In the final sprint to bronze: alexander dautel surprises with german national team

In a spectacular final, alexander dautel surprisingly finishes third with the german national team at the 100-kilometer world championships. Alexander dautel could hardly believe it when he crossed the finish line. The man from kronach had just completed 100 kilometers in the 30-kilometer race. 100 km world championships (IAU) in sveti martin na muri, croatia. 6:52:57 hours stood with him on the clock – place 12 under 252 participants and a new personal best time. But that’s not all. Together with five other runners, he competed for the german national team and won bronze, the first german team medal in the men’s race since 2006.

"I didn’t know where we were in the race", says dautel. Before the last rounds, the german team was still in 5th place behind the spaniards and the u.S. Team. Dautel overtook a spanish rider in the last turn and a supervisor shouted to his teammate karsten fischer: "step on it! It’s all about the medal, the man from kronach tells. And fischer set off, also overtaking a spanish and an american and collapsing at the finish line, exhausted. But the team had made up twelve and a half minutes on the competition from the USA in the overall standings and had the bronze medal in its pocket.

For the reigning german champion over 100 kilometers it was the second attempt at a world championship. Back in 2016, he made his debut for the german national team in los alcazares, spain. However, with a time of 7:26:11 hours, he fell well short of his own expectations.

Training camp in kronach

"Last time the scenery must have impressed me too much. But this time i had more experience on the 100 kilometers and a good feeling. I knew that I was well prepared", he says. In july and august, the berliner by choice had prepared for the world championships, also with a training camp in his home country. "I did a lot of high meters because the course in croatia is also relatively rough."

The 30-year-old had not set himself a target time this time. The target was at least a ranking among the top 25. "I didn’t think that the race would go so well." After a 2.5 kilometer lap, the runners went on to run 13 7.5 kilometer long laps on asphalt.

In the morning, with cloudy skies and about 16 degrees, dautel started cautiously and gradually improved. This was to pay off, because in the afternoon the sun and the strong heat of 30 degrees made it difficult for the runners to run. The leading group around the strong teams from japan and south africa slowed down towards the end of the race, while dautel ran consistent lap times, thus moving up to 12th place and, as the best of the six german runners, keeping his chance of winning the medal alive.

"Normally the 100 kilometers feel easy for a long time, but then it gets pretty fast, pretty hard. But this time I had no problems. It was totally fascinating. I never had that before", dautel explains.

With his sub-seven-hour time, he has already met the qualifying standard for the world championships in two years’ time. So the chances are good for him to be allowed to run in the german team again. The statistician, who won the lucas cranach main ten-kilometer run in may, has no plans for any more races this year. "After such a race you have to give your body time. I won’t do any more hard training until the end of the year", says the master student.

Silver for german runner

The world championship title in the men’s team competition was won by the japanese with a total time of 19:37:01 hours, ahead of the sud africans (20:33:49 hours) and the german team (21:02:12). The silver medal of nele alder-baerens in the women’s individual classification crowned the performance of the total of ten german starters (7:22:41 hours). In the team ranking the women finished 11th (25:44:57). The gold medal also went to japan (23:03:50) ahead of sud africa (23:56:44) and croatia (24:13:57).

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