8th PLACE.

STORY TOLD BY STEPHANIE PLATT

Pictures by Max Menning

Before telling you about my Hamburg Half adventure, you need to know that, only a few months earlier, I ran my first half marathon ever with my crew - the KRAFT. boys. Together, we mastered the Berlin Half 2017 right after The Speed Project 3.0. As a team, we went through 21k and more than unexpected I finished with a time of 01:20:23h. It has been soo unbelievable, I couldn’t really realise it. Since my first half has been so great, I decided – pumped with euphoria – that I had to do the 21k again. The decision to run the Hamburg Half was made.

Together with #fotokraft Max, I traveled to Hamburg to go on that one mission of doing it again and having the tiny little dream of breaking the 1:20h (super unrealistic at that time).

But it was more than just running the 21k, it was about new experiences: learning about fitness bloggers’ lives, being part of the BTG for the first time, doing it without the boys’ support and fighting against the weather. This weekend in Hamburg was full of fun, friends, city tripping, running and having a good time.

It started with an unforgettable railway trip of sitting on the floor with not enough space to stretch out the legs. Let’s say it was the opposite of comfortable traveling. But we made it to Hamburg and had a very warm welcome by lovely Lou who hosted us for the weekend. Lou invited me to lead the Shake Out Run for her own Running crew, the so called Running Squad Hamburg. It was a great opportunity to host this run and to give the girls and boys some extra tips for their upcoming race. But before every race day, there is always Pasta Party. So Max and I checked out the BTG Event hosted by Tide Runners and Run Fleet. Of course, we had lots of pasta and met other run crew members. By the way, we also ran into Pacer Mike who told us that he would aim for a 1:20h, so I knew: “This is my man”.

 Shake Out Run w/ Running Squad Hamburg

Shake Out Run w/ Running Squad Hamburg

The morning before the race was quite different to my usual routine. So, when we were on the way to the start, we all were lost in our own little world full of thoughts. Except for Max who was really delighted and talkative about the BTG Cheering Zone awaiting him as the one and only SuperKRAFT photographer. Arriving at the starting area I was like: ok, let's find Pacer Mike, but at the same time get ready for the start.

While warming up I was super confused about the starting time, especially because my plan was to start from line one. So I had to fight my way from the very end through lots of runners reaching the starting line and finally finding Pacer Mike. He and his crew members from Red Snakes Milano were planning to run the half marathon in 1:20h or even breaking this magic number.
Right after the beginning of the race I have lost the Red Snakes, which made me feel slightly unsure about my pace. Anyway they got me again after 3k and then I realised that I might be in time.

 Steffi going strong with sub 4:00min/km

Steffi going strong with sub 4:00min/km

The audience and the cheering people along the Hamburger Fischmarkt were incredible. They pushed me while clapping hands, screaming and cheering at me. This was such an unforgettable moment which still gives me goosebumps all over my body and having the biggest smile on my face. A moment that made me feel like flying, I forgot about the kilometres ahead which would for sure become a fight at the very end. So I made my way super focused on the slippery ground always trying to find a dry space for every step.

The next goal was to reach the Cheering Hub where Max was waiting for me. Fun fact: He didn't expect me that early so he was really just in time when I crossed the party zone. Running through the crazy cheering mop felt like seconds.

 Steffi rushing through the cheering crowd

Steffi rushing through the cheering crowd

I finally got to a point of exhaustion where my legs started to feel heavy and tired and a kilometre just would not end. This period was the part where you have to be mentally strong to fight against the pain. I tried to get a refreshing shower by one of the kind helping hands but the others misinterpreted my gestures; so all of them emptied their cups of water over my head, so I was super refreshed afterwards. ;-)

Suddenly, only 3k left the hardest ones ever, but the guy running in front of me hearing me complaining tried to give me a motivational-push by screaming at me. What a great move. That was fair play at its best. Something that really stayed strongly in your mind.

AND THEN I FINISHED!

My watch said 1.20:53h and there it was again the magic number of 1:20h. But is this going to be my final finisher time? Just minutes of waiting for the result papers which confirmed the time I had on my watch. It took me quite a while to realise that I was ranked 8th fastest women in total and won the second place in the german ranking.

First thing I had to do was sharing these exciting news with Max and by the way telling him to hurry up for the awards ceremony. So Max got his own workout making his way from kilometre 17.5 to the finish line, running side by side with the half marathon competitors fully packed with photographer equipment. This might have been Max’s personal highlight of the Hamburg Half.
He made it in time for taking some obliged photos of me getting the winner’s certificate and flowers. No better way to start the after race get together.

 Happy after-race pic

Happy after-race pic

Sadly, we missed the after-race party but next time we definitely won't miss any after race party. Especially because everyone told us to do so and of course it's mandatory.

So the biggest thanks goes to Max for supporting me in anyway.

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