Sunday, December 04, 2005


Barbara Szlachetka has passed away. She died, in her home in Hamburg in the circle of her most beloved ones around 11:41 a.m. on November 24th, 2005, exactly the way she had prayed and wanted.

The German International 24-Hour Ultramarathon Champion of the year 2003 (211.990 km) and European Record Holder 48 H Road (348.915 kms, Cologne 2003) started to run in the fall of 1997 because of her love for me. Only four weeks after her first marathon in Dorsten-Lembeck, she entered her first race beyond the marathon distance at Georgsmarienh FCttener Null (50 K trail).

Also in her rookie year in June 1998, she became the German Champion in the 24-hour event in the 40-44 age group.

Barbara Szlachetka set her first Polish Record at her first 48-hour race in Cologne in 1999 (251kms). Later on, she established two Polish records in 12 hours, the latest in 2004 (118.089 kms). Altogether she set 3 Polish National Records in 24 Hours, two of them on the road, the latest being 211.990 kms (2003). Her 24-Hour Polish National Track Record (2001) stands at 203.403 kms. Furthermore she set 6 Polish National Records in 48 Hours, 3 times on the road (PB 348.915 kms),
twice indoors (PB 315.948 kms) and once on the track (PB 304.000 kms Course Record Dallas Ultracentric). The 72-Hour National Record set by Basia is 404.576 kms. She is the owner of all those records even today.

Beginning in October 2000, in her third year of ultramarathon running, up to the time of her cancer she was a member of the official Polish National 24-Hour Ultramarathon Team under the patronage of the Polish Athletic Federation (PZLA) and represented Poland at the European Championships in Uden (2000), Apeldoorn (2001, 5th place), Uden (2003), and at the World Championships in Verona (Track, 2001, 11th place) and in Uden (2003).

In addition, Barbara Szlachetka won the bronze medal at the IAU 48-Hour Indoor Championship in Brno in 2000. Her 284.053 kms was recorded as an Age Group Indoor World Record. She took third, also at the IAU 48 Hours World Cup Indoor 2001 (with 315.948 kms).

In 2003, Barbara finished the Spartathlon on 3rd as best European woman in 31:50:23 behind two Japanese runners.

In July 2004, a few days before the 48-hour race in Cologne, she was taken to the hospital with acute abdominal pain and was diagnosed withadvanced colon cancer in Hamburg, Germany.

In spite of the 50 chemotherapy treatments and other interventions (like portal vein embolisation in October 2004), up to July 2005 she completed 24 marathons and three ultramarathons on a noncompetitive basis, "just for fun", which meant marathons 1-2 hours longer than before her cancer diagnosis.

Running meant LIFE for Barbara. During her runs she was invigorated and forgot about her illness for hours.

She ran her last ultramarathon (51.4 kms) at Au=DFenalster, in Hamburg on July 10, 2005, which she enjoyed up to the last step. It was her 336th "marathon +", namely her 57th ultramarathon in addition to her 279marathons.

Basia completed her last running steps of about four kilometers at Kaltenkirchen Marathon on August 14th, 2005 while accompanying me to the finish line of my 1000th marathon. She did these final steps with the same motivation as the first in 1997 - her love for me and desire to be together.

Unfortunately, her wish to run with me the whole distance was not possible at that point any more.

One day, before that, she was awarded the honorary membership in the 100 Marathon Club of Germany. Additional information on Barbara Szlachetka, "our running blondie", can be found at her trilingual German-Polish-English) website (not updated) or at (daily updated since August 2005).

The funeral took place on Thursday, December 1st, in Czernica, 20kms south of Wroclaw, Poland. Barbara's wish to have as many of her peers from the running community present as possible to send her on her way to her final resting place had become reality: There had been more than 400 people: her family and most beloved friends, her neighbors and finally her running-friends from all over Poland, Germany and Czech Republic.

Dear Basia, you now have finished your longest race with all your grace and charisma. Thank you for all the experiences and the endless love you
have shared with your running friends and me.

Christian Hottas

P.S. This text has been published at and

P.P.S. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions for the tuitions of
Barbara's children, Kasia and Krzysiu.

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