Marion, you’re already known by a lot of our community from the Motivator Monday events but just to get everyone else up to speed, as always, can you tell us a bit about you and where you’re from?
‘Sure! I’m originally from Austria but have also lived in England, Scotland and Germany. I’m known as the girl who’s a bit crazy, always has a lot of energy and laughs a lot. I’m really into sports and in my free time I like meeting people to work out together. In terms of my studies I come from a very different background though – I studied biotechnology and finished my masters degree last summer.’
Great, so I’m sure you already know what I’m about to ask you next…where’s the link between biotechnology and SPRT? How did you come to being on the team?
‘Haha well, during my masters internship in Berlin, I started getting involved in the running community here. Through friends at these running groups I heard about SPRT and started going to their events, the rest is history!’
You’ve definitely been a valued member of the SPRT community for a long time now, but what drew you to SPRT initially?
‘I simply loved meeting new people at the events and workouts, trying different sports each week really drew me in and I liked the idea of having a platform that makes it easy to find workouts or sports events in your area without having to search Facebook and other online platforms for hours.’
That’s great to hear that both the community aspect and app’s functional aspect captured your interest. So to bring us up to today, could you tell everyone a little about what you do at SPRT?
‘Here I’m the Community Manager, I try and motivate people, get them to use our App and also to take part in our events. I lead and organise sports events and I also try to add a feminine touch to the team (this translates to trying to keep the office tidy and supply the guys with baked goods and sweet treats!)’
Haha, and we’re so glad you do! So on a personal, or wider, level what are you hoping to achieve from your role here?
‘Personally I want to learn about the startup life; I want to get out of my comfort zone as I really believe this is the best way to grow as a person. I feel like in the startup environment it’s more accepted to make mistakes and to learn from them as the whole team is embarking on something new and constantly learning and developing.’
‘From a community aspect, I’m aiming to grow a community that is brought together by their enthusiasm for sports and to give people a tool that makes sport accessible. I’m hoping to help people find a community where they find support from likeminded people, where they can be themselves, learn more about themselves and just be happy (Cheesy but true!)’
Those are all such brilliant aims to have and we have all the faith that you’ll succeed in them, so continuing on from what you’ve just said, what makes community sport so important to you?
‘Well it’s a place that combines physical activity and friendship. A place where you can be yourself, find great friends and keep both your mind and body healthy.’
Have you always been sporty?
‘Definitely not, even though I went to a school with a focus on sports I never enjoyed it that much, I only discovered my passion for it when I was about 20 years old. It took a lot of convincing from my parents to get me to come on hikes and bike rides with them but once I started seeing the benefits, I really enjoyed it. I however only discovered community sports once I arrived in Berlin and I saw how much more fun and rewarding it can be to work out as a group. I don’t ever go on runs by myself anymore and love how a group can really push you to your limits.’
I totally agree! So why is sport now so integral in your daily life?
‘It lifts your mood and makes you feel good – inside and out. No matter how bad a day has been, going for a run at the end of the day will make you forget about it and free your mind!’
And what’s the biggest sporting achievement you’ve ticked off your list so far?
‘I ran a Ragnar relay race with 9 friends of mine. Together we covered 250km from Hamburg to St.Peter-Ording in 20-something hours and with no or very little sleep. It was such a great team experience! I also participated in the Berlin Beer mile which was an .. interesting event haha.’
That’s so impressive! Is there anything you’d like to achieve next?
‘I want to finally be able to do a free-standing handstand. It was my NY resolution in 2017 and 2018 but it seems like I’m not so good with resolutions oops!’
Keep going with it! What would you say to someone who’s always wanted to start a cardio based sport but doesn’t feel like they can either because they don’t have the confidence or think that they are too unfit?
‘Think of all the cakes and sweets you’ll be able to eat without feeling guilty! Haha, jokes aside it is always hard to start something new but you’ll be amazed by what your body can do and how fast you’ll see improvements if you are consistent with your exercise.’
Those are great incentives! Do you have any goals for 2019?
‘I have a few random goals! These are: 1. to get better at handstands, 2. to train myself to get up earlier and manage my time better, and 3. to learn a little more Spanish!’
Wow what a mix, you’ll have to keep us updated! Let’s move onto travel, where would you say is your favourite place you’ve visited and why?
‘Without a doubt, Nepal! it was the best and the worst at the same time. The best because I did some amazing hikes and saw some of the worlds highest mountains (though unfortunately I didn’t climb those). Watching the sunrise over The ‘Eight-Thousanders’ was a pretty breath-taking experience. It was also the worst because of the ‘Delhi-belly’ experience haha!’
Haha oh wow! So where’s next on your list?
‘I’m going to California in March to launch a running group in LA (LA Midnight Runners). We are expecting to run with a group of 500 people and I can’t wait to run by the beach and spread the good vibes!’
So lastly just to finish off, as you said you’re really happy in Berlin for now, can you tell us your thoughts on the city and you favourite area?
‘Sure, I absolutely love the city, especially in Summer. There’s so much going on an I love how international it is and how okay it is to go to your Späti in your pyjamas, have a beer on a weekday morning (definitely haven’t done that myself 😛 ) and to party at lunchtime on a Sunday- no one bats an eyelid! My favourite areas of Berlin would have to be Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg.’