Nordhausen triathlete Dennis Morgenstern has Hawaii as his goal
Nordhäuser definitely wants to complete a long distance this year too. At home again if necessary.
Nordhausen. Dennis Morgenstern from the ORTHIM Triathlon Team, who starts for Verein Triathlon Nordhausen eV, is one of Thuringia’s fastest long-distance triathletes. He has already mastered the ultimate distance of 3.8 kilometers of swimming, 180 kilometers of cycling and 42 kilometers of running more than ten times and can show a best time of 9:01:50 hours, which he set at the Ironman in Italy in 2019. In an interview, the father of two talks about his Corona project of “Ironman at home”, how he got into triathlon and about his goals for the coming years.
In the summer you completed a complete long distance alone at home due to the pandemic. How did the idea for this project come about?
I actually wanted to start over the long distance in Hanover, but the competition was canceled. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the Thuringian Triathlon Association launched a digital racing series in spring, so at some point I thought that it is also possible to cover a long distance alone. To be honest, I already had the idea before Jan Frodeno did his Ironman at home.
On which routes did you complete the long distance, were there any logistical challenges?
I swam in my pool because I have a countercurrent system there that I was able to use for training during the first lockdown. On the bike, I decided on my daily work route, which meant a lap of 60 kilometers each time. This was necessary because my family handed me a new bottle after each round – of course, a long distance is not possible without food and, unlike in a competition, it had to be organized by yourself. I would have found it difficult to organize a 180-kilometer circuit myself. The choice of the running route was similar with a course about ten kilometers long. The challenge here was to adapt to the train travel times, as I had to cross level crossings several times. So some logistical planning in advance was absolutely necessary.
How did the Ironman go at home compared to the long distance races before?
I was in full competition mode and in really good shape. I had put on my starting number from a previous race to increase the feeling of competition. Despite the pandemic, I was able to train well beforehand. It felt like one of the best long distances ever. I had few problems on the way, I was able to complete all disciplines consistently and needed less than 9:20 hours in total.
Are there any plans for 2021?
I have registered again for the Wasserstadt-Triathlon in Hanover and hope that it will take place this time. If there is no competition again, I would do a long distance at home again. Compared to normal competition, this has advantages, offers greater flexibility and it is easier for the family to take part. Either way: In 2021 there will be another long distance.
For many triathletes, a big goal is qualification and a start at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Do you still have this in view?
Coming to Hawaii once is definitely a medium-term goal. In 2014 it was already close when I missed qualifying by just nine seconds. I don’t want to force it, though, I wouldn’t give up for it at the moment – but it might still work out in the next few years, after all, some racing luck is also part of it.
How did you get into triathlon?
From childhood I played soccer for almost 16 years. When I was 18, I injured myself for the first time with a torn cruciate ligament in my right knee, followed by a cruciate ligament tear in my left knee. After the first injury, I did swimming and cycling in the build-up training, after the second injury I increasingly thought about doing a triathlon competition. As a result, I started my first triathlon in 2009 as part of the Scheunenhof Triathlon and then stayed with it.
Are you currently noticing changes in everyday training due to the pandemic?
The only thing I don’t do at the moment due to the closure of the bathhouse is swimming training, instead I do more athletic exercises. When it comes to cycling and running, I am on a similar level to previous years, I run two to three times a week and cycle twice on the roller. When I swim, I hope to be able to train again in the pool by the end of March at the latest.