Viktor Röthlin was the best hope for Switzerland in Osaka’s World Championships. And the 32-year-old did not let down his fellow countrymen, when he produced a major surprise by taking the bronze medal in the Marathon. In the difficult weather conditions he clocked 2:17:25.
Röthlin had won the silver medal at the European Championships a year ago and had improved his Swiss Marathon record to 2:08:20 this spring, when he won the Zurich Marathon.
A brief Q&A with Röthlin:
- Did you ever think that it might be possible to win a medal in this race?
You will probably not believe this, but on my web page I have written a motto: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I had never had any dreams about Athens before the Olympic Marathon, and I did not finish. Last year I had dreamt about winning the silver medal at the European Championships, and last night I had a dream winning bronze here in Osaka. That is what happened. When I had placed second at the Europeans last year, I was in between winner Stefano Baldini and bronze medallist Julio Rey. Both had medalled at World Championships so I thought that I would have a chance.
- How did the race go for you?
I knew that I had to keep cool and relaxed. I had to follow the group, because I knew that in contrast to the race in Gothenburg last year I would not be able to have an influence on how the race would develop. I went with the leading group. I did not run too hard but made sure that I would always watch them. When I saw some black runners getting pale faces that gave me some motivation and I believed that I would have a chance. At the decisive moment I was up there. And when I passed the 40 k point fellow runners from Australia shouted at me that I could still win the bronze because the ones in front of me did not look good. I gave everything but probably did not make friends in Japan since I overtook the Japanese to take third place.
- How did you prepare for the conditions in Osaka?
First I ran the New York Half Marathon three weeks ago. It was humid there as well. Then I travelled to Kobe, where I trained for two and a half weeks. It is near Osaka and has the same climate conditions. From training session to training session I was getting on better with the weather conditions. Today I did not feel the heat for the first 25 k. Then of course I had to fight.
- Where do you normally train?
Before I went to New York I did high altitude training in St. Moritz. I was there with my Kenyan friend Abraham Tandoi, who was also my pacesetter in the Zurich Marathon. In the winter I usually train in Kenya and join the group with (London Marathon winner). I run between 200 and 230 kilometres per week during training camps.
- Who is your coach?
I coach myself for many years now. Before that Robert Haas, who had been my initial coach when I was 13 years old, took care after me.
- When will you run your next marathon?
I am not yet sure if I will run a marathon next spring. I will do shorter races in the winter. Concerning qualification for Beijing I expect that it was enough what I have done today.
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF