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Save the Date September 29th 2019

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IAAF.org: Beyer rises to the top of the podium once more

On Sunday 20 November, more than 3500 runners took part in the

annual Kondius Berliner Marathon-Staffel, a marathon relay competition

run mainly on woodland paths, an event staged by SCC-Running who are

also responsible for the Berlin Marathon.

Nothing remarkable in that you might think, except that standing on

the top of the medal podium after anchoring his ‘Team 2008’ to victory

was a 48-year-old man, who 27 years previously had taken a sensational

triumph on the track at the 1978 European Championships in Prague.

Olaf Beyer is still running strong two years away from his 50th

birthday. The former East German caused a major upset in 1978 beating

both the English middle distance greats Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe

to the continental championship 800 metres final.

Middle distance prospects

There were another couple of remarkable facts about Beyer’s winning

marathon relay team last month. None of the other four runners who

belong to his training group based in Potsdam near Berlin are long

distance runners either, all concentrating like the former European

champion on the middle distances. Additionally among them was a woman,

their squad competing against ‘men only’ teams which took the next

places. Steffen Berger (12km), Sascha Stephan (10km), Juliane Becker

(5km), Patrick Schulz (10km) and Olaf Beyer (5.195km) covered the

marathon distance on trails of a Berlin forest in 2:22:51 hours. Beyer

clocked 17:33 minutes for the final part of the race.

Since Beyer’s athletes run for different clubs, the name of the squad is ‘Team 2008’ (www.team2008.de).

“When Steffen Berger and Juliane Becker joined recently I thought we

could go for the relay,” confirmed Beyer. He put in some quality

training himself, “because I wanted to be on the top of the podium

again. It was ten years ago when I was last running in a winning team

here. That was when I competed for SCC Berlin.” In 1995 his team of SCC

Berlin broke the course record of the event. Their 2:12:22 performance

still stands as a record today.

“It is no coincidence that 2008 is involved in our team’s name

today. Looking at the ages of my athletes the Olympics in 2008 would

suit them, we will give it a try!”

A fit family too

Among Beyer’s team of seven athletes is his son Stefan, who in

contrast to the others is a 400m runner. The 23-year-old has a personal

best of 47.02, and has already won a couple of regional championships

on junior level. “I am sure that he can improve otherwise I would not

recommend him investing so much time in training”, said Beyer. His

daughter used to do pole vaulting but since she started studying

medicine there was not enough time left for the sport.

Reminiscences of Prague

Looking back to 1978 it is interesting to hear what Beyer’s former

coach Bernd Dießner says: “Olaf was in superb form that year, he was a

great talent. Before Prague we were training in high altitude at the

Belmekken in Bulgaria. There he had run 600m in 75.4 seconds and after

a break of 15 minutes he ran another 400 m in 47.6. I knew if he would

run tactically clever he would have a chance to win.”

 

 

 

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