Interview with Petr Hampl
What led you to take part in the Jizerská 50?
I must admit that I was persuaded by my colleagues, Honza Mergl and Julie Lišková. Their pressure was quite persistent, so I finally gave in:) I then had to decide whether to go the whole 50 kilometres, or just half distance. Since I hadn’t been on the cross-country skis for a long time I plumped for the shorter option in the end.
How did you prepare for the race?
I try to lead an active life anyway. When I can I go cycling or exercise at home. However, this is something completely different. I had to work on myself for 3 months. Fortunately, I have an acquaintance who is involved in the training of athletes. Based on her advice, my colleagues and I started running and working out in Prague. Later, once a week we went from work in the evening straight to the Jizerské hills where we trained at night with lamps on our heads. It was tough work of course, and we would often spend 3 hours skiing.
What went through your mind on the start line?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous at all. The atmosphere and the fired-up competitors encouraged me to perform at my best. Perhaps a minute before the start everyone around me was merrily singing and military music was played – it was almost like a film. One of the announcers then said “this mood will have passed in a while” and he was right.
How did the race go?
Right from the start I was as if in a trance. I immediately watched where to go to overtake other racers. I was thinking in my head that I had to catch and latch onto someone just as fast. I caught up with a lady, but passed her by the first refreshment station. By the 18th kilometre of the race, I still had enough strength, so I knew I could do it. In the end, I completed the race in under 2 1/2 hours.
What do you think about your performance?
I gave myself the goal of finishing in under 3 hours, which I did, so I'm quite proud of myself. However, I must once again thank my colleagues who persuaded me to take part. They came and congratulated me after I finished, and I even received a message from one of our clients referring to my “decent performance.” I am also planning to take part next year, and I want to get my time below 2 hours!
Some of your colleagues also competed. How did they do?
I’m full of praise for them because they did very well, despite the unfavourable weather. What gave me cause for concern was our relay performance. We must improve in this as 3rd from last is not good! Next year I hope to see some progress. 😊