Two hours, thirty minutes and fourteen seconds. A cry of euphoria. Emotional tears and tiredness, and a sigh that – in an abstract, indirect and obvious way – shows the satisfaction of having made the perfect run.
Even today, ten months after his flamboyant victory in the Zafiro Palma Marathon 2018, Kasper Laumann Hartlev (Denmark, 1991) still remembers that moment with a smile that says it all. "I still get goose bumps when I remember everyone calling out their support, and the affection I heard throughout the race... The atmosphere is amazing", he confesses.
With new times attained on tarmac and another year lived (he just turned 28), Kasper has confirmed that he will attend Zafiro Palma Marathon 2019. Not only that: this year he will also be our brand ambassador: "Representing Zafiro Hotels in the Zafiro Palma Marathon is a treat and an honour".
The date October 13 is written in red ink on his calendar and his objectives are clear: "My goal is to win and I'm ready to fight for victory". We've spoken to him about his routines, his goals and his passion for a sport full of values that, he confesses, makes him feel free.
What's a normal day like in the life of Kasper Hartlev?
Whether it's a weekend or working day, my day always starts with about 30 minutes of running, or a few hours of biking early in the morning. In total we're talking around thirteen workouts per week, complemented by a healthy diet based on vegetables, fish and lean meat.
And what balance is there in all these years of hard training and competitions?
To me, sport is so much more than just exercising. Sticking to a healthy diet, leading an orderly life and achieving a balance between body and mind are other factors implicit in this profession.
You don't have to hold records for sport to be a way of life. The only thing you need is perseverance and passion. Setting yourself sport goals, dedicating part of your life to achieving them, following a strict diet and competing – this only makes sense if it's done with passion.
We will see you in action again soon in Zafiro Palma Marathon. After winning in 2018, is it a personal goal for you to defend the title, or improve on your time?
My goal is to win and I'm ready to fight for victory. The time isn't that important. I prefer winning the race with a somewhat longer time than ending up second or third just because I've wanted to improve on my time from last year.
Also, new in October is that you'll wear the Zafiro Hotels t-shirt...
That's right! Representing Zafiro Hotels in Zafiro Palma Marathon is a treat and an honour. This race is perfectly planned down to the smallest detail and that's done by making sure that the race organisation is perfect. I know, and I speak as an athlete and an ambassador for the brand, that this kind of quality is part of Zafiro Hotels' DNA.
The route of the Zafiro Palma Marathon takes the participants past Palma’s most famous landmarks. What's your favourite point along the route?
Without a doubt, the route is amazing and the atmosphere is wonderful. After the first 21 kilometres, you turn around and go back to the starting point of the race. That was my favourite spot in 2018! The shouts of support and the affection I felt from everyone cheering us on are memories that still give me goose bumps when I think about it. The intense energy I felt helped me increase my pace and the distance to the other runners until I was on my own, and won.
What advice would you give new participants in 2019?
A marathon that takes place in a temperate climate like on Mallorca always deserves extra attention and respect. The best advice I have is to prepare thoroughly. Paying attention to diet during the days leading up to the race is crucial, as is knowing what kind of energy supplements there will be and in what quantity to use them.
And specifically, physical and mental endurance are fundamental aspects in a marathon...
Yes, and the key is to suffer all the symptoms beforehand, while you're training. A few years ago, I had to get out and train, but it was raining, and the weather was horrible. I thought about just staying at home, but my coach told me: "This is what the weather might be like on the day of competition. Get out there and train, that way you'll be prepared the day you have to compete in pouring rain". Mentally, you have to use a mantra telling yourself that – no matter how tired you are – you still have 10 per cent energy left to give.
And the last question... if you had to define running with a single word, what would it be?
Freedom! That's what I feel when I run.