snake catcher in Africa. With the exception of his bicycle equipment, everything Deichmann has can fit in a suitcase. And it is at its “base” in Munich. He estimates twelve to 14 months for his trip around the world. But he is not interested in a time record. The situation is currently too uncertain for that.

Jonas Deichmann Triathlon Adventure

Around the world from Munich’s Odeonsplatz: Jonas Deichmann has been the first person to complete a global triathlon since the end of September.

(Photo: OH)

Deichmann looks like someone who wants to know. He is tall, has alert, green-brown eyes, an athletic figure and, as a native of Stuttgart, still has a slightly Swabian dialect and a full beard. “I’ll let it grow until I’m back,” he says. One inevitably imagines how the beard turns into a long icicle when Deichmann tours Siberia on his fully loaded, 20 kilogram bicycle. He actually wanted to start much earlier and choose a route that would take him through India and Pakistan. Then came Corona – and now there are different route options. He is currently swimming 450 kilometers through the Adriatic Sea, then he gets back on his bike to cross Turkey in November. Deichmann does not yet know what happens then. His right to a business visa at least makes it easier for him to enter countries that tourists are currently not allowed to travel to. The trip around the world is considered a business trip.

The idea for his current tour came to him in the Sahara, says Deichmann

Deichmann is known for three continental crossings on the bike in record time. In 2017, he covered 14,000 kilometers through Eurasia in 64 days. At that time he was still employed by an IT company in Munich, his boss granted him time off. After the tour Deichmann announced. Then the Panamericana followed and last year he drove from the North Cape to Cape Town. The last tour in particular was challenging: “Something went wrong every day.” He spent one night in jail, suffered three food poisoning, and was caught by a lion. “Long distances are 95 percent a matter of the head,” he says. The longer it goes, the more you have to motivate yourself. The idea for his current tour came to him in the Sahara.

Deichmann already tested his suitability for triathlons in August when he toured around Germany once – including crossing Lake Constance. Even then, his wetsuit was causing sores on his body. He doesn’t know how that works in salt water. In any case, long-distance Olympic swimmers take a break after each day in the water – also for their skin. Deichmann relies on Vaseline when he covers up to 15 kilometers from Rijeka to Dubrovnik every day. He is similarly optimistic about the bora, a treacherous land wind that, with half an hour’s advance notice, sweeps everything that is not anchored onto the Adriatic. At Split, Deichmann has to leave the safe coastline. When the bora comes, he pushes himself face down on the small raft with his equipment, which he pulls behind him. “So I’ll either drift to one of the islands or to Italy,” he says and laughs.

Deichmann’s love for chocolate comes in handy

After the salt comes the cold. He wants to survive the nights in Siberia, which can be as cold as minus 50 degrees Celsius, in his tent with a down sleeping bag and several down jackets. He has already practiced changing tires at minus 25 degrees Celsius in Minden. Deichmann then needs 7000 to 8000 kilocalories a day in the cold. “I have to eat all day,” he says. His love for chocolate came in handy for him. That is why he orients his route along civilization: petrol stations, supermarkets, small towns. He also carries a GPS tracker with him. It sends its location to its website every 15 minutes and has an integrated emergency button. If he presses this, help is mobilized. But he has not yet tried whether that works, he says. In an emergency, he calls his father via Whatsapp. He navigates him to the next gas station. The network is better in Siberia than in Upper Bavaria. For him there is only one reason to give up anyway: “If I were to suffer long-term damage.”

Depending on the route, the adventurer sets off by sailing boat either in Vladivostok or Shanghai and drives to the west coast of the USA. From there he runs 5000 kilometers “in the footsteps of Forrest Gump” to New York. In this section he only thinks about the condition of his joints. Otherwise he looks forward to the endless streets. Lonely? No, he never feels lonely in the wilderness. On the contrary. “In the anonymity of the big city you are more alone than outside,” says Deichmann. You are surrounded by millions of people, but if you are sick, nobody will help you anyway. Outside, he feels the freedom. And the great hospitality of the people. But the time without a family shouldn’t be too long. He wants to complete one of the sailing passages across the Pacific or the Atlantic with his father. His brother accompanies him on the bike on the last leg from Portugal to Munich. Deichmann then recovers from the exertion as always: in a hammock in Brazil.

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Triathlon – Around the World in 120 Ironmans – Sport

Jonas Deichmann could still stand wind and dry cold on the bike. Only when the system sprayed crystalline water on him did the minus 25 degrees feel really “fresh” in the cold chamber of Deutsche Bahn in Minden, says the 33-year-old. In a matter of seconds, the water formed a layer of ice on the handlebars, the spokes, his ski goggles and the faux fur of his cap. Deichmann tested himself and his equipment for a special record. The long-distance cyclist wants to travel around the world in 120 Ironman distances by triathlon. A section of the route could even become Siberia due to the pandemic. 450 kilometers of swimming, 20,000 kilometers by bike, 5,000 kilometers of running and two sailing passages – nobody has tried that before.

Jonas Deichmann started at the Odeonsplatz in Munich at the end of September. 70 people said goodbye to him on his greatest adventure to date. He’s been on a bike for three years and earns his living as an adventurer. That is probably family-related: his grandfather was a snake catcher in Africa. With the exception of his bicycle equipment, everything Deichmann has can fit in a suitcase. And it is at its “base” in Munich. He estimates twelve to 14 months for his trip around the world. But he is not interested in a time record. The situation is currently too uncertain for that.

Deichmann looks like someone who wants to know. He is tall, has alert, green-brown eyes, an athletic figure and, as a native of Stuttgart, still has a slightly Swabian accent and a full beard. “I’ll let it grow until I’m back,” he says. One inevitably imagines how the beard forms into a long icicle when Deichmann tours Siberia with his fully loaded, 20 kilogram bicycle. He actually wanted to start much earlier and choose a route that would take him through India and Pakistan. Then came Corona – and now there are different route options. He currently swims 450 kilometers across the Adriatic, then gets back on his bike to cross Turkey in November. Deichmann does not yet know what happens then. His right to a business visa at least makes it easier for him to enter countries that tourists are currently not allowed to travel to. The trip around the world is considered a business trip.

Deichmann is known for three continental crossings on the bike in record time. In 2017, he covered 14,000 kilometers through Eurasia in 64 days. At that time he was still employed by an IT company in Munich; his boss granted him time off. After the tour, Deichmann announced. Then the Panamericana followed and last year he drove from the North Cape to Cape Town. The last tour in particular was challenging: “Something went wrong every day.” He spent one night in prison, suffered three food poisoning, and was caught by a lion. “Long distances are 95 percent a matter of the head,” he says. The longer it goes, the more you have to motivate yourself. The idea for his current tour came to him in the Sahara.

Deichmann already tested his triathlon suitability in August when he toured around Germany once – including a crossing of Lake Constance. Even then, his wetsuit was causing sores on his body. He doesn’t know how that works in salt water. In any case, long-distance Olympic swimmers take a break after every day in the water – also for their skin. Deichmann relies on Vaseline when he covers up to 15 kilometers from Rijeka to Dubrovnik every day. He is similarly optimistic about the bora, a treacherous land wind that sweeps out onto the Adriatic everything that is not anchored with half an hour’s notice. At Split, Deichmann has to leave the safe coastline. When the bora comes, he pushes himself face down on the small raft with his equipment, which he pulls behind him. “So I’m either drifting to one of the islands or as far as Italy,” he says and laughs.

After the salt comes the cold. He wants to survive the nights in Siberia, which can be as cold as minus 50 degrees Celsius, in his tent with a down sleeping bag and several down jackets. He has already practiced changing tires at minus 25 degrees Celsius in Minden. Deichmann then needs 7000 to 8000 kilocalories a day in the cold. “I have to eat all day,” he says. His love for chocolate came in handy for him. That is why he orients himself along civilization when routing his route: gas stations, supermarkets, small towns. He also carries a GPS tracker with him. It sends its location to its website every 15 minutes and has an integrated emergency button. If he presses this, help is mobilized. But he has not yet tried whether that works, he says. In an emergency, he calls his father via Whatsapp. He navigates him to the next gas station. The network is better in Siberia than in Upper Bavaria. For him there is only one reason to give up anyway: “If I were to suffer long-term damage.”

Depending on the route, the adventurer sets off by sailing boat in either Vladivostok or Shanghai and drives to the west coast of the USA. From there he runs 5000 kilometers “in the footsteps of Forrest Gump” to New York. In this section he only thinks about the condition of his joints. Otherwise he looks forward to the endless streets. Lonely? No, he never feels lonely in the wilderness. On the contrary. “In the anonymity of the big city you are more alone than outside,” says Deichmann. You are surrounded by millions of people, but if you are sick, nobody will help you anyway. Outside, he feels the freedom. And the great hospitality of the people. The time without a family shouldn’t be too long. With his father he wants to complete one of the sailing passages across the Pacific or the Atlantic. His brother accompanies him on the bike on the last leg from Portugal to Munich. Deichmann then recovers from the exertion as always: in a hammock in Brazil.

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Triathlete Sebastian Kienle on the Ironman in Hawaii


Sebastian Kienle, here at the 2014 Ironman triumph in Hawaii
Image: dpa

Triathlete Sebastian Kienle speaks in an interview for over a year without the Ironman in Hawaii, his enormous financial losses and his own health as a weapon.

Mr. Kienle, how would you have spent last Sunday morning if Corona hadn’t existed?

Without Corona I would be in Hawaii, the Ironman World Cup would be over, I would spend a lot of time lying down in the hours after that, but hopefully with a lot of appointments in front of my chest.

Which would mean you won.

The condition after such a race varies a lot with the result that you have achieved. First or second place – that makes a huge difference in terms of psyche and media appointments.

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Bavaria: Iron World Champion Haug: Thanks to the Hawaii victory, a bit of buffer – Bavaria

Berlin – Ironman world champion Anne Haug is also benefiting financially from her triumph in Hawaii a year ago in the corona crisis. In an interview with the online portal “t-online.de” (Monday), the 37-year-old professional triathlete emphasized that she too was dependent on prize money. But there were almost no races this year. In addition to their sponsors, “who really stand by me even in the tough times,” they also have “a bit of a buffer” thanks to winning the World Cup so that I can get through well now.

For her success in October 2019, Haug received prize money equivalent to 109,000 euros. Born in Bayreuth, the native of Bayreuth was the first German to win the world championship race over 3.86 kilometers of swimming, 180.2 kilometers of cycling and 42.2 kilometers of running in Hawaii. This year the world championship had to be canceled due to the spread of the corona virus.

For many of her colleagues it is “really tough,” said Haug. “Many of our sponsors are medium-sized companies. You can understand that it is difficult on the one hand to send your employees on short-time work and on the other hand to do sports sponsorship.”

Haug himself plans to take part in a World Cup race over half the Ironman distance of the “Professional Triathletes Organization” in Daytona / USA in December this year. But it must take place under the appropriate health conditions. “I live from my body, but I live from my health, from my body, and I definitely don’t want to risk anything. I need my body a little longer than this year,” said Haug.

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