09 DEC 1999 General News

The Marathon Minister

The running bug bit Germany’s foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, 3 years ago. His passion recently brought him into the limelight, when he competed in the 1999 edition of the New York Marathon. Austrian right wing nationalist politician, Jörg Haider, was also competing, raising protests from a number of Jewish organisations, and the race turned into a semi-political confrontation in the eyes of the media.

Fischer, who has lost 40 kilos since taking up running, spoke of the race and his passion for running with the leading Italian daily "Corriere della Sera".

CDS: "You are a marathon runner. What do you think of when you run? How did you feel about Jörg Haider finishing 20 minutes ahead of you in New York?"

Joschak Fischer: "There is no official time for Haider. There was no intermediate time, either. Nothing. But this is not the point. I was really angry in New York, when everything was reduced to a confrontation between he and I.

"I have been running for three years and my favourite trail is in Italy, in Tuscany, near Sienna. It is a very beautiful place to run; this year I was there for three weeks. The countryside is fabulous and it is a very hard trail that runs through the hills.

"What do I think of when I am running? Everything. Politics. It is much easier to get your thoughts together than when you are sitting behind a desk. When I am running I resolve a lot of political problems that I can put on paper after my shower.

"I would recommend the marathon to everyone. I never thought that I would also be able to run it when I was foreign minister, but in the end I succeeded.

"I am already looking forward to my next marathon: in Berlin."