The bell at the edge of the racetrack unmistakably heralds the last lap of the traditional New Year’s Eve run in Trier. The runners have already completed four kilometers and still have one final ahead of them. The tempo increases again. Olympian Gesa Krause is also there. But this year she is not running in the leading group, but takes the last meters of the race a little more calmly.

    “I had a bit of an air problem on the last lap. My normal ‘I’ would have gone full throttle again from behind and tried to overtake,” explains Krause in the DW interview. But this time she foregoes the final sprint and keeps her pace.

    New challenge

    The 30-year-old is five months pregnant and therefore has to carry a little more weight as she turns the last curves of the circuit through the old town of Trier. “I was cheered on for every meter of these five kilometers,” says the runner happily as she crosses the finish line on the market square after 17:31 minutes. “I never expected to be able to run so fast in the 22nd week, but it makes me proud and happy and shows what I’m capable of.”

    Steeplechase runner Gesa Felicitas Krause jumps over the water jump at the 2019 World Cup

    In 2019, Gesa Krause won bronze at the World Cup in Doha for the second time in her career

    For the time being, it was the last competition for the two-time European champion over 3000 meters. “I’m going to be a mom for the first time and I don’t really know what to expect. It’s a totally new situation and a new challenge,” says Krause, who is particularly fond of one message: “I’m pregnant and not sick. I I have a passion for running. And I think it’s a path that can be combined well.”

    A few more selfies with the fans who have arrived and after a short swim in the crowd, the track and field athlete returns home. And the break from competition. “I’m just enjoying this special journey that I’m going on now.”

    Gesa Krause wants to encourage

    Krause has been involved in competitive sports for over twelve years. She has won numerous national and international titles, most recently coming third at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Training, competitions and rest periods have so far determined the life of the athlete. Nevertheless, the dream of having my own child was always present. “It was always my wish to have both and to combine them,” says Krause, adding: “As a woman, it’s always very difficult to make the decision when the time is right.”

    Especially the fact that he had to slow down and focus on something other than competitive sport was difficult for Krause to imagine at the beginning. “When I found out I was pregnant, I thought, as long as I’m not fat, I can keep working out like before. But then I realized that it wasn’t possible.”

    Tiredness, nausea, listlessness and lack of strength determined the first few weeks of her pregnancy. “I didn’t know how to deal with it. There really were days when I got up and couldn’t do any sport. I couldn’t even go for a walk,” the athlete recalls. “It was totally new to me and gave me a whole new perspective on listening to yourself and your body more.”

    Between joy and fear of the future

    In addition, there were fears about the future, especially in the early days. Although Krause is a sports soldier, she earns her living primarily with her sport and through successes on the running track. At the beginning she was still unsure whether her financiers and sponsors would stay by her side during the pregnancy.

    “It’s something new. And something new makes you happy, but it also scares you a bit and intimidates you. But now I’m very positive because the response from my sponsors and everyone I’ve told has been very positive.” rejoices Krause. “My family is completely behind me and I just believe that it will work and that it will be good. And so the fears I had at the beginning are now gone.”

    Gesa Krause speaks openly about her pregnancy and lets other people participate in her social channels. She regularly gives her followers an update on her Instagram profile and tells them how she’s doing. It is often also about reporting on the not so nice sides. “It’s important to me to be transparent and honest,” she says. “I want to show people, ‘Hey, this is my path’ and it’s not all cool, there are also phases that are more difficult at times. And I think that helps others too.” For Krause, having a child is the meaning of life. “I would like to encourage others to follow the same path,” added the athlete in a DW interview.

    The dream of the 2024 Olympics is alive

    The athlete’s life has changed in recent weeks. In addition to competitive sports, other things have come into focus. Many time windows remain empty when the three-time Olympic participant sits at the kitchen table with her laptop and writes her training plan.

    Krause has drastically reduced the training compared to before. She currently only trains around 60 kilometers a week – sometimes on the treadmill, sometimes in the fresh air. Before her pregnancy, it was regularly more than double. “For someone who normally does 90 miles a week and then has days where you can’t get up, it was all new,” she admits.

    In the meantime, Gesa Krause has accepted her new life and her new everyday life and sometimes enjoys a day off, which was rarely possible in the past. Nevertheless, competitive sport will remain an issue in the coming months, because it has a big goal. “I had three great Olympic Games, but I haven’t had this one Olympic moment for myself yet,” says Krause.

    She definitely wants to fulfill her dream of an Olympic medal in Paris in 2024. “The thought of knowing that my baby could then maybe be in the stadium with me is something that gives me joy.”