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Katharina Steinruck zum Drama in Hamburg: „Ich hatte keine Chance“
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Katharina Steinruck on the drama in Hamburg: “I had no chance”

Katharina Steinruck's fall at the Hamburg Marathon shows once again that not every race goes as planned, even for professionals. How does Katharina deal with this - and what was the story behind her angry scream on live TV?

Photos: Florian Kurrasch

Top German runner and ASICS athlete Katharina Steinruck started the Hamburg Marathon with an ambitious but achievable goal. After weeks of intensive training and strong performances in competitions, her confidence was at an all-time high. With her supplier's new carbon shoes, the Metaspeed™ Edge Paris, Katharina had another ace up her sleeve. In January of this year she had already run a time of 2:24:56, and now the family record was to be broken in the Hanseatic city ( for the Coffee Run with Katha ). This is held by her mother Katrin Dörre-Heinig with a time of 2:24:35, once a successful long-distance runner in the 80s. Katha was ready to reach this milestone and write her own story.

“I was just pissed off and angry!”

- Katharina Steinruck

But then everything changed. Up until kilometer 20, she and a group of runners were on course for a personal best, running 3:25 kilometer times like clockwork. Before the half marathon, disaster struck: At a refreshment station, running in the slipstream behind several runners, she grabbed her water bottle - and didn't see that there was a table with more drinks on it right in front of her.

Katha ran into the edge of the table without stopping and fell to the ground, as could be seen in the live broadcast. Although she was able to get up and keep running, the accident had consequences. Katha kept grabbing her hip. A little later, she went to the side, threw herself onto the asphalt and screamed so loudly that it could be heard clearly from the live cameras all the way to the living room at home. Katharina fell to the ground - and it was clear to the viewers: the race was over for her.

It happened very quickly – no chance for Katharina

Just a few hours after the race, we meet Katha at the hotel. What's going through her mind?

"I haven't seen the video yet," says Katha. "It's so quick that you're knocked out of the race. I had no chance to react," explains Katharina. She tried to dodge, but swerved to the wrong side - "and I kissed the table and then the floor."

Another marathon runner from the group pulled her up by the hand and shouted at her to "keep running!" But that was no longer possible, says Katha: "I couldn't take a step anymore, the whole rear chain was blocked." When Katha tries to remember the moment when she left the track on her side, only one thing comes to mind: "I was just pissed off and angry!"

“F*ck! Get up! Move on!”

However, she can hardly remember the moment of impact. It happened so quickly. "I only remember reaching for the bottle," says Katha, "dodging the pacer who was running in front of me and stopped, moving on to keep up with my pace - and in the next second I ran straight into the table."

Then the memory breaks off. She felt like she had flown over the table, but in the moment of shock she had not yet felt any pain. "Of course it can happen again and again in races that you fall. It is not my first race. I just thought: F*ck! Get up! Carry on!" At first, she reflected that dropping out was not an option. But then the realization sank in: she could no longer carry on running. That was it. Katha had to move to the edge.

Getting back up: Katharina Steinruck talks about her injuries

Paramedics would have Katha , who had remained sitting on the edge, was initially treated. Then everything on her thigh and knee slowly turned blue and swollen, she says. "I then cooled the areas with ice packs," she remembers. Katha . She suffered a bruise on her right thigh - her left knee was blue, painful and slightly swollen. A doctor friend of hers visited her in the hotel after the race and examined her. Small relief: there was nothing broken on her knee, Katha should move it so that the bruise does not run into the joint. "It will hurt like hell for the next few days - but you have to get through it," says Katharina bravely. "My pelvis was also completely twisted - that's why the posterior chain was so tight. That means physio tomorrow and getting another check-up." Walking is a bit difficult, says Katha agrees. But mentally the damage is greater, she says.

And the family record? “My parents are suffering unbelievably. My mother is sad that such crap is happening to me again,” says Katha . Her mother had Katha said she should just enjoy the marathon – to have a nice end to the hard training. Until the accident, Katha was also in the flow – on course for 2:23. She also remembers the great atmosphere on the course and how easy it was on the first and actually harder half of the course. "I know that I can run the pace," says Katha . “Next time it would be nice to do that on the second half as well.” - We wish you a speedy recovery!

Sebastian Hendel ensures a happy ending

There are also good stories from Hamburg. One of them was written by the German long-distance runner Sebastian Hendel. In only his third marathon, he stormed to a fantastic time of 2:08:51 - despite the heat and wind that blew in Hamburg. On Sunday, it felt like the whole city was on its feet - thousands of runners were on the Hamburg Marathon route - cheered on by crowds of spectators across the entire city.

The results at a glance

Women:

1. Irine Cheptai 🇰🇪 2:16:22
2. Winfridah Moseti 🇰🇪 2:18:25
3. Gothytom Gebreslase 🇪🇹 2:21:19

Men:

1. Bernard Koech 🇰🇪 2:04:24
2. Haymanot Alew 🇪🇹 2:05:30
3. Philemon Kiplimo 🇰🇪 2:05:37

The German results:

Sebastian Hendel - 2:08:51 (PB)
Rabea Schöneborn - 02:35:07

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