World Record: 1002 Kilometres Nonstop
Wheelchair driver and extreme athlete Manfred Putz now (since early on September 22, 2013) holds the world record: He rode a handbike 1002 kilometres since starting on Friday morning at 10 o'clock, with only two one-hour breaks to eat. To put this incredible performance into perspective, remember that a marathon of 42.195 kilometres is considered a long distance. The 1002 kilometres are equivalent to about 24 consecutive marathons. He drove this distance at an average speed of nearly 24 km/h.
Some 42 hours on a handbike, through day and night, on a 98-kilometre long circuit along the Neckar River. His fans who accompanied the world record online at Facebook created some diversion. "I was updated on your postings, which helped me reach my goal. Working as a team, we managed to get the message out." "Mandi", as he is known in the cycling world, thanked his fans for their support even before finishing.
In addition to the encouragement from the Internet, Frank Wierth from Neckargemünd and a few drivers from the Ottobock handbike team provided on-site support. Several people accompanied Putz on at least some of the 98-kilometre rounds: Tobias Knecht and Olaf Heine on Friday, Ralf Weisang through the night until Saturday morning, Torsten Purschke after around 700 kilometres, and Frank Wierth and Tobias Knecht once again up to the finish line. Michael Biermann took care of organisation, for example digital communications and support for the photographer and cameraman.
The start was at the Manfred Sauer Foundation in Lobbach, which is very familiar to the Ottobock handbike team. The handbikers hold sports courses at this facility for paraplegics for two weeks every year to draw attention to the possibilities for mobility despite disability. "One doesn't have to start with 1000 kilometres," says Michael Biermann. "Even the first ten are unforgettable."
For Putz, it was about self-awareness and pushing limits, in other words, extreme sport. He wanted to make the Guinness Book of Records by considerably surpassing the old record, which Jens Hoffmann had pushed up to 700 kilometres in August 2012. But he also wanted to create awareness for his message: "Anything is possible if you just do it!" Another objective of the world record run was to encourage others.
Manfred Putz has been a paraplegic since a traffic accident in 1996. Since then, the 43-year-old has achieved a lot as a professional athlete. The handbiker became European Champion in 2006 and World Champion in 2007 in time trials. The overall World Cup victory was followed by fourth place at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. He has collected 15 titles as Austrian State Champion over all those years. He once described what drives him, "When I ride my handbike, I forget about my pain and enter another world, a world full of freedom, enjoyment and passion!"
He prepared a long time for the world record, including at a training camp in South Africa when wintry conditions here prevented regular road training. Despite his preparations, during his world record run, sometimes his hands hurt him, sometimes his upper arms. He had different kinds of problems with the rain on Friday morning, a flat tyre, and loss of the handbike light during the night, which fortunately was quickly repaired. "I'm not getting off until I have the 1000 kilometres, you'll have to fight to get me off the bike," he shared his competitive spirit with the Facebook community.
He reached the finish line "at his physical limits, but infinitely happy." And the next project? Manfred Putz: "For 2014, we're thinking of the 24-hour world record. And with Thomas Frühwirth in the "Ultra Handbike Team" we are thinking about the Race Across America ...." That would be 4800 kilometres from the west to the east coast.
For people with limited mobility, Ottobock develops medical technology products and fitting concepts in the fields of Prosthetics, Orthotics, Mobility Solutions (wheelchairs, rehabilitation aids), Neurorehabilitation and MedicalCare. Subsidiaries in 49 countries offer quality "Made in Germany" worldwide and employ more than 5,000 people. A family-managed company since its founding in 1919, Ottobock has also been supporting the Paralympic Games with its technical expertise since 1988.
Further information: www.ottobock-group.com
Director of Corporate Communications
Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, Max-Näder-Str. 15, 37115 Duderstadt, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 5527 848-3036, Fax: +49 (0) 5527 848-3360
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