Stephan has made his way from being an occasional runner to completing 6 marathons within the last 3 years. He always wears our DANISH ENDURANCE Compression Socks (preferably in white) and he will visit us this week in Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Marathon! Find out more in Stephan’s article about how he has conquered his running route and what advice he can give to our DANISH ENDURANCE community!  
Hello, my name is Stephan. I am 33 years old and I come from the Ruhr Area in Germany, to be more precise from Bochum, the city "in which the sun is dusting". I have been running regularly for the past three years, gradually discovering my passion for the running tracks of this world. If you want to follow me on my path, take a look at my Instagram account @step.runner. For the past three years, I have been an ambassador for marathon events, such as the Frankfurt Marathon, supposedly Germany's best city marathon. In addition, I have been a member of the Brooks Run Happy Team since 2018.  
The half marathon
In order to keep myself fit at the age of 30, I used to run more by doing more regular laps around a nearby lake. The longer my running routes were, the bigger my wish to finish a half marathon again. The only half marathon I had run until then, was still during school time – and I finished it in just under 2 hours without much training. 12 years later, this time should be easy to beat - with a bit of training and more experience, I thought. A big misjudgment! Yes, I reached the goal, but in terms of time, I was well behind my desired time. I could not let that sit on me. My running training became more intense and extensive. I ran multiple half marathons and my times got better and better and I eventually managed to beat my school time record.
The marathon
Slowly but surely, the half-marathons became almost “normal”. At some point, I wanted to face another challenge: but a full marathon? I had the feeling that this was a superhuman achievement at the time and another world to me. Even if you can easily run a half marathon, the idea of ​​finishing a full a marathon seemed almost unrealistic. I had huge respect for this distance: 42.195 kilometers and 3-6 hours of peak performance from my own body. Today, three years after my first marathon and just before my seventh marathon in Copenhagen, I feel like an experienced marathon runner. I have learned a lot from the thousands of training sessions and all the kilometers I have run in competitions - sometimes this learning has been quite painful. I try to improve on a regular basis and to optimize my equipment and training schedule to meet the goals that I set annually. After finishing a marathon below 4 hours for the first time last year, I want to hit the 3:40h this year, at the latest for the season finale when I cross the finish line in Frankfurt.
Step Runner German athlete during Frankfurt MarathonHOW DO YOU CONQUER YOUR ROUTE AND RUN HAPPY?
I can only recommend each runner to set goals that are high, but still feasible.
Almost enviously you sometimes look at other runners and their excellent times. You can see them smiling at the finish line with new personal records. But that's just what you see. Every runner knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Do not compare yourself with other runners!
Each runner, for example, has different physical or temporal requirements. Every marathon requires an incredible number of kilometers of training. And even during training, you struggle with setbacks, injuries, motivation, the time needed to train and the associated renunciation of other things.
My advice is - do not forget your smile!
Even if you are on the hunt for a new best time, you should not become too tense and forget your smile at the start line. You run differently and are perceived differently when you run with a smile. My experience has shown that smiling runners are more often cheered on by spectators. And that pushes you a lot! At the Cologne Marathon last year, a little girl screamed at me with a very grim expression in her face: "Stephaaaaaan. Ruuuuun! ". A moment that created goosebumps and a motivation that lasted for miles.
But it's not just about new personal bests and the next record.
Of course, it is a dream-like feeling to beat one’s best time and realize that you have developed as an athlete. This is a nice side effect for me. Above all, sports give me the perfect balance to my office life. Good endurance also means being focused and ready to fight for your goals and dreams. These are things that you can learn while running, but that are applicable to many areas of life. Regular running does not only train your body and fitness but also strengthens your endurance mind and character. Whether you're running 10km, a half marathon, a marathon, or even an ultra-marathon, do not forget to run and have fun. Go to the start line and smile! Be happy and grateful that you have the chance to participate in this event, to make your experiences and share them with many other great runners.
Run happy!
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