From the night shift to Hawaii: Jonas Weller surprises at the debut | – Sports

Status: 07.10.2022 08:45 a.m

Only in June did the former rower Jonas Weller from Ratzeburg secure the ticket for Hawaii – at his first Ironman ever. And that despite the fact that the 27-year-old has to work through the night in his job. Now he started in the age group 25 to 29 years.

by Finn-Ole Martins

Jonas Weller stands in front of a giant billboard on the Big Island, the largest of the Hawaiian Islands. With a ballpoint pen, he scribbles his name on one of the remaining white spaces on the huge sheet of paper. All participants of the Ironman 2022 sign here before the start – with over 5,000 there are twice as many as usual. “My handwriting hasn’t changed since I was six,” Weller wrote on social media, where he captured his preparations in short videos. “But fortunately I’ve improved my swimming, cycling and running since then.”

Hawaii is every triathlete’s dream destination

Hawaii is to triathletes what Wimbledon is to tennis players. Everyone wants to swim the 3.8 kilometers in the Pacific and then cycle 180 kilometers and then complete a marathon between the volcanic fields. “The myth of Hawaii lives through the local conditions,” Weller had said in the run-up to the start. The high humidity, the heat that presses not only from above but also from below through the volcanoes to the left and right of the asphalt. “You need a perfect day in all three disciplines. I can also imagine that I won’t be able to cope with the heat. But I know that I will be mentally prepared for it.” And Weller was able to show that in his Ironman debut: He delivered an almost sovereign race, crossing the finish line after 9 hours, 27 minutes and 51 seconds. That puts him 25th (of 195) in his age group (M 25-29) in his Hawaii debut. “Let’s see what’s going on ahead,” was his slogan and not only wanted to enjoy the route, but also stay under ten hours – goal achieved.

The former rower is familiar with the element of water

Jonas Weller from Ratzeburg has prepared intensively for his first Ironman in Hawaii.

Weller has always been athletic. He started rowing early – first at school, then during his studies. He studied on the East Coast in the USA, then in London. He was U23 Vice World Champion in the lightweight quadruple. “I’m benefiting from that now,” says Weller – and means above all the head. “It plays an important role both in the boat and in the triathlon. It was my strength in rowing, in competitions I was always able to torture myself more than others.” When rowing, however, it was only a short, very intense pain. “It’s much, much longer with the Ironman. There’s only one motto: keep going, kilometer by kilometer.” This already applies to the first discipline, swimming. “It was quite a change if you didn’t master the technique from an early age. But through rowing I already have an understanding of the element of water.”

Working at night, sleeping and exercising during the day

After his studies, he noticed that there was not enough time left for rowing at a high level after work. “But I wanted to continue looking for the challenge – and ended up doing the triathlon, which I had previously completed during the summer break.” But training for a triathlon is also time-consuming and energy-intensive. Weller’s daily routine is all the more remarkable. “I get up a little after midnight to be at work at one o’clock.” He works the night shift for a parcel delivery company – until ten in the morning. “Then he goes to bed and then starts training around 6 p.m. His everyday life has been like this for two years, Weller explains. If you will, he has been living in Hawaiian time since then, because he had jet lag after arriving He doesn’t: “I slept through the night after the flight and was then in top shape.”

Training via WhatsApp and in the bathtub

In order to tailor the training perfectly to his body, he brought in a trainer from Austria. “We haven’t seen each other in person until today,” laughs Weller. The units are prepared via WhatsApp messages. “And that’s going really well. In America, rowing was used in every session, it was incredibly intense. Now my training is much more controlled. There are many relaxed sessions that are sometimes so slow that I’m almost uncomfortable. “

The variety that this creates gives him a better feeling: “It makes you feel better in the tough processes because you’re fresher. That’s why I even enjoy the slow runs now and can switch off my head.” In order to adjust to the heat and the humidity, we often went into the over 40 degree hot tub after training. With that he tried to adjust his body to everything as well as possible.

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sport/mehr_sport/schroeder1864_v-thumbnailgross.jpg 128w, 568w, 760w, 1067w, 1920w, 184w, 256w, 280w, 376w" sizes="1px">Thorsten Schröder during triathlon training © Thorsten Schröder Photo: Thorsten Schröder

28 Min

The final preparations for the start in Kona are underway: The Ironman on October 8 in Hawaii can come. 28 mins

The first Ironman: First the victory, then the collapse

However, he would not have thought it possible that things would go so well at the first start. “A year ago, Hawaii was still a big dream. I didn’t know how good I was under competitive conditions. I always wanted to go to Hamburg.” The Ironman, for which Weller had trained, took place there in June. It was his first ever – and immediately successful: He finished third and was first in his age group. That was the important thing, because you qualify for Hawaii through your age group. He could have been even faster. “But in the last kilometers of the marathon, I noticed that I was almost falling over the front. I had to slow down to make it to the finish. There I collapsed for a moment.” The reason: He had taken in too little salt so that his body could not absorb any water.

Organization and equipment are everything

The short-term qualification only three months before the big competition on the other side of the world forced Weller to organize a lot of things spontaneously and at short notice. He had already approached sponsors who would support him in advance. “In order to achieve a good placement, you have to be in top form, but you also need the right equipment.” The bicycle alone, which is sponsored for him, is as expensive as the entire trip. He expects a cost framework of around 10,000 euros for them – the entry fee alone costs more than 1,000 euros. He quickly had his clothing redesigned for the sponsors in order to present it on site.

Problems on the spot – the overnight stay in the car

Ironman Hawaii competitor just before they have to swim their distance © World Triathlon Corporation - Ironman Photo: World Triathlon Corporation - Ironman

Hawaii is to triathletes what Wimbledon is to tennis players.

But not everything went smoothly – especially the arrival: When we arrived at the airport, the bike was missing, and it came a day later. “It must have been checked at border control at the airport and then just thrown in. My upholstery was worthless. But luckily it only got a few scratches.” The fact that the rented apartment wasn’t ready to move into as agreed didn’t throw him off balance either. “We slept with a view of the ocean the first night, which was nice too,” he says. The days that followed were regenerated, just a short training session – and then on Thursday evening, German time, it was off to the track.

travel as a reward

In order to regenerate the body and now to enjoy Hawaii, Jonas Weller and his girlfriend will stay there until Monday, then want to travel the West Coast and stop by Boston for a moment. It should be a trip that he will not forget again – and that may seem like a dream to him in a few weeks when he goes back to the night shift. But one thing is also clear: It shouldn’t have been the last time, so that he might be able to write his signature on a large poster in Hawaii again next year.

Further information

sport/mehr_sport/schroeder1758_v-thumbnailgross.jpg 128w, 568w, 760w, 1067w, 1920w, 184w, 256w, 280w, 376w" sizes="1px">Thorsten Schröder during Ironman training © Thorsten Schröder Photo: Thorsten Schröder

The moderator will take part in the toughest triathlon in the world in October. He had been working towards this for two years and reported on the video blog at more

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