Warrior heart of an Ironman

What is there to learn from triathlete Till Schramm? To give up is not an option.

Triathlon professional Till Schramm has been victorious at races around the world. He won the feared „Israman“ and four times the „Ostseeman“. But last year everything was different. Repeatedly Till trained for races that were cancelled due to the Corona virus. „This was extremely exhausting“, he says, „after a successful race you can calm down. Instead the suspense was up for months.“

Crazy training blocks

In August he has been in a shape that he „maybe never had before“, he says, but not being able to compete has been frustrating: „The workload of an Ironman pro is huge. If you extremely graft for the perfect race shape, it must be clear where it leads to. I need meaningfulness. A year packed with crazy training blocks interferes massively your private life. Meanwhile, without a clearly defined goal, this is hard to justify.“

»If you have won once, you want it time and time again.«

Has there been something positive in 2020? „I have experimented at tapering, how I can manage the exercise load before a competition, to be able to start perfectly into a race. In any other season I would not have ever dared. This was pure detail tuning. But getting to the end of the season I have to admit: I have really missed the races. Endorphins are like a drug for an athlete. If you have won once, you want it time and time again.“

3.100 vertical meters in the desert

In 2018 Till had a spectacular success at the „Israman“, one of the toughest of all long distance races. „The bike course has 3.100 vertical meters and at temperatures near the freezing point it goes through the Negev desert“, the cologne folk explains. „The transition to the run is up on top, so you start running downhill. After 10k my legs felt like at the end of a marathon. To be honest: Such a race is also an excruciating experience.“

»The world is reduced to the common humanity.«

What is it that drags you back on the course? Is it the sheer desire to succeed? „This as well“, Till admits. But triathlon for him is much more: „Especially in the Middle East there is a unique endurance community. Here it is absolutely possible that in the finish area a billionaire and an Indian worker, soaked with sweat, fall into each other’s arms. The world is reduced to the common humanity, to authentic emotions. This is what makes triathlon so special to me.“

Bone fracture at kilometer 28

Without wasting a second Till Schramm answers the question referring to his hardest race moment: „That was the Ostseeman 2017. I crashed with the bike and partially fractured my fibula. 28k into the run the bone broke completely. The pain made me sick, but I kept on going. My leg actually had to be ‘pulled’ to adjust the lopsided bones.“

»On this day I experienced what I am capable of.«

Since that day he knows what an effect adrenaline can have, Till says: „I was in the perfect survival mode, although it was only a sports competition. I limped over the finish line and won. I have no clue how I made it and I don’t really have to experience this again. But it showed me what I am capable of. Until today I can orientate to this extraordinary experience: It gives me power in particularly hard race situations.“

Power to persevere

Till Schramm is a fighter. After the unexpected death of his son he went through hard times. Today he says: „We are not always on the sunny side of life. This is why we should enjoy it and be thankful that we are healthy. Some people are doing badly, and if I can only give power and courage to some of them, I have accomplished a lot.“

»For me the people working in intensive care are the real heroes.«

What has changed for Tim within his career? „My perspectives“, he says: „Many athletes are fine with being celebrated as heroes. If I think of the people working in intensive care units during these COVID-19 times they are rather the real heroes.“ Nevertheless he loves his Job as a triathlon professional: „I can show myself what I am capable of. Day in day out I feel my power. It is a huge gift to be able to live this in such an intensive way.“

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