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Margareta Liebert only discovered running for herself at the age of 56. Back then as a counterbalance to the stressful everyday working life. Nine years later she founded her running club. At the age of 65. Today she is 75, has more than 35 half marathons and twelve marathons under her feet and, as “Oberhäsin”, still runs the “Hasenpfad” running club in Plankstadt near Heidelberg.
Margareta Liebert is a late caller. One day when she came home completely stressed out again, she made a decision: I'm going for a run. That was in 2000. She was 56 at the time and her job as office manager was draining her strength. She felt tired, energetic, irritable and overwhelmed. “I knew I had to do something to relieve the stress. So I started running. At first only 100 or 200 meters. By then I was out of breath and had to take breaks, ”she says. The exercise in the fresh air was good for her and so she stayed at it even when it was exhausting. “In the evening I went running when it was only a kilometer or two. After that, the anger from the day was mostly gone. "
Over time, the kilometers grew. She didn't know what distance she actually covered. “I didn't have a GPS watch. But at some point I wanted to know how fast I was. So I signed up for a ten-kilometer run in the neighboring town. I was completely inappropriately dressed, but I dared. The only thing that was important to me: I definitely didn't want to be the last, ”she says and laughs. Her concerns were in vain because she finished second in her age group. “The winner was only four seconds faster. That sparked my ambition. Although, actually I wasn't interested in the competition. I had fun running with others. "
In order to experience this sense of community outside of competitions, she then joined a running club in Schwetzingen. Just one year later she dared to try the supreme discipline of running: the marathon. “Back then, a running colleague was training for the Frankfurt Marathon and I always took part. One day she said to me why I didn't run myself, after all, I train like for a marathon, ”she says. She actually got a starting place through the club. And how did it experience its premiere in Frankfurt? “It was very exhausting and I actually wanted to quit, but the people on the track motivated me so much that I kept running. There was no other way. After four hours and seven minutes I was at the finish. "
Running had now become an integral part of her everyday life. “The great thing about running is that I can do it anytime, anywhere. Just put on your shoes and start walking. I can indulge my thoughts and switch off. ”In 2007 she was at the start of the Frankfurt Marathon again. This time the four hours should be cracked.
The race went well, the then 63-year-old was on course and yet something unexpected intervened: “In front of the hall, a cable cover was laid across the floor. I thought this was the time mat, then stopped and just trotted easily into the festival hall. Only then did I realize that that wasn't the time mat. But it was too late, I crossed the finish line after three hours, 59 minutes and 62 seconds, ”she says with a wink. 62 seconds. So it makes exactly 4:00:02 hours. “Of course I was annoyed. But nothing helps, ”she admits. She finally achieved her desired time of less than four hours at the Paris Marathon six months later.
In 2009 she intensified running again by taking a running course. “At that time they were looking for supervisors, and because I had gained experience from the many competitions, I took part. I wanted to give people the fun of running. ”She succeeded because some participants wanted to continue running with her after the course was over. “There were six beginners from my hometown of Plankstadt. The meeting point was the rabbit trail. This is how the rabbit trail running club came about, ”she explains.
For ten years now, people have run for an hour together on the rabbit trail every Monday. Margareta Liebert is the oldest and the most experienced. The youngest participant is 17 years old. “We are about 25 people and we run in different groups, depending on our pace,” she says and emphasizes what she is about: “I want to take the fear away from beginners. It doesn't matter how slow, nobody walks alone with us. "
After each training, Margareta emails her participants a running report. This includes the kilometers run and a few other information. More than 550 have been created since 2011. Cohesion in the group is also cultivated: "In addition to running, we always find reasons to celebrate together, be it a birthday, the start of the winter or summer season, our winter party or a lot more."
She no longer wants to run major competitions, having completed more than 35 half marathons and twelve marathons. For the last time she ran the 42.195 kilometers in 2011 in Brussels. “At that time there was no beer at the finish. So I said, that's it, that was my last marathon. But maybe I'll run a half marathon next year - you're allowed to dream. "
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