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Exclusive Interview with our ambassador Jaan Bathe

From 0 to 100 within a year: in 2020 he bought his first pair of running shoes, today he runs every day- the story of Ambassador Jaan Bathe


As a paramedic, Jaan Bathe works 12-hour shifts, volunteers with the volunteer fire brigade, is a husband, father of two young sons and within a year, the 39-year-old has turned his attitude towards running upside down. The story of our Ambassador Jaan inspires and motivates in equal measure.

VR: Your everyday life is quite busy with your job, voluntary work and family life. Have you always run as a balance, or was there a key experience?

Jaan: It was really spooky. We were called to an emergency on the third floor of a house. My colleague had the emergency backpack with him and I had the 17kg ECG, plus the oxygen bag. Halfway through, I thought to myself, " Wow, Bahte, you're not going to make it." At that time, I weighed about 118kg, and I really wasn't athletic at all and was just exhausted. I thought to myself, this can't go on like this. So my wife and I changed our diet and I also went to the gym in the evenings.

VR: That means you were never active in running before?

Jaan: No, I was never much of a runner, I always hated it. At school, in the army, running wasn't for me at all. In the gym I was on the bike every evening, but there was a treadmill next to it and one night I thought, come on, there's no one there anyway, give it a try. I ran 1.3 km and was proud of myself that I somehow managed to do it. The next day I wanted to do 2 km. By chance, I came across VirtualRunners on the internet at the time, because the New York Marathon was just around the corner. I decided to sign up for 5 km, which I then completed on the treadmill. That's how it all started.

VR: How did the journey continue?

Jaan: The gyms closed down relatively soon in 2020. That's when my wife told me that I should just run outside. At that time I didn't have any running shoes, just normal sneakers, which I wore outdoors. After 5 km, my legs hurt, so a friend of my wife's, who is a physiotherapist, recommended that I go for a running analysis and buy proper running shoes, because that would be better for my body if I wanted to do it regularly. No sooner said than done, three days later I invested in shoes at the running shop and have been running every day since.

VR: Wow, every day? In what time frame did all this develop?

Jaan: In about a year. For the next New York Marathon, I'm running exactly one year. At the time, I set myself the goal of running my first half marathon in 2021 and my first marathon in 2022. But I completed the half marathon in 2020 for the Pharaoh Run and was almost a bit annoyed because it would have fitted so well with the mileage of 21km in 2021. But then I just decided to sign up for my first marathon in 2021, which I hope will be in October.


VR: What motivated you to keep going so consistently? Not only did you focus on your goals, but you even achieved them a year earlier than originally planned.

Jaan: Besides losing weight through diet and exercise and feeling physically fitter and better, the medals from VirtualRunners were also a big factor that pulled me. It really motivates you when you get confirmation that you've done it when the medal arrives. I now run a VirtualRunners half marathon every Sunday and at least 5km on weekdays.

VR: With that workload, do you run according to a plan or do you have a training routine?

Jaan: I don't run according to a plan at all. I bought a couple of books to read up on it, but I do it more like Joey Kelly, I just run. My body tells me when it's too much. If you learn to listen to your body, then intuitive running works very well, at least for me.

VR: Is running like a kind of balance for you then?

Jaan: Yes, it is indeed relaxation, but also somehow a drug. My doctor says that running is the healthiest drug you can have. And I also realise that you need it after a while, especially after a stressful shift, to calm down and clear your head before you go home.

VR: Do you then need total silence while running to wind down?

Jaan: In the beginning I often ran with hardcore techno, also to push the speed, but now I also run sometimes without background noise and longer distances with podcast, just to let myself be accompanied.  

VR: How do you see yourself in your role as an ambassador?

Jaan: I just try to motivate others to run and join VirtualRunners. We are a cool and uncomplicated provider that gives you an extra push with the medals and the exchange. Especially with the Ambassador Challenges, of course we give our best, but we are also happy for participants who reach or even beat the time.

VR: You really started from 0 to 100. Do you have any tips for those who don't really know how to start?

Jaan: It's not really a tip, but I think it has a lot to do with not ruining it for yourself. For example, if you run a distance slower one day than another and then you get angry about it. The speed doesn't matter, the main thing is that you were out and running. Often you are in competition with others or yourself, but you have to stop that. The main thing is to get there, it doesn't matter how. Of course there are days when you have to pull yourself together, but those are usually the days when things go best!

VR: Jaan, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! We wish you all the best in your future runs and of course especially for your first marathon!
Your VirtualRunners family


June 6th 2021 - Sun of Miami Virtual Marathon 2021

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Picture 1 and 2: Jaan Bathe



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