Just after 10 months from her horror crash in Macau and a spinal surgery, the young German lady Sophia Flörsch completed her first marathon in Berlin.
It was the 18th November 2018 when the motorsport world stopped breathing for a moment. Sophia Flörsch had a horrible crash in Macau: a collision ripped both wheels off the left side of her race car, at top speed, and with no brakes her car flew off at Lisboa Corner, over the safety fence and head first into a scaffolding. After a long spinal surgery to her 13th vertebrae, she came back stronger than ever before on racetracks. And now, just 316 days after her surgery, she ran her first marathon and completed the 42 kms.
The young tough lady finished the 46th Berlin Marathon under the rain and cold weather, in 5 hours, 6 minutes and 31 seconds time. What a year and what a fight back.
We asked her a couple of questions about this new experience, and if running a marathon has any similarities with being in a race car.
"Your bones and also your muscles start hurting like crazy and you have on the back of your mind "what the fuck am I doing?". But you still finish it."
RACERS: It´s been less than 12 months since your spinal surgery and now you´ve run your first marathon. How does that feel?
SOPHIA: "I did it, I was very happy that I finished it. I mean, 42 kilometres is actually pretty huge! I had never done it before, it was a cool experience. It was raining so the weather was not really perfect but when I was running through the end I was just really happy, and happy that I finished it."
R: Where does the idea of the marathon come from?
S: "Well, I have a partnership with a German brand and since I did an half-marathon before, they were asking me: "Sophia, in two months there is the Marathon in Berlin, do you want to do it?" Well, I have a race the week later, we will see! But in the end I did it. I think it is pretty cool to say that at 18, after a spinal surgery, some months later you go and finish the marathon."
R: Also you dedicated the race to Anthoine and Juan Manuel ...
S: "I never raced against Anthoine, but I knew him from karting and Juan, he´s a really good friend acutally, we raced against each other in F4 for two years and we´ve been in contact for the last five years, so we´re really good friends. They were really close to my heart that day and the whole motorsport family was really depressed because of it and I just did the marathon for them and tried to honor Anthoine. Juan also had the surgery on that day, so it was just for them."
R: Physically, how is it different to prepare for a race like that compared to motor racing? Are there common points?
S: "It´s a complete different story. Actually most people that do a marathon they prepare for one year, and I just prepared for two months. And also I was travelling a lot, so the racing part was actually nothing. But it is different, in racing I´ve been doing this for years, it´s my life, while for the marathon, I´m not running as a pro. Doing a marathon is really going on your legs, like my bones were hurting like crazy. But it was a nice experience, a completely different experience."
R: Do you think you can bring something from this experience, maybe mentally into motorsport?
S: "Yeah, I think mentally, of course there are lessons to learn. After like half distance, your bones and also your muscles start hurting like crazy and you have on the back of your mind "what the fuck am I doing?". But you still finish it; I think it´s really about running over your limit. It´s something that makes you mentally harder I think, for motorsport and for all other aspects of life."
R: Was there anything that helped you to recover so quickly from your surgery last year?
S: "Not really, I just think that everything went perfectly: surgery went perfect; doctors, my family and friends and all around were helping me and supporting me. Mentally I was very quickly over the crash so I could see no more problems with it. And then I was busy with programs to get my muscles back from surgery."
R: Will you be back at Macau this year?
S: "I wish I could say yes, but I still don´t know if as a driver, or as an ambassador, or nothing, but I want to be back there, I want to be driving there again, but whether it is this year, I don´t know."
So, whether or not we'll see Sophia Flörsch back in Macau later this year, she already is the epitome of strength in our books and we are pretty sure she will race in Macau again.
Until then, we wish her all the best for her future.
"I think it is pretty cool to say that at 18, after a spinal surgery, some months later you go and finish the marathon."
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com