My name is Axel Rittershaus, born 1970 in Germany.
I was never regarded as an athlete.
At school, I had quite some overweight. Not too bad, but I was far away from being fit. The last couple of years at school I got into road cycling, but after some 3 years that era was over again.
Until 2007 running was something I did for one reason: to be at least a little bit active. I ran maybe two times a week. If it was not raining. And not too cold. And I wasn’t tired…
And then it all changed…
In 2007 I got an infection. A serious one and I haven’t recovered from that infection yet.
It’s called: Ultra Marathon Running.
It was during a vacation in South Africa, when I got hold of a brochure for the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. I never heard of an Ultra Marathon before. In this case, it meant 56 km.
I was thrilled.
I knew immediately: One day I want to run exactly this race. I can’t tell you why!
Well, at that stage I had never ever run for more than 21.1 km (half marathon). I had no clue if my body would be capable of running a marathon, not to mention an ultra.
The first marathon
After returning from the vacation in 2007 I set my mind to it, got a training plan and entered the Munich Marathon in October 2007.
The first goal was defined… And achieved.
At least now I knew that I could cover 42.2 km (in Munich I ran it in 3h 47 min) and so I felt ready for Two Oceans.
My first Two Oceans Ultra Marathon
2009 was the year I ran my first Two Oceans and so far I was fortunate enough to finish every Two Oceans Marathon since (meaning 8 as of January 2017). I had several years where injuries almost eliminated my chances of racing, but eventually I was always lucky to get to the start (and finish) line. You can find some race reports from past Two Oceans Ultra Marathon races here.
Moving to Cape Town
Taking part in Two Oceans and other races also got easier since we moved to Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world, in 2010.
Comrades Ultra Marathon
But 56 km was not enough… When you are in South Africa and speak with other runners, the first question you get asked is “Did you do Comrades”. If not, well, then you are not really a runner 😉
Therefore the oldest and biggest Ultra Marathon “Comrades” got onto my bucket list. Currently (January 2017) I have completed 5 as of yet. (race reports about my Comrades Ultra Marathon races can be found here)
In the meantime I also completed or took part in some trail races in the Cape Town area.
One year I ran the Two Oceans with a blind runner (whom I met two days before the race for the first time) and was the pace setter for the 6h “bus” (that’s how it’s called in South Africa) at Two Oceans.
Apart from running I do also some serious work ;):
I’m an international leadership and executive coach, working with C-Level Executives and their teams both as a coach for individuals as well as a facilitator of quite challenging and empowering leadership development programs. In February 2016 I published my first book about leadership (focus: the IT industry of the future) which is unfortunately currently only available in German.
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