Excitement meets relaxation in the Swiss Alps

What do you expect from someone for whom table tennis is the relaxing sport to catch a quiet moment? That's right: no quiet moments! We took the opportunity to talk to Markus Kuhnt about the ultramarathon he completed in the Alps around Davos at the end of July.



Markus, 40, has worked for Daimler since he was 16 in Mannheim, where he trained as a construction mechanic specializing in thin sheet metal construction technology. After successfully completing this training, Markus became a specialist trainer in the field of education following four years in the body shop for buses. He underwent further training as an industrial metalworking foreman at the same time. The position as a specialist trainer was limited to three years, which is how Markus ended up as an HR clerk in the HR unit by request. He is currently working as an HR counselor with a focus on health management and vocational training for the Mannheim location.

Markus has as much staying power in his career as he does in his spare time. Mountain biking and racing bikes were no longer enough for him and a friend, so they both took part in the Berlin Marathon in 2001.

"It went well", and judging by the glint in his eye he caught the bug immediately. The independence from technology, so that "you don't suddenly have a broken chain or flat tire", convinced him to switch to running. The slower pace that allows you to "enjoy the scenery" also formed the basis for a lasting connection with the sport.  It was then not a huge leap to martial-sounding word monstrosities such as the "100-kilometer run" that Markus is planning for the next two years.

Markus started preparing in January for the Davos ultramarathon, which sees runners covering 76 kilometers with a variation in altitude of more than 2500 meters high in the Alpines. Markus familiarized himself with mountainous routes in the mountain bike tracks of the Odenwald mountain range, and running between 200 and 250 kilometers each month gave him the basic endurance required "to even be able to attempt this kind of thing in the first place". 

Markus likes the slightly more relaxed nature of ultramarathons.  The event starts off "at a gentle trot".  Apart from a small lead group that quickly separates itself from the rest, time is not a priority for the vast majority of participants. This is not surprising since it takes more than ten hours on average to complete the race.

We asked him whether he ever experienced any regrets about entering the race. "When I'm running I switch off completely. It's like I'm in a tunnel," he explains. In addition to some photos that he was able to take, the experience was enhanced by a surprising encounter.

"At kilometer 38 or 39 I saw an orange SG Stern t-shirt from Mannheim. I ran over to the gentleman and asked him where he was from." The casual conversation that followed "over three or four kilometers" against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps revealed that the man was indeed an employee from Mannheim who had the same idea. The runners slept through the get-together that evening in the hotel, but they were able to discuss their experiences in Mannheim.

The ultramarathon satisfied the desire for running for a while. But after a week without much sport, Markus jumped back onto his mountain bike, and the week after that there was nothing that could keep him from going back to running again. It also went "very well".

But it seems that the triathlon will never make it into the impressive list of Markus's achievements - water is not his thing.

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