Bond elite athlete and long-distance runner, Moritz ‘Moe’ auf der Heide, was the second fastest university student in Australia to finish the Gold Coast Marathon last month in a time of 2:37:39, and now has his sights firmly set on winning Gold at the next University Championships, when he represents Bond at the 2013 Melbourne Marathon in October.
However before taking on his next marathon, the 25 year-old International MBA student has many more mountains to climb, quite literally, when he heads home to Germany later this month to compete in the gruelling Transalpine-Run trail running event.
The eight day, 260 kilometre event will see Moe traverse four countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy – with 700 trail runners from across the world. 350 teams of two will take on the 16,000 metre altitude trails through the peaks and valleys of the Alps and the Dolomites.
After losing his team-mate to injury at last year’s Transalpine-Run, Moe went on to finish as an individual in fourth place overall.
"Last year was my first trail run ever, and it was pretty crazy, but the Transalpine would have to be the best run I’ve ever done,” Moe said.
“You are running through the most spectacular scenery, through mountain passes and beautiful valleys, and well and truly off the beaten track.”
The event’s rocky trails are treacherous and notorious, with injury an everyday occurrence.
“The first few days are fun and exhilarating, but after that it’s sheer hard work. Days five and six are probably the worst, as during the final two all you can do is focus on finishing and not getting injured,” Moe said.
“It’s during these last two days where I employ psychological strategies to disassociate myself from any pain and I continue to visualise myself crossing that finish line.
“What I love most about the event is at the end of every day, after we’ve run about 37 kilometres, all the runners come together in the finish area to swap stories, hear the day’s results, see the video highlights - and load up on pasta.
“This kind of event is great training and networking for what I hope will be my future career in trail running and sports management.”
Moe’s teammate Stefan Lang, a four-time veteran of the Transalpine-Run, is based in Germany and has the benefit of training on and around the Alps. Moe and Stefan Skype regularly to ensure they’re both on track with their training and race strategies.
On average, Moe runs 120 kilometres a week, peaking at an incredible 190 km a week just prior to the event. In preparation for the Transalpine terrain, he has been running at Springbrook and Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterlands.
The location of Bond University’s Gold Coast campus close to both the sea and mountains was a big drawcard for Moe.
“I wanted an international degree and I knew a few people who had studied at Bond and they loved it,” Moe said.
“I considered a number of universities here in Australia and in the US, but at the end of the day, as an international athlete and an academic, Bond was the best place for me.
“I’m really enjoying my MBA. The whole Bond experience is great - my classmates and lecturers are very supportive and I get to meet and compete with athletes and students from a huge range of countries and backgrounds.”
Moe said the flexible nature of Bond’s MBA degree course and the structure of the university timetable made it easier for him to study, whilst still adhering to the strict training regime required of him to be an elite athlete.
“Many people assume that my training would detract from my studies, but actually the opposite is true. The discipline and commitment required for competitive long-distance running definitely helps me to focus and achieve academically,” he said.
As a member of the Bond Elite Sports Program (BESP), Moe was eligible for $2,000 in funding to support him competing in his chosen field.
“Without the money from Bond, I wouldn’t have been able to compete in this event. With my flights and accommodation taken care of with the BESP funding, and my corporate sponsor covering my team’s entry fees, we can now focus on our goal of finishing in the top ten teams at this year’s Transalpine.”
When Moe returns from Europe in early September, his next big focus will be on representing Bond at the Melbourne Marathon in October. He also hopes to compete in the University Triathlon Championships in Kingscliff in December and is seriously considering taking on the Kokoda Challenge in 2014.
To support Bond’s own trailblazer, Moe auf der Heide, in the Transalpine-Run, visit the Bond Campus Life Facebook page. Here you’ll be able to track his progress and results, plus enjoy some of the stunning alpine scenery, thanks to Moe and his GoPro camera.
Good Luck Moe!