Let’s start at the very beginning, when and why did you move to Berlin?
Steffi: ‘I moved to Berlin 3 years and 3 months ago! I first fell in love with Berlin during an internship I had to do as a part of my studies 6 years ago. My parents already expected me to stay forever, as I felt so at home. Berlin is my favourite city in Germany, even if it is super stressful sometimes because it’s got so much going on. I am still in love with it and I’m sure that I will stay for longer in this busy city.‘
I think we all have that relationship with Berlin at least to a certain extent. In terms of Berlin and sport, obviously you’re a passionate runner, how do you think the sport communities in this city make it unique?
Steffi: ‘I would say Berlin is always super forward thinking and with the times. For example when I arrived there were already running clubs which brought running back to the streets and made it more of a community-based activity rather than just a way to train alone. It’s even more fun to do it together! These communities have grown into running crews which have started to rule the world of running. This is a way of making running cool again, which is the main idea of KRAFTRUNNERS and yes – Berlin is the pioneer city of those developments in the scene of running.
Mainly for KRAFTRUNNERS their mission is to change the image of running because for us it’s all about good vibes, good people doing the simplest sport in the world together. So tighten up your shoes and start running when you are in Berlin!’
So how do you think belonging to a sport’s community help you settle and feel at home?
Steffi: ‘Belonging to a sports community is the best way to make friends because you all have the same passions and similar interests. Also, sports are the best opportunity to contact others and feel part of something. So you become part of a community which really makes you feel at home, because you have days where you meet up with those people or friends to have fun together whilst sweating together. Supporting, cheering and sweating together makes you belong to a community.’
What has Kraft done for you personally as well as your running routine?
Steffi: ‘Kraftrunners is my personal motivation to keep on running as we set each other goals whilst pushing ourselves for races or simply running together in a relay race from one place to another. We like to train together on Tuesdays as well as other days during the week when we meet up spontaneously for a run and a chat.’
You’re completely right, there’s nothing better than having fun but also being kept accountable to stick to your goals. Have you always been a runner?
Steffi: ‘Yes, I started running at a really young age as it was always one of the sports I have been passionate about and quite good at. So, I started with track and field when I was 8 and decided to start doing it professionally at 14 years old for almost 8 years. Through this I learnt a lot about myself and how to stay strong.’
Wow I never knew that actually so with that level of dedication what motivates you on those really cold and dark mornings?
Steffi: ‘I would say I’m honestly not the best example of someone who’s motivated on cold and dark mornings- I am not really a fan of running in the morning! But for a run in the evening, my personal motivation is to meet up with others and maybe do some intervals and push each other through the cold and dark. Stronger together!’
And so do you still ever struggle from a lack of motivation?
Steffi: ‘Sure, I am, because it’s human to not be motivated all the time. Especially since I quit my professional career I seem to be more relaxed about my sports activities. I know myself and that I am a social person so therefore the best motivation I could ask for is people waiting for me to do sports together! That’s exactly why I am part of a running community, to go through it together and to celebrate with each other afterwards!’
Finding joy in your workouts is what really makes your training long lasting I suspect. What do you love most about running?
Steffi: ‘I guess what I really love about running is that it’s so simple. You only need a pair of running shoes, some sportswear and of you go. Running is great to clear your mind, to organise your thoughts, have deep talks or simply push yourself to the limit. Running for me is the best and simplest sport!’
And on average how often would you say you run each week?
Steffi: ‘I used to train almost every day. Since I quit my professional running career, it isn’t easy to say how often I run as it can be anywhere between once a week and 6 times a week.’
Do you have a running routine or what's your favourite time or place to run?
Steffi: ‘My running routine is about running with others, as I used to run with my training companions almost every day, it’s very important to me to train with others. I am really not the early morning runner as my muscles seem to still be asleep on super early morning runs. I usually to run in the evenings instead somewhere in Prenzlauer Berg, but I am always open to the recommendations my running buddies give to me.’
I see, what’s your pre or post run go-to food? Do you have a favourite that you swear by?
Steffi: ‘There isn’t any special meal or food that I swear by but there are things I wouldn’t eat before or after a run or race and they are milk, citrus fruits (or any other sour fruits) and super sweet drinks! I also don’t eat too much or too little. If I am doing a race, I usually eat pasta the night before. So, it’s not really something special as it’s familiar to nearly all runners but that’s why the big pasta parties before a race are such a hit!’
So having a look back on everything you’ve done so far: What of all your achievements make you proudest?
Steffi: ‘My greatest achievement during my sports career was to win the 3rd place with Team Germany at the European Cross Country Championships and also winning two times the German Championships. Moreover, one of my craziest things I have ever done was to run from LA to Vegas, which I would also count as one of my greatest achievements as it was really a borderline experience. Running through the desert with a team of Kraftrunners as the only girl and finishing in 2nd place: That was definitely incredible!’
Wow that really is so incredible. We can’t wait to see what you achieve next, what are your future goals?
Steffi: ‘The first thing that comes to my mind is to break the 1:20h during my next half marathon.’
Wow that's amazing! Go for it! In advance, for when we all inevitably struggle to get out of bed in January, do you have any other tips for trying to get back on track post Christmas?
Steffi: ‘Try new year’s resolutions if that’s something that works for you and always remember what you are working for. Set yourself little goals and start to reach them to make yourself proud of what you managed to achieve.’
It’s not all easy going i’m sure, you’ve spoken briefly about struggling with motivation, but apart from this what is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your running journey so far?
Steffi: ‘The hardest obstacle for me was probably when I had to realise that I wasn’t going to run professionally anymore. This really made me quit for quite some time because it had always been a huge part of my life.’
And to round it all off and bring us back home, we’re so grateful to have you as part of the Motivator team, what does the role mean to you?
Steffi: ‘It’s been an honour to be part of such a cool innovation. To be able to give your own knowledge and share your experiences with others makes me happy and always helps me to grow a little more. I love to be surrounded by passionate sport-souls and people who enjoy being pushed and are happy to have someone pushing them.’
Finally before you have to run off somewhere else….😉What’s your proudest moment of the last year and something you’re looking forward to next year?
My proudest moment, of course, was to finish The Speed Project a second time and to be the cover girl of a running magazine for the first time. I’m very much looking forward to combining my passion for travelling and running and I’m planning to run some more races outside of Berlin or even Germany…And for sure to beat the 1:20hr mark!