Photo by Ellen Heinekamp-Oversier
Silke Schmidt after her world record over the half marathon distance on November 3, 2019; 21.1 km through storm and rain, soaking wet, but happy.
After a long injury break and an unforgettable new start with the improvement of eight W60 world records in 2019 within three months, the 60-year-old German middle and long distance runner Silke Schmidt is looking forward to many more years at the top of masters athletics.
After her successes in 2015 (13 improvements of world records and world best performances, 4 gold medals at the World championships in Lyon) Silke Schmidt, European Best Master and World Best Master 2015, had to take a long break. While training, a bicycle rider bumped with full speed into her back causing i.a. a whiplash and a serious, long lasting problem in the lower lumbar vertebra area. It was only in summer 2018 that Silke could lace up her running shoes again. Taking her time to rebuild condition and performance she started out competitive running with some local 5K’s in winter 2018/19 before returning on track in May 2019.
The return was a bit bumpy as she recalls: “It seemed ages ago that I ran my last 5000 m race. I nearly missed the start while waiting for it at the finishing area. At the very last moment I saw everyone lining up on the other side of the stadium. Oh my goodness, right! That’s how it works! After a sprint to the other side I just made it for the gun. Pfff! Good for your adrenaline you may say. Finally, I was really happy with the result: 18:25.55 min for my first race after 3 years.”
Series of world records within three months
After Silke turned 60 in August the starting gun was fired for a series of 8 world records W 60:
3000 m (10:42,68 min, 9 Aug 2019, Utrecht)
3000 m (10:28,94 min, 22 Aug 2019, Rotterdam)
5000 m (18:10,40 min, 30 Aug 2019, Utrecht)
10K (37:53 min, 15 Sep 2019, Rotterdam)
5000 m (17:59,16 min, 20 Sep 2019, Wageningen)
10K (37:18 min, 6 Oct 2019, Utrecht)
10K (36:43 min, 20 Oct 2019, Utrecht)
Half Marathon (1:21:33 h, 3 Nov 2019, Dordrecht)
When asked if it was planned like this she answers: “At that time of the year the track season came to an end. Therefore, I used every opportunity for a race, and to improve my performance. I am a perfectionist, in profession as well as in sports. I cannot rest until I am absolutely satisfied with the result. Mostly I raise the bar higher than others would do for me. Hence most of the distances I did more than once because I felt that it could have been better, even after breaking the world record. Before the summer I had mostly done 5K road races since my comeback. Getting back on the track I had to acquaint to it again, and needed to develop the feel for longer races as well.
Plans for the Sporting Future
When asked for her plans in 2020 she answers: “I know it sounds ambitious but trying to get faster than in 2019 is a goal which motivates me a lot. After the long break my body needed time to adapt to the usual volumes and intensities. It’s only by now that it accepts training sessions as before. Currently I am focusing on my technique, which could be better, especially after the accident. Further, I promised myself (my good resolutions for 2020) to work on my strength, on core-stability and on flexibility. In the past I largely neglected this part of training. Participating in international competitions obviously would be goal. Unfortunately, last year I couldn’t go to the European Championships in Venice due to professional obligations. This year aviophobia will keep me away from the events.