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Hendrik Pfeiffer: „Sogar der Renndirektor hat mich gewarnt!“
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Hendrik Pfeiffer: “Even the race director warned me!”

German marathon professional Hendrik Pfeiffer caused a minor sensation with his performance at the New York City Marathon. He even temporarily took over the speed work in the legendary race. For him it wasn't about time in New York.

Words: Agata Strausa
Photos: Kai Heuser

The New York Marathon has a special magic

The sport dominates the metropolis around the marathon. Many race organizers may claim that the atmosphere on their route is the best. But New York really is in a different league. Hendrik Pfeiffer also confirms this. The German professional runner just ran the New York Marathon and achieved a top result: 2:12:54 and twelfth place. "I'm very, very satisfied," said the 30-year-old immediately after the run, "especially on such a difficult route."

It was a bit of a shame not to have achieved a top 10 placement, said Hendrik. Nevertheless, no German runner has ever been as fast as him in New York. In the first half of the race, Hendrik even took the lead of the elite field for a long time - a goosebumps moment. The race gave him a boost in confidence. “This is a basis on which you can now make a leap,” says Hendrik. “It could be 2:07, 2:06.” He ran a very good time at the Berlin Marathon just six weeks ago. How does he do that?

más: Boston, Berlin and now New York: That's three World Major Marathons in one year. What criteria do you use to choose your races?

Hendrik: These are the three biggest marathons you can imagine. It's the case that I'm increasingly orienting myself towards the larger stage. At the regional level with Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hanover I have already won everything or at least achieved good placements. It's a great feeling to be competitive with big names like New York. They may be a lot faster on shorter distances, but in the marathon they're not far away, so I can keep up with them. I try to choose a fast marathon once a year, like Berlin. But at the same time, putting someone like Boston in, where the track doesn't offer a particularly fast time. For me it's about the experience. If I ask myself whether I'm more interested in Valencia or New York, then New York is simply better!

“In terms of experience, New York is the greatest thing you can do.

The Berlin Marathon was just six weeks ago. You shattered your best time with 2:08:48. Why New York now?

I realize that was pretty ambitious! Even the race director in New York warned me about the double! But being able to cope with a lot of stress in a short time is also my strength. Climbing stairs after the marathon is no problem at all, my legs have never felt so good after a race. Next to Boston, New York is the biggest place you can walk. It was an honor to be included in the elite field here, that's not a given. In terms of experience, New York is the greatest thing you can do.

“Every single unit was torture.”

When did you decide to run both marathons?

That was already clear before Berlin. I focused my training entirely on Berlin and then tried to maintain my form afterward or at least curb the loss of form. That was pretty difficult in October. I also had to make some compromises. For example training in the Seychelles…

A rather unusual location for a training camp. The Seychelles are not exactly known as a running mecca.

I spoke to Esther [Hendrik's partner, note d. Red.] discussed: No compromises before Berlin. And Esther was “all in” until the Cologne Marathon, which she then won. We had discussed that we would go on vacation afterwards. We haven't been on vacation for three years and it wouldn't have worked again. The climate in the Seychelles was tropical. You were overheated after one kilometer, even during normal endurance runs. Every single session was torture; most of the time it was just one training session a day. I also postponed the sessions until the evening. But it actually worked really well!

Your run in New York was actually very strong! What was the best moment for you?

It was a special feeling to run at the front in a race like this. And not just for a few meters, but for 30 minutes. I just pulled through, never broke in and always checked everything. Overall, it was just a very cool, well-rounded race that the spectators really took part in. But the best part was leading in New York.

And if you had to choose: Berlin, Boston or New York: which marathon is the best?

Very difficult question! All three have their special charm. Of course, in Berlin you also have the home advantage. That was cool this year too, because everyone on the track knew you. Boston and New York are of course a bit bigger. In New York you also have the most spectacular scenery, you have the craziest vibe as far as the city is concerned. In Boston, the atmosphere is best when people are going wild, for example when they go through the “Scream Tunnel”. And Berlin? It's the fastest route!

Your fiancée Esther is also a very good long-distance runner. What is it like to live a passion together?

That's great, and that's probably why it works so well. Because the lifestyle is extreme. Not many would go along with that. We can push ourselves excellently, not only in training but also in everyday life. It's definitely a huge advantage to know that there is someone who understands you. That brings us together. Compromising is easier when you share the same fate. We also push ourselves in the area of ​​nutrition. Esther helps me a lot so that we eat healthily. She can cook really well!

Thank you for the talk!

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