After his football career, Michael Obermeier started running.
Today he can look back on around 50 marathons and three 100-kilometer runs.
- He actually came from football and has played for FC Inning for almost ten years since the beginning of 1972 in what was then the B and C classes. “We even won the DFB Cup at the A-Class club TSV Dorfen 2-1 in extra time I won a goal ”, recalls Michael Obermeier with a smile.
Very soon the name "the Inninger" Laufwunder "clung to him.
Rightly so, as was soon confirmed in his further sports career as a marathon and long-distance runner.
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After his motivation as a midfielder waned and he took a six-month break, the lanky, 1.80 meter tall and now 33-year-old athlete put on a few pounds, especially since he said he could not “help himself with sweets”.
For him at least the internal impetus that something should change.
When the Münchner Merkur organized a 25-kliometer run in Unterhaching on Easter 1983, the Inninger decided to take part.
"With a time of 1:47 hours in normal sneakers, I ran through the finish line," he recalls.
Just three weeks later, Obermeier competed in the Munich Marathon for the first time.
"After only four weeks of training, but in running shoes for the first time, I felt well drained in between, so that I had to switch to walking steps a few times in the English Garden." Nevertheless, in a time of 3 hours and 17 minutes, he was 328 out of 4500 participants. "The following week I suffered terribly aching muscles," he says with a laugh.
"But the marathon fever grabbed me and I had a sporting goal again."
The father's death was a severe blow
In wind and weather, summer and winter, Obermeier trained initially together with a BMW test driver who lived in Inning and whom he met while running in the forest.
He never forgets a winter evening when he was all alone on a 23-kilometer training route in heavy snowfall.
Only between Hörgersdorf and Maierklopfen did a clearing and gritting vehicle come towards him.
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The running partner from the early days recommended him the book of the ex-Olympic participant in the marathon, Manfred Steffny, with valuable tips from experience: “I read it through in two days.” Three months after the Munich marathon, the duo started at the traditional Jahn marathon in Munich .
"I was able to improve myself to a time of 2 hours and 48 minutes," says the inninger proudly.
"My training partner, who had already run several marathons, placed behind me and was not a little surprised." In the summer of 1984, Obermeier finished 51st in Moscow with 2:34 hours out of around 6,000 starters. At the end of September, he started in Berlin for the first time the start and improved its runtime to 2:31 hours.
In March 1985, Obermeier planned to start the world-famous marathon in Vienna.
"I had already reported, but then my father had to go to the hospital with kidney disease," recalls the inninger.
“One day before leaving for Vienna, I wanted to go to his hospital in Ebersberg again after the doctors signaled to me that there was currently no mortal danger.” But things turned out differently: “My father died half an hour before my arrival.
That was a very hard blow for me because my father had always supported me in all my activities, mainly soccer before.
He was my best fan. "
Personal best: 2:26 hours
Obermeier went back to normal relatively quickly.
First of all, he set a personal best of 2:26 hours in Merano.
"When I turned around halfway through the route, there was no one to be seen," he says with a laugh.
At the finish he came in fourth - out of almost 1000 runners.
"At the finish line, I also received big, loud special praise from a judge: 'Nobody fought like you.'"
Obermeier delivered strong performances in Merano in 1985 when he came fourth.
The German championships in Frankfurt followed four weeks later.
“Actually, because of the short distance to Merano, I didn't want to start after my regeneration phase was not yet fully completed,” he says.
“But the Freising club mates from the LAG Mittlere Isar motivated me to do so in the end.” The humidity was up to 25 degrees.
The team made it to 14th place. Finally, he started in Berlin in autumn 1985 and achieved a running time of 2:26 hours for the third time in a year.
Around 15,000 runners started here in front of an estimated 100,000 spectators.
In the team competition, the LAG Mittlere Isar came in sixth.
In the same year, Obermeier thought: “Now you are going to let it rip again.” And he started in Israel in December.
In this marathon in Tiberias he achieved a time of 2:28 hours.
“In the following year, if you will, I had a hangover,” reports the inninger.
First he started the Boston Marathon in April and ran 2:36 hours.
“It was a special experience to walk through the urban canyons and parks on the Atlantic Ocean in the mega city in Massachusetts, in front of thousands of spectators along the way,” he describes his impressions.
Things then went better at the Allgäu Marathon in Vogt, which he won - in a small field of around 150 runners.
Freaking out at the WDR shoot
“Afterwards, I was attracted to the most famous German 100-kilometer run in Unna in Westphalia for the first time.
Out of around 730 participants, I immediately took fourth place in a time of seven hours and 35 minutes, ”says Obermeier proudly.
This was followed by the start of the marathon in Kandel near Karlsruhe (2:28 hours) in March 1987 and participation in the 10,000-meter run in Augsburg in May, in which Obermeier was among the top ten.
A week later he started again in the Munich Marathon and placed 32nd among around 8,000 participants in his "standard time" of 2:26 hours.
I was completely out of place for days
Michael Obermeier after winning the team runner-up in the marathon in Turku, Finland.
After that, Obermeier had to take a ten-month break due to a tendon injury.
“The Orthopädie Seeßle company helped me with a special insert,” says the long-distance runner.
In any case, he was able to train fully again from spring 1988.
The first start after the injury took place in the Westphalian town of Hamm at the German championship over 100 kilometers.
“The weather didn't play along this time and it was absolutely old”, Obermeier remembers, “or rain and wind all day.
No doubt, it was ultimately a “drag.” On the last lap, about five kilometers from the finish, a vehicle with a camera team from WDR caught up with him.
The windows opened, a reporter held out the microphone in front of him while the cameraman was filming from the rear window.
“When I asked why I was doing so, my fuses were blown, I hit my fist on the roof of the car and hurled a Bavarian swear word at them, which 32 years later is not yet ready for printing.
At that point, I was beyond good and evil. ”In the end, the inninger crossed the finish line in tenth place after 7:24 hours.
The run was reported on television in the evening, and Obermeier was often seen with the leading group, but nothing could be heard or seen of his freaking out.
Vice World Championship in Turku
In 1988 the inninger moved to TSV Baierbach.
In 1989 he started again in the Munich Marathon - "building in the middle of the house", as he says.
"On Saturday I was still dragging mortar through the building because the screed was being laid on Monday." In between - on Sunday - he ran the marathon in the state capital.
Among around 9,000 participants, it was enough to finish 42nd with a time of 2:29 hours. In 1990, he started at the Bavarian championships in Regensburg.
In a time of 2:33 hours, I became Bavarian champion in my age group, ”reports Obermaier proudly.
After completing his house in Inning, he returned to training in the summer of 1990.
"I prepared for my third 100-kilometer run, started at the southern German championships in Rödenbach near Frankfurt and finished third among 600 participants in a time of 7:23 hours."
At the marathon in Munich in 1989, Obermeier was 42nd out of 9,000 participants.
Obermeier emphasizes that his greatest challenge was then to take part in the senior world championships in marathon in Turku, Finland, in the summer of 1991.
The start was late, at 11 o'clock, because other athletics disciplines were scheduled.
Temperatures of up to 30 degrees and an extremely demanding circuit - hill after hill - demanded everything from the body.
The reward: with the German team - the three fastest in each country were counted - Obermeier became vice world champion.
“I was completely out of place for days,” he enthuses.
"Fortunately, I was able to spend another week of vacation with my wife Anneliese in the vicinity of Tampere and relax again."
One episode sticks in his mind in Finland in particular.
In the changing room in Turku, Obermeier was sitting next to a Russian who had walked in ordinary sandals.
"I noticed that he was showing a long-term interest in my new running shoes," says the inninger.
“Spontaneously I decided to give him the shoes after it turned out that the size was right.
He was very happy and thanked him again and again with tears in his eyes. "
Even at 70 I still wear my running shoes
In the spring of 1992 there was a “by the way” start at the half marathon in Deggendorf, in which Obermeier took third place in a time of 1:13 hours.
Actually, a start at the marathon in Vienna would have been on the program again, but he was denied it.
Two weeks before the appointment, Obermeier injured his back, "and a little later, on vacation with my wife in Mauritius, there was also an injury to the ankle" when he stepped on a stone and unhappily twisted ankle.
Six months later, Obermeier had an operation, which resulted in a break of almost a year.
After that he ran several marathons, now almost 43 years old, he says.
"However, no longer in competition mode, but still in times of around 2:50 hours."
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Even though he is now 70 years old, Obermeier is not lazy.
He regularly unwinds several kilometers three times a week in his native Gäu.
Four years ago he climbed the Grossglockner summit with a mountaineer friend.
In total, the passionate long-distance runner completed around 50 marathons, countless 10,000-meter and three 100-kilometer runs.
He wore up to five pairs of running shoes a year: "I didn't save, because I ran tens of thousands of kilometers on asphalt and today I have neither problems with my knees nor my joints."
At the age of 66, the Inninger ran his last marathon in Munich.
When his strength ran out at 38 km, he knew that no one would follow.
Meanwhile, Obermeier has always hoped to this day that a younger talent would be found, to whom he could gladly pass on his knowledge, and who is running his times, or even improving them.
Looking back, he says: “It was a very good time, but I wonder how I managed to do all of this.
150 to 180 kilometers of training a week, I worked 40 hours, and back then I built a house with my girlfriend and current wife. ”He knows:“ You need the ambition to achieve goals, but also the passion but also the talent. “In the end, his wife always supported him and showed him understanding during the time when he was often on the road.
"I was never involved in doping"
What would he do differently today?
"If I were to run marathons and long-distance races again at a young age, I would stop playing football sooner and do long-distance sport in a targeted manner," says Obermeier.
He is certain: “There would have been times of 2:15 hours.” In his best running years in the mid-eighties, he had achieved a time of 2:26 hours three times in one year - at that time the world record was around 42.195 kilometers at 2:05 hours.
He was delighted that he was voted “Sportsman of the Year” in 1991 by the readers of the local newspaper.
When asked about food supplements or other additives, Obermeier assures: "I never had doping in the game." Of course, you have to adjust your diet.
The inninger recommends: “You need salt and iron tablets as well as isotonic drinks.
There is also a special diet. ”You have to train at racing speed for a week.
"Then you do without carbohydrates for three days, from the fourth day you radically switch your diet to high-carbohydrate food with pasta, rice and bananas - then it works."
Encounter with Pele
Encounter with Pele
A personal encounter with world football star Pele is deeply anchored in Michael Obermeier's memories.
"At the ISPO sporting goods trade fair, which takes place every February / March in Munich, I received a visitor card from a friend from whom I obtained the mineral products," says Obermeier.
“When I was at the Puma stand, the door opened and the greatest football star of all time, Pele, came in.” At that moment, his heart beat a lot faster than the world star was standing in front of him.
When he asked the Brazilian for an autograph, Pele spoke to him in easily understandable German, "which finally took away my inner nervousness," says Obermeier.
As a dedication, the world star wrote: "For my friend Michael, dear, warm regards - Pele."
“I was torn back and forth, you can imagine how this moved me as a fan and soccer player,” recalls Obermeier.
By the way, ski ace Ingemar Stenmark and tennis professional Boris Becker, who was still little noticed at the time and won Wimbledon for the first time a few months later, were guests at the exhibition that day.
But none of them even came close to having the charisma of Pele.
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