Interview with Sarah Frieden

27. September 2021


The 28-year-old Bernese successfully defied the wet and cold and finished the already challenging race (10 km run / 150 km cycle / 30 km run) in Zofingen in excellent third place.

How did you find «your» day at the Powerman Zofingen, the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships?

It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I still don't actually know how I managed to reach the finish at all. I had to keep on motivating myself to ensure I didn't give up. Matters were made worse by the fact that you kept hearing how one or the other athlete had to stop due to the absolutely catastrophic weather conditions, which would actually support your decision to stop. I was increasingly overcome by enormous emotional turmoil.

I went into the race without any great expectations, because I knew what amazing top athletes would be there. I just wanted it to be my personal best race. And suddenly you find you are in 3rd place when you really just want to stop because you don't know where you should find the strength to run another 25 km. I really don't know how I managed it. I only know that I was struggling not to faint during the last running lap.

Then I was at the finish and couldn't believe what I had accomplished. It would have been enough to just finish this race. But no, it was 3rd place in a World Championship. I knew that no one could take this place away from me. All the cold and the pain during the race were so worthwhile and will eventually disappear again :-)

What basically runs through your head during a race?

I don't actually think much. I'm really busy with myself in the race, ensuring I drink enough and always get my food. What I often do is calculate. How far it is until the next lap is over, how big a fraction of the race I have already completed, or how far until another descent comes, and so on and so forth. But I never really have thoughts that don't revolve around this race.

What do you generally believe are the keys to your success?

Even if it is often not that easy, never stop believing in yourself because a positive mindset contributes a great deal to success. What’s more, you’re allowed to have big and almost unattainable dreams.

Can you give us an insight into your everyday training?

My training is never the same on any given day. I work 80% at a property management company in Bern. Twice a week I have a half day off. I train the most on those days and at weekends. In other words, usually 2 training units or one long unit. Monday is often a quieter day, whereas on Wednesday at noon I always join a running group for interval training where everyone is welcome, no matter how young, old, big, small, fast, or slow. I always look forward to this because I really appreciate the interaction with the great people there.

Do you have an insider tip you would be willing to share with us?

Try Haribos during rigorous interval training :-) I swear by them!