Running is not just a passion, but an obsession for German marathoner and ultramarathon runner Horst Preisler. The 76-year-old Hamburg resident has run 1761 marathons (42kms and more) in 65 countries and is all set to debut in today's Mumbai Marathon as the event's most experienced marathoner.
Germany's Horst Preisler trains for today's Mumbai Marathon
at Nariman Point. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Preisler, who held the world record for completing maximum marathons and ultramarathons from 1995 to 2011, blamed his wife for this obsession. "My wife used to often complain, 'you have too much rotten meat around the hips. You are lazy and have to indulge in sport.' I had heard enough of it, so I took up running and that's how I got hooked," said Preisler, who is an honorary member of the prestigious 100-marathon club.
Preisler has not looked back ever since, hitching on to running in 1974. He clocked 2:15:39 -- his personal best in the 42 km Bienwald Marathon (Germany) almost 10 years later. The longest distance he covered in a competition was 661.2 km in a six-day run in 1993 at La Rochelle, France. In the 2000 Berlin Marathon, Preisler became the first human to finish thousand marathons.
Such is Preisler's love for running that he organised a marathon on a running track in Oldenfelde, Germany on his 70th birthday and donated the proceeds to a school in Ghana. Preisler, who became a great grandfather recently, runs for fun and will be doing the same today as well.
"I don't do running as such. I just jog. I don't have any targets (of time). I want to enjoy my race. It gives me an opportunity to see the country. It is celebration of life," said Preisler, who completed a marathon in Germany last Sunday in approximately eight hours.
Talking about the Mumbai marathon, Preisler said he is eager to run on the Bandra-Worli sea link. "I have heard about it (running on the sea-link) a lot from my friend Hirendra Kurani (German-based Indian businessman). He insisted that I come and here I am. My aim is to run in all the countries in the world."
Preisler got a bit philosophical when asked how many more marathons he intended to run before calling it a day. "I don't know for how long it will last. I don't plan how many marathons and have no intention to do so. I will carry on till I am alive," he concluded.