Eiserne Märker: At the Ironman in Hawaii, some Brandenburgers also start in the triathlon mecca

Nils Frommhold is the Hawaii veteran among the Brandenburg starters. The 33-year-old will be competing in Kona for the fourth time, and on his debut in 2014 he catapulted himself straight into sixth. After lengthy Achilles tendon problems, he even thought about retiring after he had to drop out of the top 5 in Hawaii in 2017. “I was just empty,” Frommhold recalls. He took a complete break from exercising and started studying. “But this Kona thing still feels so incomplete,” says the Freiburg resident who started his career in Potsdam. “If I can deliver my performance, I have to hide behind a few and the top 10 is in.” Status: professional Best time: 7:51:28 hours Alter: 33 Place of residence: Freiburg Society: Team Erdinger alcohol-free Triathlete since: 1999.

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Kathrin Liebmann was very lucky in her Hawaii qualification. Because a race in China had to be canceled due to a typhoon, 30 qualifying places were raffled – and both she and her boyfriend were among the winners. “We do this for fun, we have a lot of fun doing it, we don’t really care about time,” says the 57-year-old doctor, who is starting in Hawaii for the first time. “Of course you do a little more than usual, but if you’ve been with us for a few years, you have a certain foundation,” says the Potsdam native. In 2011 she switched from the marathon to the triathlon, Hawaii finished fifth over the long distance. It builds on mental strength, “I have the impression that we old people sometimes manage better”. Status: Hobby triathlete Best time: 12:36 hours Alter: 57 Place of residence: Potsdam Society: Zeppelin Team Potsdam Triathlete since: 2011

For Marcel Bossog, the preparation went anything but ideal. The 43-year-old had to take several breaks due to an injury, six weeks ago he even broke his elbow. The Potsdam native describes these setbacks as “very, very frustrating”. Still, he says, “Hawaii is the icing on the cake for me. The real goal is to qualify, the competition itself as a rookie, so it’s just a matter of enjoying. I don’t want to let the atmosphere be ruined, I go for it in a relaxed manner and without any thoughts on performance, ”says the Geltower. He trains 14 to 20 hours a week – in addition to his full-time job. After Hawaii he wants to take a break from the triathlon for an indefinite period. Status: Hobby triathlete Best time: 9:44:46 hours Alter: 43 Place of residence: Geltow Society: Zeppelin Team Potsdam Triathlete since: 2010

Franz Löschke (picture above) made a virtue out of necessity. Because the Potsdam native could not train at the highest intensity due to a stubborn pubic bone inflammation a year ago, he switched to the longer distances – with success. At the European Championships in Frankfurt he stormed third behind the triathlon superstars Jan Frodeno (Hawaii winner 2015, 2016) and Sebastian Kienle (2014) and qualified for Hawaii for the first time. Löschke has been preparing for four weeks with Kienle. “I’m grateful for every hint and luckily Sebi is someone who gives me tips and is brutally honest,” says the triathlon professional. He does not issue goals out of superstition. “You can never predict the time on Kona anyway, because you never know what the wind will be like,” says Löschke. But it could cause a little surprise. Status: professional Best time: 8:06:07 hours Alter: 30 Place of residence: Potsdam Society: Triathlon Potsdam Triathlete since: 1999

Hans-Joachim Weißflog’s passion for sports began almost 20 years ago. “When I turned 48, I stopped running and stopped smoking,” remembers the Cottbus resident, who sits in the city parliament for the Greens. After the fifth marathon, he was looking for a new challenge – and found it in the triathlon in 2005. A year later he completed his first Ironman, in 2018 he qualified for the middle distance World Cup. “That was a teasing story, a great atmosphere and a bunch of interesting people. On the plane back I thought: darn it, why not take off from Hawaii, ”remembers Weißflog. He trains around 15 hours a week. “I have a lot of respect for Hawaii.” Status: Hobby triathlete Best time: 11:48 hours Alter: 66 Place of residence: Cottbus Society: TSV Cottbus Triathlete since: 2005

For the late starter – the 29-year-old only started triathlon two and a half years ago – it is the first time he has taken part on Kona. In general, the athletic thrust of the native of Meyenburg (Prignitz), who now lives in Lübeck and trains at least 30 hours a week, is impressive. At the end of July Mattner completed the Ironman in Hamburg, his first ever on the long distance, and was second best amateur. “I had enough time to be there in Hawaii,” cheered the former footballer, who ran the final marathon in a strong 2:56 minutes. He and his girlfriend Marie have been in Hawaii since the beginning of October: “I’m really looking forward to this unique experience.” Status: Hobby triathlete Best time: 8:53:54 hours Alter: 29 Place of residence: Lübeck Society: Team Erdinger alcohol-free Triathlete since: 2016

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