Thursday, August 13, 2020

Triathlete Marius Lau looks for alternatives in the corona crisis

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Dhe pedaled through the city on an old, green, too small bike that has seen better days. But the sight of the muscles that drive the pedals reveals that it does that more often. And how! In the past ten years, only a few days have passed since Marius Lau did not train on a bike. Or in the swimming pool. Or in running shoes. The green bicycle is only for short city trips in Frankfurt – because it is not attractive for bad boys who are looking for spoils of thieves. Very different from the racing bike, the mountain bike and the time trial machine at home.


Lau is a strong example of club loyalty from the bottom up to the professional. An example of what sporting strength can be developed when the firm will and unbreakable drive of a young athlete meets a fertilizing club environment with good coaches. Ten years ago, when he was fourteen, he took part in a youth training session in the rapidly growing triathlon department of Frankfurt’s Eintracht as a beginner. And to this day, Lau can say that he has “never missed a single training session because of ‘no goat’.” His advancement from a young person started late to a professional is based on constancy, continuity, consistency.

The brackets about his previous career form the first Eintracht training, in which he was not yet able to master the crawl technique in the water – “I could only swim a little” – and the Ironman Frankfurt 2020. At the European Championships in his hometown he wanted to 28th of June to start with the goal of a top 10 rank. Yes, says newcomer Lau, he could have done it. At its premiere over 3.8 kilometers of swimming (in the Langener Waldsee), 180 kilometers of cycling (through Wetterau and Main-Kinzig-Kreis) and a marathon (on the banks of the Main in Frankfurt).

Now the Ironman Frankfurt has been canceled due to a pandemic. But because Lau can only imagine his long-distance debut in Frankfurt, he has now postponed the goal to summer 2021. He kept the phase of struggling and rumbling about his personal bad luck short. Although his clever plan, which had been targeting this date in the summer of 2020 for one and a half years, has been thwarted so sustainably.

In the shape of his life

Training over the winter “went extremely well,” he says. Victories were achieved in two small cross duathlons; at the traditional winter running event in Rodgau in February, Lau set a new best time of ten kilometers in 31:50 minutes despite adverse conditions. “I was in the shape of my life so far,” says the Frankfurt native. Especially since with the successful completion of his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in March there were still three months of pure, undisturbed Ironman preparation ahead of him. It should be a foretaste of the profile level that the 25-year-old is aiming for. He wants to know – now. He wants to know what’s in him and how far he can go. Lau wants to take advantage of this “opportunity that comes up once in a lifetime”, as he says. “I want to make this dream come true.”

A professional license is quickly solved in triathlon, that’s not what Lau is all about. The art is to be so successful on and so cleverly off the racetrack that you can make a living through price, entry and sponsorship money. He doesn’t want to knowingly wear himself out with a start. For example, with a 30-hour job that keeps him financially afloat, in addition to the 18 to 25 hours of training per week. However, he can now reconcile these scopes well with the master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Frankfurt School of Applied Sciences.

“I just do it”

Marius Lau, because he has a plan B, does away with this ultimate doggedness, which often leads athletes to a dead end. If it doesn’t work out with a professional career with races and training camps around the world? “Then I will continue as an amateur. The training is not difficult for me, I rather enjoy it – and I will not lose the fun either, ”says Lau. It slides into a kind of meditative state in long units. “Even in the rain and eight degrees, I don’t think about why I’m getting on my bike now. I just do it. And when you take a shower three hours later, it gives you a feeling close to complete satisfaction. ”

Lau has progressed step by step in the ten years since the first training at Eintracht. His first goal back then was to learn to crawl. Four times a week he took the train from his parents’ home in Frankfurt-Goldstein through the city to the Eintracht training centers in Kalbach or Bergen-Enkheim. Then he worked out the next goal, to join the Hessenkader. He started in Eintracht’s second division team and also collected Bundesliga appearances at TuS Griesheim. The awakening experience was the half-distance at Challenge Almere Amsterdam 2015, when he came second in the amateur competition despite a rented time trial bike.

The goal of becoming a professional was born. At the Frankfurt City Triathlon 2018 he finished second on the Olympic distance. Last year, with a professional license, victory won at a middle distance on the Costa Brava and eighth at the Challenge Davos. Laus’s advantage: He is good at swimming, cycling and running. “I don’t have to be afraid of any of the three disciplines,” he says. And if the cancellation of the Ironman Frankfurt had anything good, it would be a year longer. “A year in which I can collect even more kilometers. A year more in which I can get my head in, ”says Lau. “It doesn’t hurt.”

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