Annett Finger from Germany won the 2012 Norseman Extreme Triathlon in a course record time of 12:17:04 despite gunning for the record from the previous year. But that was no longer the most current time, fellow German Julia Nikolopoulos had set a new record the previous day. For the first time in Norseman's history 2 events were held on consecutive days, with the goal to allow more folks to compete without overcrowding the course and the competitor's experience.
Annett Finger is relatively new to the sport but has already shown signs that she has potential. We had a few words with her.
Slowtwitch: We are glad to have you with us.
Annett: Herbert, thank you for your interest.
ST: How was your vacation?
Annett: Very nice, because we were in Norway for the first time and had the chance to explore the land and the wonderful nature. It was great - also because we had time to relax.
ST: Talking about Norway, Norseman champion and course record holder sounds very good to us. How about you?
Annett: I am absolutely happy and of course proud. It is a dream that came true. To beat the old record from 2011 by almost one hour is something that I would not have dreamed of.
ST: You were in quite a fight though and it certainly did not come easy. Is that a fair statement?
Annett: Yes especially on the run. On the bike I planned to ride a comfortable controlled speed. That was what I did, because I knew the end would be the hardest part of the day and it really became a reality when I think of the tight lead that I had at kilometer 25 where the uphill begins (45 seconds). I ran and ran and ran and then I had around 3-4 minutes again. But in the meantime Charlotte (2nd woman) also gave everything and reduced the distance between us again to 45 seconds when we passed the entrance of the Gaustatoppen at kilometer 37. That was the moment when I shortly doubted to win the Norseman.
ST: As you climbed up Gaustatoppen, how often did you look back?
ST: Is looking back in general not a good idea in your opinion?
Annett: No because I never look back in a competition.
ST: Julia Nikolopoulos had broken the record a day earlier in the Saturday issue of the event. Were you at all focused on that time or was it all about the win?
Annett: No, I was not focused on the time. My goal was to reach the podium and yes if everything would run very well the win was a nice dream that I had in the back of my mind. I did not know the new record time from Julia when I started on Sunday. I only knew the one of the previous year (13:13). For the first time on the run I had a look on my total time and then I thought about to beat the old record.
ST: Do you actually know her?
Annett: No, unfortunately not.
ST: Is there a chance that will change? After all you are both from Germany.
Annett: I hope so. But she is from Frankfurt and I live in Dresden. But I am sure there will be an event where we can change that. Would be nice because girls who have a similar passion for these kinds of races are not that common and I like to chat with them about their other new interesting events.
ST: From what we have heard, it sounds that you really are pretty new to triathlon, but it appears that the sport seems to have found you well.
Annett: That's right. I am still shaking my head when I think of the things I did within the last three years. So many dreams came true that I never dreamed of.
My father has been a marathon runner since he was 20 years old. So I saw him training and competing. Then in 2006 I decided all of the sudden to register for the Berlin marathon. My father could not believe it, because until then I only was interested in party time and stuff like that. Then came the big surprise, after 5 months of training I finished in 3:33 h. It seems as there was a bit of talent.
One year later I decided to buy a used road bike and start to learn to swim freestyle, which was not so easy because in my hometown there was no club or anything like that where I could learn. Took a bit time to find anybody who gave me some hints. But somehow it appears to work.
ST: Challenge Roth in 2009 was your first long distance race and you managed a 10:12. Was that the sign that it is meant to be?
Annett: Yes, because I could not believe it. Until then I did no structured training or anything like that. To be that fast at my first ironman distance was also a dream and of course now I was interested what could be possible if I started training with a training plan. But first I hesitated a bit because of my full time job - I was worried if the time management could work.
ST: What is your day job, or is that no longer applicable?
Annett: I am a project manager in a company that produces big electrical motors and generators for example for passenger ships like I often see in Norway at the moment.
ST: You mostly seem to have competed in Germany. Why the jump to race in Norway?
Annett: When I started with triathlon I read a magazine and there was a picture from the start of the Norseman when the athletes jump off the ferry. I was attracted.
After the 10th place overall and a sub 10 time last year in Roth another big dream came true and the I decided to start in Norway next, a long distance adventure race because it was still in my head – the picture from the magazine.
ST: So is Norseman 2013 on the calendar?
Annett: I don't know. Maybe.
ST: Is anything else on the calendar at this time?
Annett: I am thinking about the rest of the year 2012 and then 2013. The Embrunman and the Inferno triathlon are two races which I am really interested in.
ST: All well with sponsors?
Annett: Triathlon is not the kind of sport where it is easy to find sponsors. But in spite of that I am very happy about the companies that support me with very good material, like aquasphere, Compressport, Rudy Project, Madshus, Petzl, and Falke. When I started with triathlon I can remember that I dreamed of having a sponsor for one pair of shoes and now I have. That is really great.
ST: Is there a specific category where you could use support?
Annett: If I would say no I would lie. A bike or bike components would be great and specific competition / trainings food (protein, mineral nutrients etc.) would also help.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Annett: As you can see it is a lot about dreams... From time to time I give speeches on the way I do triathlon and my big goal is to pass others with my passion for sports, nature and a bit of adventure. To have dreams – it does not matter what kind of (don't need to be sport) – and to live it should be one thing that everybody should think about from time to time during his life... A lot of things are possible. I am a good example therefore.
So now I think a lot of things are said. Thank you for the interview!