Endurance runner and adventure sailor Christian Schiester recently cast his anchor in the clear waters of Salalah on the south coast of Oman. The Austrian athlete is sailing around the world, exploring new cultures and discovering new places to run. He landed in Oman a little earlier than expected, when he suffered engine problems and had to disembark and take a break for maintenance. Nevertheless, the surprise stop turned into a memorable one as he discovered one of the most unique regions of the Arabian Peninsula. In between his runs, we caught up with Christian.
What inspired you to begin and pursue endurance running?
I used to be very unhealthy, weighing over 100 kilograms and smoking 40 cigarettes every day. One day a doctor told me, “If you continue like this, you will die before you are 30-years old.” I changed my life and started really living.
What is the most memorable run you have done?
The Antarctic Ultra Race - 100 kilometres in the ice close to the South Pole. I ran for 19 hours and 56 minutes and was the one and only at the finish line. All of the other 25 runners were unable to finish the race because of the bad weather. I fought and made it.
When did you begin sailing? What drew you to this sport?
I started in 2001 as a way to relax from my running training and races. I enjoy the quiet time far out at sea, catching fish, watching the sun, and understanding nature.
What is your favourite place that you have sailed to?
Just now, I found one of the most impressive places I have seen - Salalah Beach Marina. There are dolphins right in the middle of the port during the night. I could hear them communicate with each other when they hunted fish as I slept on the deck of my boat every night.
Tell us about your current expedition?
It´s a long story, I´m sailing around the world and try to find the best places to run. I´m following a route to run the Wings for Life World Run every year in a different country.
What are your impressions of Oman?
It was always my dream to visit Oman and I was very close in 2016 when I ran the Wings for Life World Run in Dubai. I like the mentality of people. I also like the food and the nature.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Never give up. Think about your life and the rest of your time on this planet. Try to enjoy the moment but never forget to find a goal so you will have your own finish line to reach.