Exclusive Interview: Andrea Mayr

Discover how uphill runner combines passion with full-time doctor career.

This Sunday, Andrea Mayr blitzed the competition in three minutes and 56.1 seconds to win the women’s Red Bull 400 World Championship title in Austria, with Norway’s Erik Resell fending off Austria’s Jakob Mayer and German Anton Palzer for the men’s crown.

Austrian Mayr was already a multiple Red Bull 400 winner, however stormed to uphill victory by over 30 seconds from Adela Stranska of the Czech Republic with Poland’s Ivona Januszyk in third.

Forty nations provided 1,800 participants for the second Red Bull 400 World Finals on the FIS Ski jumping World Cup and Four Hills Tournament jumping venue in Bischofshofen – which was held in pouring rain.

Mayr declared, “I felt really good from the start, but all the other ladies were really strong. After taking the lead after about 150 meters, I realised that I could now enjoy the race as well. The World Championship title feels really good.”

Here is a Q&A we conducted with the 38-year-old about her passion for distance and uphill running that she combines with a career as a full-time doctor:

How does uphill running in the Red Bull 400 or Empire State Building Run-Up differ mentally and physically to the flatter but longer road and track races you compete in?

For me the Red Bull 400 races are real fun. Of course, it is very hard, but also very short so the pain does not last for very long. At the Red Bull 400 races you have spectators all the way along and they make you give 100%. The only problem is that you have to focus not to over pace in the first half.

Are you proud of your Red Bull 400 record and the increasing global spotlight placed on alternative running events like this now?

Yes I am very proud, especially because I think that the difference to the men’s record is not that big.

Being a doctor, does it help you with knowing how far you can physically push your body?

I don’t think that it has something to do with my profession, but I know that compared to others it is easy for me to push to the limit.

How do you balance your two different lives and fit in all your training?

At the moment, I work in a hospital that is very close to where I live so I cycle before I start work. Normally I cycle up the Gmundnerberg (884m) or the Grasberg (728m) before I return directly to hospital. After work, I normally run up any of the mountains nearby. I know that it would not be the life for most people, but for me it is nearly perfect – except the tiredness I often feel.

Does your medical background help with injury prevention and rehabilitation from injury?

I think my injury prevention is my work as a doctor, because it saves me from training too much.

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