When I talk to my friends and colleagues about my hobby taking part in obstacle races, the reaction is usually a mixture of surprise, sympathy and unspoken doubts as to whether or not I’ve lost my marbles. 😉 Admittedly, climbing over 2.5-metre-high wooden walls, crawling through mud or jumping into ice-cold streams in freezing temperatures – all of which I do voluntarily as part of these ‘adventure runs’ – is not for everyone. For me, though, life is about pursuing ambitious goals, and that goes for sport and work alike.

I’ve always done a lot of running, but I came across obstacle races quite by accident. Two years ago, some friends of mine took me to a training session and I’ve been fascinated with the sport ever since. In spring 2017, I competed in my first ever adventure run in Holland. I’m now planning in between ten and twelve races a year.

Photo from the Spartan Race in Oberndorf, Austria

The ‘chain carry’ obstacle at the Spartan Race in Oberndorf in Tyrol, Austria. Competitors have to carry 32 kg of extra weight through hip-deep mud – one of the obstacles on the 28-kilometre course.

No one gets left behind

With obstacle races, the community spirit is at least as important as finishing the race. Everyone in the group looks out for everyone else, with the stronger participants helping others to conquer obstacles. The motto for these competitions is ‘no one gets left behind’. Everyone helps each other, regardless of whether its someone from your own group or someone who’s taking part on their own. It’s a team challenge and, at the end, we enjoy having completed it together. I’m also lucky in that my wife takes part in the races, too.

Photo from the Spartan Race in Munich, Germany

Finishing line at the start of April after more than 20 obstacles over an 8.5-km course at the opening race of the Spartan series in the Olympic Stadium, Munich.

It is amazing what the body will do when it has to. Ultimately, it’s your spirit and force of will that drive you on: you have to summon every last bit of strength and really give it your all. For me, it’s an interesting experience testing the very limits of your physical and mental capacity when tackling the obstacles.

Facing monumental challenges head-on

Many obstacles seem impossible at first glance. But when I accept a challenge – and in a broader sense – believe in my mission, I can really make things happen both at work or in the races. The following video – part of an internal campaign at MANN+HUMMEL in 2017/18 – was created in this spirit. Its aim was to make employees proud of what we have achieved and also to give them confidence that we can also overcome future challenges together.

Society and the economy are constantly in flux. We are all confronted with obstacles, large and small, which we can and must face together – whether in sports teams or our teams at work – and which we need to face head-on. My experience with the obstacle races has given me a certain self-confidence, so I am able to face even monumental challenges head-on. I know that I can complete any task and approach any situation with a positive mindset.

Sustainability and FreciousPlus

Cabin filters have been around since the 1980s. With FreciousPlus, we laid down a new milestone. The aim was to offer something in the automotive segment that had not been available beforehand and had previously unheard-of functions. That was four years ago. As a team, we believed in our product. Looking back, we can now say that it was a complete success as we have been able to take the market for cabin filters to a new level.

Cabin filters

To begin with, not everyone was taken with the idea – we needed to ensure suitable preparations were made and to remain patient. Many colleagues needed convincing that this was the right way to go. Working on this task and then experiencing the success of our product makes us proud when we look back and brings us a great deal of enjoyment. Change is my motivation. Is there a new idea we can work on? Can we drive it forward, overcome obstacles and then celebrate together at the end? Then what are we waiting for?