About 1,200 running enthusiasts accepted the invitation and came to the Oberbank Donau Forum to the traditional Kick Off Event, to set the starting point for the Linz Marathon season.

Every chair was occupied and all eyes were focused on the stage. At least no other than the actual marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe was on stage. Paula Radcliffe talked in her exciting speech about her ups and downs in her career and how she managed to get to her success. "When I was 11 years old, I was as a spectator at the London Marathon. There I set my goal, that I will participate one day and I will run as fast as the winner." sayed Radcliffe. That she broke the world record (2:15:25) in 2003 at the London Marathon, everything had to interact.

Setting goals was the main statement of her speech: "It is better to follow your dream goals and not to reach them, than not to even try it." Not only in sports, also in life, it is important to follow your goals and to look forward.

Paula Radcliffe had some downs during her 20 year lasting career. She never managed to get an olympic medal. Injurys put the 45-year-old athlete back. Nevertheless, she fighted back successfully. After the disappointing Olympic games in Athen, she won the New York City Marathon. She was convinced, that it is worth it to set your goals and fight for them.

"We can learn a lot from Paula Radcliffe´s personality, related to disciplin and persistence." says Oberbank CEO Dr. Franz Gesselsberger. Günther Weidling, Linz Marathon OC Team, was stunned as well: "Paula has such a positive and motivating aura, to encourage runners around her and to convince them to set their personal goals."

Austrian´s former top runner, Gerhard Hartmann, gave some advice, how to prepare for the Linz Marathon.
At the end of the event, the guests were traditionally invited for pasta and beer.

Photos (c) Klaus Mitterhauser