Cycling, triathlon, football – sport as a counterbalance


Lots of people seek a counterbalance to their jobs – and Krones’ staff are no exception. Some of them, however, go in for sport with a bit more extreme dedication: with exceptionally intensive and persevering rigour. Even during the interviews, I noticed their huge enthusiasm, and thought about it all day. Here I shall be introducing you to a few of my colleagues from our facility in Neutraubling, for whom sport has become a kind of philosophy for living:

From the Way of St. James over the Alps into the Bavarian Forest

Some people walk the Way of St. James in Spain – Monika Aschenbrenner has in fact just cycled it! But that’s not all: she cycles through Istria, to Czechia or on Mallorca, and sometimes simply through the Bavarian Forest. At the Nittenau Cycling Club, she also does normal training units – three times a week in the team over various routes – but the real challenges lie in the long tours. While during her work in sales at Krones she’s continually under some sort of deadline pressure, when she’s cycling she enjoys being her own boss. But a bit of sporting ambition is also part of the ethos, and so in the club they compare kilometre figures and compete for each one of them just for fun. Cycling, by the way, is an all-year-round sport: once the racing bike has been mothballed and the road race season is over, it’s time for some mountain-biking. Monika also enjoys a whole lot of other sports: from running and skiing all the way through to tabata (high-intensity interval training), she embraces all of them. But the highlights are the trips she takes all over Europe. Three years ago, together with a friend, she cycled the Way of St. James from Pamplona to the end (that’s an impressive 800 km in all), and learned to appreciate her own life, and the freedom to enjoy a holiday like this, from a quite disparate perspective. And in a totally different category there’s an “Alpencross”, which with its climbs and descents poses enormous challenges for the human body. She’s already mastered two of them, and a third, involving Switzerland, is meanwhile being planned. Where others avoid the steep ascents, she seeks out the challenge: once she’s in mountain mode, she conquers even the steepest of climbs. Her repertoire also includes rides undertaken for pure enjoyment, of course, joining up with friends for a long tour from beer-garden to beer-garden – and simply chatting, cycling and chilling out.

When one discipline isn’t enough

Running, cycling, swimming – lots of people find a single discipline is quite enough for them. But Markus Maier is not one of these people, since what attracts him is the combination of all three. His enthusiasm for the triathlon was kindled back in 2010, when a long-distance event (“IRONMAN” – comprising an incredible 3.86 km of swimming, 180.2 km of cycling and 42.195 km of running) was held in Regensburg for the first time. The atmosphere was so exhilarating that on the very same
evening he entered for next year’s IRONMAN. Since then, Markus has been training for 10 to 12 hours a week and distributed over the year he competes in approximately another 10 events, in addition to the annual long or medium-distance races (half an IRONMAN). There are shorter runs, too, since Markus’ primary motivation for getting regular exercise is to have fun and enjoy its beneficial effects: “If you do plenty of sport, eat a balanced diet, and keep yourself mentally fit, you will improve your sense of wellbeing and your body’s performative capabilities.” In his job in quality management at Krones AG, too, he can testify to this aspect, and is able to incorporate his experiences from the sporting arena into his remit at work. Now and then, of course, he’s seized by a bit of ambition, and so for the shorter competitions he’s not averse to setting himself a target time. In the long-distance events, though, the focus is not on the clock, “because some people come out of the water and get panicky because they’re a couple of minutes over their targeted time, and this just inhibits them even more. I try to improve myself continuously, of course, but without putting myself under too much time pressure.” Markus ran his most satisfying IRONMAN so far on Mallorca. He arrived a week before the event, travelling privately with some friends from his training group, in order to acclimatise, and then enjoyed an unforgettable competition.

Female power in a typical man’s sport

A girl in the boys’ team – that’s how Christina Kulla’s footballing career began. At the age of 12, she joined the girls, since her special eligibility for the boys had expired. For 22 years now, she’s been turning out regularly for her club (Perkam in Lower Bavaria). This means that Christina, who works for Krones as a purchasing executive, is meanwhile one of the older players on the field. But no one should ever underestimate her: immensely fit thanks to additional track training, and tactically experienced after so many years of matches, together with the other senior players she constitutes a perfect counterweight to the young, tempestuous girls. Training twice a week, plus runs and matches, of course – it takes quite a lot of work and effort to stay in the first team, especially as Perkam has for years now been playing in the County Premier League. Only for the birth of her daughter did she take an enforced break, but she missed the girls on the football pitch. Even though juggling her job and her family takes up a lot of her time, Christina takes care to set some aside for her sport: “When I’m playing football, it’s just about me and my hobby. I can concentrate solely on what’s happening on the pitch, I can take a deep breath and for a time put everyday concerns behind me.” Success on the field, and having fun with her teammates, who are also close friends in private life, give her the strength and energy to meet and master her daily challenges.