Timo Bracht - stealth contender

Last year Timo Bracht was the German favorite at Kona after a sub-8 hour victory at Frankfurt. This year he lost Frankfurt to Andreas Raelert, but thinks his chance is better at Kona

Slowtwitch: How different was your second place finish at Frankfurt this year compared to your win there in 2010?

Timo Bracht: It was completely different. Last year I had the race of my life. I finish under 8 hour. It was a very close race in the end of the marathon. Last year I beat Eneko and Macca in the last 10k of the marathon. It was very close, a lifetime moment. A mystical moment for me. I never .. thought about/could happen

ST: Why did you do so well?

Timo: I think it all came together the last 10 years. The work. All the fans in Frankfurt inspired me. I had one little chance and I thought 'Go for it! It' your time. Not tomorrow!' Also, last year I was a favorite here in Hawaii. Everybody thought 'Yeah Timo can win this race here.' But after Frankfurt I was depleted.

ST: Mark Allen says you can go that deep in the well only 2 or 3 times in a career and it is hard to recover from such a race.

Timo: I am really happy and proud I had this moment in my career. Last year at Kona I finished 6th and had a bad swim. I was on the bike alone and rode 4-5 minutes faster than Rasmus and Raelert [But 8 minutes slower than Lieto and 1 minute slower than Macca] In the marathon, after the first half, I was 15th or 16th. At the Energy Lab, on the way back, I ran the fastest 8 miles of the marathon. I ran nearly two minutes faster than Craig at that point [although Bracht's 2:56 overall marathon time was 8 minutes slower than Alexander's 2:48.]

ST: Where did you get your late marathon strength?

Timo: I was in the restroom one minute. CHUCKLES. After this I passed Mathias Hecht and then I was focused on the finish line. Before that I was focused on the whole race. The whole race is long and it seems as if you are out there forever. My energy level was only focused on finishing the race. But at the Energy Lab I thought 'OK. now I can finish the race. Now I can focus on running faster.' Then I was going all in.

ST: Can you say this year: 'OK., I didn’t go deep in the well at Frankfurt. So now I have more energy for Hawaii?'

Timo: Yes. The most important thing for me is I this year I peaked more for Ironman Hawaii. I have won Frankfurt twice, I finished second there twice. And so for me I have always done a lot of work for Frankfurt. Now there was a lot of work in front of me to do for Hawaii. I scheduled the training to peak more for October. Last year for my sponsor Commerzbank -- they are based in Frankfurt and it is very important to win the race.

ST: Did you train here in Kona?

Timo: I trained 3 weeks in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. I was there with my coach Ralf Ebli. He was 6 years German national coach. He trained Daniel Unger and Jan Frodeno. He knows exactly how to schedule the year with a lot of peaks and rest.

ST: Is Lanzarote with all its climbs and heat and wind is a good preparation for Kona?

Timo: It is great. It is more windy. It is a secret spot for me. I went there nearly a year of my life for training. It is only a 4 hour flight from back home. The Canary Islands is like Africa but in infrastructure from Europe. It is good yeah.
My family was there in Lanzarote. And now all the work is done. The training load is done. I trained 50 hours a week. Now I had a really good tapering and less training.

ST: In the race to what degree can you react to your strongest competitors?

Timo: I think the secret for me is to make my own race. In Frankfurt last year, I made my own race. McCormack passed me and was 2 minute in front - I don’t care about it. I am thinking about my own strengths. I need on Saturday a really good swim. This season I was always in the front pack, especially with no wetsuit. Last year the same. I get a steady bike ride with the top group. Then in the marathon I can relax the first half and I find my stride. Then in the Energy Lab, when I have a little piece of chance there, when I see only a piece of chance, I can grab and go for it.

ST: When you see someone in front of you when do you attack?

Timo: When I am 2 minutes to the first man in the Energy Lab I can win the race. I don’t care who is in front of me. Craig Alexander or Chris Lieto.

ST: What is your best free 10k?

Timo: Not so fast. It is 31. But it is not important. My aim the last few years is to run the fastest second half of the marathon. Not the 10k or the 5k or the 1000 meter intervals in training. I don’t care about it. For me it is important to run faster than anybody else the second half of the marathon.

ST: Do you experience less German media this time?

Timo: In Germany, Andreas Raelert is the favorite for this race. It's OK. He had a fantastic race in Frankfurt. He beat me by nearly five minutes. And he was there on the bike unbeatable really. So he has the pressure here. I wish him a really good race. I like him. He is a really nice guy. We shake hands before the race in Frankfurt and after and the same here. He is a good sportsman.

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