Backward into the Guinness book of records.

mairer_back 

In the Austrian ultra running world is a well known. She holds world records over 700 miles, 1000 kilometres and 1300 miles. Though her backward running records of this year got more headlines then her ultra races.

- running career: Born in Tyrol she is a wonderful example how out of a non runner you can become an ultra runner and this in a completely natural way. As she begun running with 28 years already 10 kilometres seemed an insurmountable barrier for her. Only a view years later she was fervently dedicating herself to multi day races. In September 1996 and 1997 she won the 700-Mile-Race (1120 km) and 1999 and 2000 the 1000-Mile-Race (1600 km) on Wards Island, USA. 2001 she run the world record at the 1300-Mile-Race (2080 km) and thus lowered the 10 years old record of Sandra Barwick from New Zealand by 1 hour 33. In September 2002 she run the world record in the 700-Mile-Race and over 1000 km. In September 2003 she won again the 1000-Mile-Race. 2004 she went for a "short distance". She participated and won the 4-Day-Race in Prague.

In September 2004 she started with backwards running (Retro-Running). In October she run as first woman of the world a half marathon, in November followed a marathon on the track, and shortly later a 10 km and 5 km race always backwards and achieved 4 new world bests.

- Marathon world record: The marathon has not been recognized as a world record because it was not achieved during an official race. The responsible for the Guinness Book of Records had tough and clear rules to break a Guinness record. So Surasa was looking for an official marathon where she could participate and was delighted as she was invited by the organizers of the Munich Mediamarathon for 2005. Quickly she confirmed and participated spontaneously without proper training. She made the Guinness record in 6:27:11. Though it was more difficult than she expected, because she did some mistakes: "Among others I didn't drink and eat enough before the marathon and so I was running out of strength at the end." says the 46 year old looking back. She was accompanied by Ingrid Kirschner. She gave Mairer indications, whether she should go more right or left and warned her about irregularities and obstacles of the road. The Retro-Runner of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Vienna was allowed to turn only her head but not the whole body.

- Training: Basically Surasa doesn't train for more then one hour a day. Running should give joy and not be a torture. The first marathon run backwards by the Viennese was at the Impossibility Challanger 2004 in Münich, and there she could run undisturbed on the track lap after lap. This was obviously not the case at the Munich marathon. Also other things changed for the hobby runner. She moved from Salzburg to Vienna because of her job and this forced her to change her training method: "When I was training for my first marathon, I run almost only on the track. There you are mostly undisturbed and also mostly unseen." But in Vienna everything changed: "I don't have a track in my vicinity. Therefore I train on my usual running course – though mostly quite late in the evening, when there are not so many people around." the secretary tells us.

Of course passer-by met her asking questions: "A view times I was asked, why I was running backwards, but mostly there were no special reactions but a view astonished sights." Once she saw a runner turning around and starting running backwards.

-Goals: Surasa is convinced to be able to improve in the marathon, after all at the Munich race she went for a 5 hour timing. Longer distances as for example a 100 Kilometre race or a 12 hour race she is not willing to run backwards. She is rather more interested to go back to the ultra races running forward.

The secretary is ever again showing through her records that you can get much more out of yourself as you believe. Her pioneer achievements in the ultra running and backward running cannot be valued enough. After all she is practicing her sport in her spare time aside of the daily job. One thing is for sure: Also in the future we will be able to enjoy other top performances of the nice Austrian.

Roby Schiltz