I’ve been an enthusiastic runner for a couple of years now. In the past, I preferred mountain biking since it is a fast-paced sport, but eventually I realised that running was much more convenient. Just put on a pair of shoes and off you go! Running is really popular in the Czech Republic and there are races taking place most weekends, both on flat track and in the mountains. This year, I’m competing in a series of five trail running races in hills around the country as part of the “Run the Woods” series.

On your marks…

I joined MANN+HUMMEL Czech Republic in January 2016. The service centre and production facilities are so big that it takes a bit of time to meet everyone who works there. Because of this, I was looking for an opportunity to get to know my colleagues from both the Czech Republic and across the globe. That was when someone mentioned the Citylauf to me. The Citylauf is a 10km race that takes place in Ludwigsburg every year. Runners from MANN+HUMMEL Czech Republic have been taking part for the last several years and I saw a feature in our internal email newsletter that said they were putting a team together for the 2016 race.

Get set…

This year, as MANN+HUMMEL are celebrating their 75th Anniversary and were also a major sponsor of the Citylauf, the aim was to enter the biggest team of runners the company has ever put together. Around 35 people from the Czech Republic, mostly MANN+HUMMEL employees along with family members and supporters, travelled to Ludwigsburg. We travelled together via coach so the team spirit began even before we arrived in Germany. We were pre-registered by a colleague in Germany who acted as a co-ordinator for the whole MANN+HUMMEL team. I am very grateful for that support; it made life so much easier. It must have been quite a job as there were 744 runners in the MANN+HUMMEL team, not only from Europe but from all over the world.

Go!

On the day itself, the atmosphere was electric. The streets were full of cheering crowds. For the first few kilometres, we were in the middle of the city taking in the sights. I felt a bit like a tourist on a supercharged sightseeing tour! Now, I feel like I know Ludwigsburg like the back of my hand as I’ve run up and down most of its streets.

I finished with a time of 38 minutes 44 seconds. I was very pleased with the result and came second amongst the Czech team. I am happy to say my Czech teammate in front of me was also the first MANN+HUMMEL representative to finish overall. After a short recovery, I had the opportunity to support the other runners, cheering them on during the final metres before the finish line. Afterwards I had the chance to stretch my legs whilst dancing at the after-race party – a brilliant way to wind down.

Thanks for the support

The support from the back-up team was outstanding: from organising the registration, to administration and guidance on the day, to finally looking after us after we had finished. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all. They made the experience unforgettable.

So what’s next for me? Well, I’ve still got a few runs to complete as part of the “Run the Woods” series. I’ll try to get a place at the Munich full marathon next year and then who knows? New York? London? I will let you know…

running-experience