‘Strausseelauf’ — On Autumn Trails to Memories of my Childhood and Youth

October 10, 2014 By Uta Pippig
After the start of the women’s run… © MOZ/Edgar Nemschok

The Straussee lake shimmered fairytale-like through the beautiful fall-colored trees. And as I jogged alongside my fellow runners on the course of the 78th ‘Strausseelauf’ event, impressions from my youth became vivid again. I remembered so many similar happy autumn days here at the lake.

At the starting line of the 78th 'Strausseelauf' race. © Gerald Angerer
At the starting line of the 78th ‘Strausseelauf’ race. © Gerald Angerer

I had been looking forward to this run because I knew I would see many old friends with whom I share my love for this sport, and I hoped to meet many new friends. The course suited me — much of the 9.2 kilometers led us over soft forest trails along the shore of the lake. My goal was to cover the entire distance without stopping. The sciatic pain I have been struggling with for some months was barely noticeable anymore — perhaps because I was so overjoyed to take part in this beautiful, historic event with all its fond memories.

I still can remember the first time I ran the Strausseelauf, in Strausberg, a town close to Berlin. I was 13 years old, competing in the short distance race in my first running competition for my former youth sports club “TSG Blau-Weiß Petershagen.”

While we used to run back and forth along the shore, nowadays the kids travel via a little ferry across the lake and start their race on the opposite bank — a great idea from the race planners.

All in all, it was a wonderfully organized event this year, and I can only congratulate race director Jörg Oswald and his team from the sports club KSC Strausberg for the record participation: 913 runners and 80 children. Also, a big thank you to the nearly 50 volunteers who helped make it such a very successful running event. And congratulations to Hannes Liebach and Mayada Al-Sayad for their victories, and a big hug to my mami Heidi, who took the win in the age group W70.

© Gerald Angerer
© Gerald Angerer

We had a fantastic day at the lake and I believe many runners’ dreams came true. The weather was pleasant, the times were fast, and the spectators cheered for everyone who dashed towards the finish line.

Below you can find an excerpt from an interview, which I was invited to do as part of a project for the Strausberg “Theodor Fontane” high school, which I attended as a teenager. Johanna Tomalik, a student at the school, conducted the interview this spring.

I wish you many happy runs on luminous and peaceful autumn trails…


An Excerpt from the Interview “Strausseelauf”

You participated in marathon races held in large, fascinating cities. What makes the ‘Strausseelauf’ so special for you?

Mommy ran to victory in the age group W70. We congratulate you, dear Heidi. © Gerald Angerer
Mommy ran to victory in the age group W70. We congratulate you, dear Heidi. © Gerald Angerer

Uta: It is a memorable part of my younger life. I grew up in Petershagen, not far from Strausberg, so I connect the Strausseelauf with memories of my childhood and youth, the beautiful landscapes of the state of Brandenburg, and the many wonderful people I met there.

It is such a nice run, well organized, and popular. And in addition, it takes place during a beautiful time of the year.
All this makes the run very dear to me—I enjoy thinking back to my participations. When I visit my family, I often take the opportunity to run along the shore of the lake.

In 1988, you set the course record in 32:20 minutes, and this time still stands today. Can you remember your first ‘Strausseelauf,’ and was your record run a scheduled or a rather random result?

Uta: This race always held a special place in my heart. I was in the middle of the preparation for the Tokyo Marathon and wanted to test my fitness with a fast tempo run. I do not remember particularly the goal of setting a record. I just wanted to have fun with my local running friends.

Do you have a tip for the perfect race around Straussee?

We had beautiful encounters. © Gerald Angerer
We had beautiful encounters. © Gerald Angerer

Uta: I would try not to go out too fast in the beginning, and I would divide the course into three sections. This means that ideally the first third should be run in the target average speed. On the opposite side of the lake try to find a good running rhythm—smooth running—without thinking about the finish.

It is important to focus solely on this section while you are on it. This will enable you to be mentally fresh enough to gear up later on and to push your pace during the last third of the race—as much as you can.

I hope you will be able to run the whole distance in a relaxed manner and with joy, because this can help you achieve a faster time.

Updated September 30, 2017

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