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Interview with inline speedskating marathon world champion Felix Rijhnen


© Thomas Wendt

Felix Rijhnen has been regarded as the fastest German skater over the long distances for years. Last year, he won his first gold medal at the World Championships, winning the 10.000 meters points race. This year, he did even better: At the beginning of July, the 28-year-old from Darmstadt won the marathon.

World Champion in the marathon! Have you now achieved your athletic aspirations with this World Championship title?

Felix: My first title last year fulfilled one great dream, but the marathon title provided another boost. I had dreamed of that for many years!

How important was the marathon for you within the context of the World Championships? Do you consider it to be a supreme discipline?

Yes, I think the marathon distance can be described as a supreme discipline. For the past three years, there has been only one joint World Inline Cup marathon race for juniors and seniors, meaning that the field includes more than 200 athletes, which again increases the value of the title.

At the age of 28, you are now part of the old guard in the German team, and at the same time you are becoming ever more successful. Why is that, from your perspective?

I was actually the oldest athlete in the German team this year. Fortunately, my performance does not seem to be suffering yet! I cannot say why I keep getting better and better.

How important is experience for inline skating?

Extremely important! Our sport is so strongly determined by tactics, that without sufficient experience it is hard to behave properly in crucial racing situations. It took me so many years and I still make enough mistakes...

Was it hard to continue training after winning the World Cup? Or were you able to treat yourself to a little break?

A short break would have been nice, but I have no motivation problems. I'm looking forward to the races that are coming up this season! I flew to China one day after winning the title to participate in the WORLD INLINE CUP in Harbin.

What are your plans for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON?

My next big goal is the BERLIN-MARATHON. I am looking forward to being able to compete wearing the World Championship jersey this year. This is going to be a very special moment! Other than that, I am only competing in marathons until the end of the season and am designing my training accordingly.

Behind every title lies much hard work. What does a normal training day look like for you?

I usually train in the morning and in the afternoon. Several times a week I ride my racing bike for about three hours in the morning and then train for another two hours on my skates in the afternoon. It is not uncommon to go up to 150 kilometers in one day.

Your Powerslide team-mate Bart Swings successfully participated in the Winter Olympics this year. Do you have any plans for the ice?

At the moment I have no concrete plans for speed skating. Maybe that will change...

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