There are so many kinds of extreme sports. And competitions, too. But very few are as fun as the annual Lake Constance Megathlon, a competition that the Lapp Group actively supports. Firstly as one of the event’s main sponsors but above all because it literally sends staff and customers into the running.
A 1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle, 10 km run – where a “normal” triathlon stops at Olympic distances is where the Lake Constance Megathlon starts to get interesting as athletes need to do an extra 36 km on the mountain bike and 20 km on inline skates to complete this challenge. In 2016 the two-day event featuring five sports and a whole heap of team spirit took place on the last weekend of July.
Teamwork was the focus of the twelfth edition of this endurance race at Lake Constance, especially as the megathlon rules allow competitors to share out the five disciplines in a team of up to five. This makes it easier but by no means easy. 1,800 competitors crossed the starting line in 2016. Some went solo, but most teamed up in groups of two to five.
1 x Brussels – Ostend with four changes
Swimming, cycling, inline skating, mountain biking and running: the total distance of the five megathlon disciplines is 109.5 kilometres, the same distance between Brussels and Ostend. According to Google Maps, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes to do this route (in a car!).
The Lapp Group has been a main sponsor for the sporting event in Radolfzell for six years. Firstly because the megathlon requires a sixth discipline – team spirit – which also plays a major role in the Lapp Group. Secondly because the family company uses it as an opportunity to form its own teams.
Team building is key here: the sales department invites its customers, staff challenge fellow colleagues and the Lapp PR department fights for victory alongside journalists from the trade press. Just short of 50 ambitious recreational athletes entered the 2016 race for Lapp.
Impressions of the 2016 Lake Constance Megathlon.
Two extreme solo racers
Two of them were Jochen Böger, who works in Stuttgart and is responsible for quality management in the Global Supplier Quality & Environment department, and Manfred Hauck from Lapp Engineering, the powerhouse behind the Lapp Group's research. They originally wanted to enter as a pair but they were unable to agree on which disciplines they each wanted to enter: “We were both really ambitious and wanted to do three disciplines each,” Böger laughed, “so we had to enter as individuals.”
Alone – and in Jochen Böger’s case under testing conditions: “When I was in training, I did a 40 km inline skate and went running the next day with muscle ache.” The result: his calf muscle seized up two weeks before the megathlon.
With this sort of injury Böger, who plays inline hockey and has competed in the event three times, was certain he would be unable to manage the last leg of the megathlon: the run. But he nevertheless toughed it out to the end as a brave solo competitor. He did it in 6 hours and 18 minutes, which secured him 88th place among the 100 individual competitors despite his injury.
“I just wanted to give Manfred the opportunity to be faster than me,” says Böger with a joking smirk. He is already looking forward to 2017 with a bit of healthy rivalry at the Lake Constance Megathlon. But he also loves the whooping and cheering from the crowd: “When I hauled myself over the finishing line, my colleagues were there waiting for me... and so was a cold shower.” The former with tumultuous applause and deep respect.