In the last years you were skiing and climbing a lot and had also some serious injuries – what are your plans for the near future?
I will continue to vary my activities with the season (skiing in winter; climbing, biking, and running in summer), but I hope to continue to be able to run pain-free and consistently. I’m not done racing ultras, I plan on doing more going forward. Competition is personally very rewarding for me.
Outdoor and running – two topics that come closer to each other in the last years. At least that is something what the industry tells us. Do you think this is just an industry hype or a real thing?
For me, running is simply an effective way to move efficiently and self-sufficiently in the outdoors. I love the simplicity and utility of it. So, yes, it makes sense that it would be combined with other outdoor activities - climbing, biking, skiing - to tackle interesting objectives in the mountains. There is no need to limit an activity by trying to define it. Don’t stifle inspiration and creativity with a label.
You are very popular, you have over 100.000 Followers on Facebook, have you ever wondered that you as a trail runner have more fans than some Olympic Champion for instance?
Of course I have wondered about this. I don’t know the answer.
Where does your success/popularity come from, what do you think?
Like I said above, I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me, too.
How do you “take care” of your fans and followers?
I don’t. Through social media, I offer a window into a part of my daily life. People are free to follow along or not.
Do you think it is sometimes a burden to have all those fans and to be so popular?
Sometimes I wish I were a little more anonymous. I’m naturally an introverted, low-key person. It is sometimes uncomfortable to be recognized all the time. But, that recognition also allows me to enjoy a certain lifestyle as a sponsored athlete, so I can’t be too bothered by it.
What characterizes a good sponsor?
I have to believe in the products and in the company practices. The company’s marketing has to feel true to me. If these things are in place, then it is a natural fit and we can usually form a mutually beneficial relationship.
What can sponsors do for athletes?
Provide equipment, promote them as individuals. In return, athletes endorse their products exclusively and help with product development.
What are you planning to do after your trail-running-career?
Possibly work in the outdoor industry. Possibly do something completely unrelated.
The races tend to become longer and longer and more extreme, what do you think where does the development lead to?
I don’t think longer necessarily equals better. For me, the 100 mile distance has always been a nice upper limit. It is very difficult - much more challenging than something I could ever do in training - but it doesn’t require months of recovery afterwards. If you run correctly, a one-mile race can be just as challenging as a 100 mile race. The distance isn’t the point, the point is rather to challenge yourself, prepare for that challenge, and then try your hardest.
Looking back which run was the most exciting in the last time?
I don’t have a most exciting run. The most exciting run for me is the one I just did and the next one that I get to do.
What are the best places to run for ultra-runners and trailrunners?
The best place to run is where ever it is most convenient for you. It doesn’t matter where you run, only that you gain satisfaction from it and make it a consistent practice.