Hawaii again, then it’s over

Jörg Küstermann ensures that Woltersdorf (district of Biederitz) is represented at the Ironman Hawaii.

Biederitz l Jörg Küstermann is a repeat offender. Four times in the past three decades he was able to secure one of the coveted starting places for the legendary triathlon in the Kona District on Hawaii’s main island Big Island. The addition of 2019 to the list after 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2002 was not planned, says the 67-year-old: “I actually ended my career in Kalmar in August, my last competition was supposed to take place in Sweden.”






But it went so well that the former surgeon from the Marienstift in Magdeburg finished the Ironman qualification competition in third place in his age group. “Each winner will be offered a starting place for the World Championship in Hawaii at the award ceremony. And suddenly the first canceled ”, says Küstermann with flashing eyes. “I got really strange when the second placed didn’t want to and then it was my husband’s turn …” continues Carmen Küstermann.






From A3K to triathlon

The planned end of his career therefore only lasted a few minutes. “It must be fate that I should get another chance to experience Hawaii as an active person”, said the ambitious amateur athlete. Or the reward for his efforts. During the GDR era he was a good swimmer who made it into the top performance squad. In the 1980s he began the so-called endurance triathlon (this is how triathlon was called in the GDR, A3K for short). Küstermann started his first triathlon competition with his son Nico in 1990 in Frankfurt / Main. “That’s when my passion was really awakened,” said Küstermann, who has contested 35 Ironman competitions to date and has competed in numerous other triathlons.

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The former doctor is often laughed at when he starts his training in Woltersdorf or when he swims in the Elbe swimming pool in Magdeburg. While others tend the garden, he is out on his bike or in running gear. “It’s the physical and mental challenge that appeals to me. First and foremost, I compete against myself. Sport also gives me the opportunity to get to know other people and get around a lot, ”says Küstermann, who is a member of the Magdeburg Triathlon Club (MTC) and a professional in the amateur field, if you will. Monaco, New Zealand, France – he’s at the start worldwide. His wife is always there. “The triathlon scene is like a family and has grown a lot over the past few years. We made a lot of friends, ”says Carmen Küstermann. She is more in the middle of the events than just there and supports and motivates from the edge of the track. She is Jörg Küstermann’s biggest fan, but she also criticizes: “When it works, I just can’t look anymore. It looks kind of weird, ”she says with a laugh. Its starts are firmly integrated into the vacation and weekend planning and linked to trips and. The couple has covered thousands of kilometers in their motorhome and experienced some unforgettable moments.





However: Passion has its price. “You not only have to invest a lot of time in preparation, but also invest a lot of money in the equipment,” says Küstermann. One of his racing bikes cost a high four-digit amount, and a four-digit sum was also due for swimsuit and running gear. There are also entry fees for the events and travel expenses. Due to the spontaneous decision to “accept the stroke of luck ‘Hawaii’”, the entry fee is over 900 euros, for flights and accommodation even a “very high four-digit amount.” Just the transfer of the bike, with which Jörg Küstermann traveled the 180-kilometer journey. Route will cost around 400 euros.






But the bottom line is that the profit predominates, say Carmen and Jörg Küstermann unanimously. In 1996, the couple said yes – on the finish line of the Ironman. “You have to be a little crazy,” says Carmen Küstermann. Seen in this way, Hawaii is a special place for the couple anyway. “The atmosphere along the routes is unique, and the finish line is incredible. Hawaii should now be the culmination of my career, but then it will be over, “says Jörg Küstermann with more anticipation than sadness in his voice.






Slim figure

He did not make the decision for health reasons. Except for two broken shoulders, he was spared major injuries and has kept a slim figure. “I’ve never been sick or on medication. But there is nothing I can do about old age ”, says Küstermann with a wink.






He was therefore very happy that he had already completed basic training through the triathlon in Sweden and that he can “build on it for Hawaii. I just have to hold the shape somehow, ”is the approach. Specifically, the training weeks looked like that every day there is a unit such as 50 to 60 kilometers cycling, ten kilometers running or swimming, he is active for three and a half hours a day.






“I use the days before the start to get used to the climatic conditions and to get used to the tracks again,” he says. In the race itself he “always concentrates on the next section: when swimming on the tack, on the water, the bag in the transition area, the bike …” Only when running is he “in the tunnel” and doesn’t think anymore. Ideally, Jörg Küstermann’s last triathlon start on Saturday should be the same. About 30 participants are in his age group 65 to 69. The fact that his four previous “Hawaii times” are only 30 minutes apart and that the clock stopped at his fastest Ironman at 11/11/12, “then doesn’t matter. The main thing is that I get through. “






Last year he wanted to use a triathlon in France to end his career. “But I couldn’t start because of a shoulder injury. And so I didn’t want to resign. On the recommendation of a good friend who we got to know through sport, the choice fell on Kalmar as the grand finale, ”said Küstermann with a smile. And how it ended is well known: With a flight to the most famous island in the Pacific Ocean.






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