Nele Alder-Baerens

Nele Alder-Baerens ran 85.492km/6H !

Nele had fantastic 2016 year when she smashed all “short” ultra-races at German National Champions (first place at 50 km, 6H, 100km). On top of that she manage to secure second place at IAU 50 km World Championship in Doha (Qatar). All those results were recognized by IAU and she was nominated to the IAU Athletes of the Year 2016. There were only 16 nominees from all over the world on the short list and she was there as well. Jacek Bedkowski had the chance to interview this remarkable German athlete.

Now we are in the beginning of 2017 and you manage to set All Time World Best Performance for 6H race (85,492 km) during German National Championship in Münster (13-Mar-2017). It was not only the best results but you were the first amongst all runners. In top 3 results all time for 6H you set two of them.

Jacek Bedkowski (JB): Can you tell us how did you do it? What was your strategy for the race? Were you planning to break record during this 6H race? Please tell us more about this fantastic performance.

Nele Alder-Baerens (NA-B): Thanks a lot for your kind introduction! In 2016 it was my debut at 6H race in Nuremberg and I miss the Japanese record with only 202m. I finished with 82.998 km. For that, it was in my mind but I was not expecting to do so well during German 6H Championship. Directly after start, my watch stop working and I had no time control (only decremental LOC clock). I had to run my own. In my mind I remembered a pre-estimated 50K split time and after breaking this time around few minutes with 3:24:13, I realized, the record is potentially within my range. The conditions were great. We were running on flat 5K loop, sunshine, comfortable temperature, flying bottle handover by my husband. It all worked well for me. The only problematic aspect for me was the partially crowded loop and almost permanent outrun, due to my vision impairment. Fortunately, my slow pace in the end of the race was good enough to secure record breaking attempt. There was one special surprise for me during last hour of the race. The supporters performed the Mexican wave and the sign of clapping for deaf people. It was fantastic and motivates me to keep pushing.

JB: How did you feel after the race?

NA-B: After end race signal (I had a final lap bike escort to ensure, that I stop correctly – hand signal) I was so glad to stop and finally aware, that I managed to break the record. I need some time to realize that. Lot of runners, officials and supporters came for congratulation and shared the happiness with me. My husband hugged me enthusiastically. It was great to share with him this unique adventure and special moment.
JB: You set fantastic results for 50km (3:20:33), 6H races (85.492 km), 100km (7:29:04) and won German Championship 6 times. Is this your main focus on “short” ultra (up to 100 km) or this is a transition to move to 12H and finally 24H?

NA-B: Thanks, it looks like list is long. This year will also be focused on “short” ultra. But in future I will try the longer ones as well. I have no idea what will happens to me and if I am able to extend my performance up to 12H and 24H. A dream (!) is to participate in the Spartathlon one day and I am sure that there are many other ultrarunners that dream about this race like me.

JB: What is your next target? There are still two German National Championships coming this year (50 km and 100 km) and potentially IAU 50 km World Championship. Will you participate in all of them or you will focus on specific race(s)?

NA-B: As always I will focus on important events for me. My next race this year is the 100 km National Championship in June (Berlin), than the Deaflympic marathon in July (Deaflympics are the Olympic Games of the Deaf people) and hopefully the IAU 50 km World Championship! It would be great, if IAU could manage an alternative LOC for the 50 km. The 50 km National Championship dated in the end of October and it is close to potential IAU 50 km World Championship so I am not sure if I will be able to run it. In addition the national 50 km is on the trail with +1100m altitude difference (Schwäbisch Gmünd – 21-Oct-2017). It is more utra trail than road 50 km.

JB: In 2018 we will have IAU 100 km World Championship in Croatia. Will you take this race into consideration or maybe you will focus more at national level?

NA-B: If I will not have any injuries, I would be glad to be nominated and participate at the IAU 100K World Championships in Croatia 2018.

JB: What is the motivation that pushes you to work hard on training every day and what is your ultimate goal that you would like to reach in ultra?

NA-B: Running (and hiking) is my life. Feeling the power of body and mind, working with them and not against them. Motivation is also the opportunity to share pleasure of ultrarunning with all the other runners and meet them all over the world. We are like family. Hard training is not easy every day, especially in cold, full of snow winter, but the reward is much bigger and more appreciated. Setting a World Record is an ultimate goal for me. For that, all other results are supplement and I am satisfied. I can say the WR is a cherry on the cake for me. At the moment I have the opportunity to experience a great time and have success but I know I am not alone up there and competition or injuries can happened. In future, when I am to slow for competitions, I dream of long distance runs at multiday events.

Thank you and all the best for the future.
Thanks for the kind interview.

Nele Alder-Baeren
Nele Alder-Baeren

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