When Filippo Laisa begins to tell the story of how he started running, his voice gets a little deeper and he becomes lost in though. The key experience for the 40-year-old was not a pleasant one, but he is the kind of guy who uses his fate to come out stronger and even more motivated.
“Up until I was 27, I was a passionate football player. The only place I would run was on a football pitch. I could never have imagined wanting to put on my running shoes just to run,” reports the man from Hochheim, who is of Italian descent. But he was afflicted with knee problems throughout his football career. One operation followed the next, so 13 years ago he had to finally hang up his football boots.
“For three years I did not do any sport at all, and I stopped smoking and gained a few pounds.” During this period, Filippo began working at Globus SB-Warenhaus. On his first day at work, he had a team meeting that changed his life. “We had to state our intermediate goals and only had a few minutes to define them. I don’t know why, but when it was my turn I said I wanted to run a marathon.” Filippo did not really realise what he had said until after the meeting. But he is also not the kind of guy for empty words, so somewhat irregularly he began to run three to five kilometres. He signed up with some colleagues to do a team relay. “Our team was made up of some of our young and wild interns and us old guys. Our motivation after a successful race was so strong that we promptly signed up for a half marathon. Many did not carry through with it, but I was joined by one of the interns at the start: He with the bigger mouth at the beginning, and in the end, I with the better time.”
When Filippo realised that he could reach his goals with relatively little effort, he began to increase the amount of running he was doing and fine-tuned his training. He also noticed that his dream of completing a marathon was getting closer to reality. “I talked with my wife and got her support. For such intensive training you have to have the support of your family, that goes without saying.” Within a year, Filippo got himself into top shape and ran his first marathon in 2008 in a time of 3:45. He is now addicted and is running his fifth marathon this year. At the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON he wants to top his personal best of 3:25. And after that he wants to do a few ultra races. “Running means freedom for me. And when I get a text message from my 12-year-old daughter wishing me luck before a race, that elicits the greatest feelings of happiness that I know.”