Interview with our running ambassador, Tanja Sacherow: “You don’t always have to run personal bests, often you just have to give it a go!”
Neither a 50-hour week as an operations manager in a mechanical engineering company, nor her two young children, patchwork family and large circle of friends and acquaintances keep 39-year-old Tanja Sacherow from regularly taking on multiple runs and challenges by VirtualRunners. Read on to find out how our ambassador motivates both herself and everyone around her!
VR: Tanja, let’s start from the beginning – how did you get into running?
Tanja Sacherow: I was very sad after my mother died, and everything in both my private and professional life was in turmoil. I came to running through a colleague at work who signed us up for a run as she’d decided we should just do it. Somehow, I found enjoyment in running and carried on training afterwards.
VR: Do you usually run with company or alone?
Tanja Sacherow: I’ve got my circle of acquaintances, friends, colleagues and family involved – we even rank ourselves against one another. I have been running regularly with my sister for six years now, and I even take my running shoes with me on holiday to explore the countryside. She runs more to relax, but we both love spending time together. I always want to improve a little and love competitions, though.
VR: Well, that’s where we come in! How did you come across VirtualRunners?
Tanja Sacherow: At first, VirtualRunners was ‘just for fun’ to see where your performance would place you in the rankings across Germany. Around then, I saw an ad for the Magical Hawaii Marathon on the internet and thought to myself, “That sounds nice – Hawaii sounds good too, so why not?” Then came the lovely medal and great t-shirt with a super design, and I wanted to stick with it from then on.
VR: Where do you get this deep motivation to always want to improve?
Tanja Sacherow: Because I find it unbelievably fun, for one thing. Another reason was that, at one point, lots of new employees who ran faster than me started in the company. I didn’t find that so great because I wanted to keep up, of course. So, I buckled down in a bid to prove the ‘old woman’ could keep up.
VR: You are really good at training – do they still run with you now?
Tanja Sacherow: I’m actually too fast for most of them now. Once colleague is still running with me but he’s not training at the moment. We trained together a lot last year because we really wanted to run a marathon. In the end, he shared the distance with my sister so he could keep up. His ambition has got the better of him now, though, and he wants to try to finish the race this time.
VR: One thing is clear – you don’t just motivate yourself, but others as well. Right?
Tanja Sacherow: I actually always thought running was an individual sport, or that you’d run with one partner at most. But – thanks to Corona, which keeps you away from one another – I realised you can be close to others virtually through running. I’m not a professional runner, but I can always offer advice and support. So why not set up a local running group? Anyway, my friends have always said I’m a good motivator.
VR: Does your family support you in what you do?
Tanja Sacherow: Even if they don’t tag along, I always have the full support of my partner and my family. My husband takes care of the children, which gives me the time to train alongside work, though the boys also run with me from time to time – the older one on the bike and the younger one in the trailer. The older one also runs challenges on his own, and we’ve already done the family run together. Next time, their sister, grandad, cousins and the dogs will all be there too. We’ll take a huge family picture.
VR: What makes running special to you?
Tanja Sacherow: I get a deep satisfaction from running – I can think about things and switch off. Especially when things at work weren’t finished, you’ve got time to look at things from a different perspective or to reflect on whether you handled certain situations with the children well. Sometimes I let the music drive me along or I enjoy the time with my running partners.
VR: Do you have a personal goal or dream?
Tanja Sacherow: I would actually like to do a triathlon one day, but the problem is the swimming – I don’t really do much training for that, though I even have an acquaintance who would train me but that’s still up in the air. One goal that I’m really pursuing is to complete a marathon in 3h 30min. I once read that only a few women can do it, so that’s my motivation!
VR: What advice would you give to others who can't really motivate themselves yet?
Tanja Sacherow: For a long time, I also thought running wasn’t for me. If I hadn’t been thrown in at the deep end with the sign-up, I would have said, ‘that's not for me’. First, you’ve just got to get involved and try it out. Of course, it’s difficult when your inner laziness says otherwise, and the older you get, the more you become blinkered because you think you know what you like or don’t like. Often, you’ve got to put that aside and just do it.
VR: Thank you for your time and your motivational words, Tanja! We wish you luck with your runs and are sure that you’ll reach your goal!
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Picture 1-4: Tanja Sacherow
Picture 5 : Bruno Nascimento via unsplash