Me and my Guide after the German indoor Para Athletics Champhionship

Path to the German Indoor Para Athletics Championships

The German Para Indoor Championships were held in Erfurt on February 24, 2024. My name is Stefan Lohmaier, and I competed in the 3000m for the visually impaired category T12 with my guide, Frank Hitzelsberger.

I have been running with the local club Munich at Achilles International Germany since 2019. Since finishing my first marathon in September 2023 in Berlin, I have been part of the Bavarian state squad of the Bavarian Disabled Sports Association. The state coach has been training me once a week at the performance support center, and I have five additional training sessions per week. I receive great support from Achilles and always find a guide who is ready to train with me.

After the training sessions, the state coach set a target time of 14:40. Since I was unable to do a single 3000m test and had never had the chance to train indoors, I was very nervous. The track in the hall is only 200m per lap and has slightly banked curves. So, the goal was to run 15 laps at a pace faster than 1 minute per lap.

In my race, several disability classifications were combined, so there were four runner-guide pairs in my 3000m race. After the start, Frank and I positioned ourselves in 3rd place and ran the first lap a bit too fast in 42 seconds. We then slowed down a bit and managed to hit the target time of about 1 minute per lap for the next 13 laps. Frank was always able to read the current time from the board at the finish line, which was a great help. The entire Bavarian team from the BVS passionately cheered me on every lap, and Frank noticed that I always got a little faster when passing by Team Bavaria. The hardest lap was the penultimate one; I was still not sure if I could finish under 15 minutes. Finally, after the penultimate lap, the bell rang to indicate the last lap, and the clock showed 13:42. The last lap was just fun! Frank and I were able to cross the finish line in a time of 14:33.92. It was truly a great feeling!

Many thanks to all the guides who have trained with me! Achilles is awesome!