TriathlonLife: Germany’s super-couple

Anyone who wants to try and tell you that you can’t do it all needs to meet Katharina Abbing. She’s done three Ironman races and qualified for Kona in two of them. Last year her husband Sven was the European champ in 30 to 34, but had to “settle” with simply qualifying for Kona this time around thanks to his 8:56:37 finish time in Frankfurt last weekend.

| July 8, 2016 | PERSONALITY

Katharina and Sven Abbing

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

And get this. The Abbings somehow manage to combine work, world-championship calibre triathlon racing along with taking care of their 19-month-old son, Ben.

“We have a really good family who live next to us,” Sven says. “They help us a lot.”

You think?

Abbings and friends | Sven Abbing, Maik Bernhardt and Fuad Rugovac hold Katharina Abbing. All four are off to Hawaii in October.

Sven Abbing, Maik Bernhardt and Fuad Rugovac hold Katharina Abbing. All four are off to Hawaii in October.

The Abbings are Kona bound this October. This will be Sven’s third trip to the Big Island. He was there in 2013 and 2015. This is Katharina’s first trip to race. She also earned a Kona spot in Mallorca, so she didn’t have to take her spot in Frankfurt. Winning the European championship, though, was a dream come true.  

“I had two goals: to qualify for Hawaii and to go under 10 hours,” she says, “Both happened yesterday. So I’m really excited.”

She should be.

Her 9:34:59 finish time placed her ninth overall and she was the fastest female age grouper.

Frankfurt was Sven’s ninth Ironman race. He had done one marathon when the two became a couple (they had known each other when they were younger, but hadn’t seen each other for a number of years before they got together), so Katharina, whose passion had been horseback riding in the past, told him she would run a marathon with him if he did another one. She did, and was quickly hooked on endurance sports that required her own horsepower.

The two got into triathlon in 2009 and the rest is history. Katharina did her first Ironman in 2011 before taking a three-year hiatus for work and to have Ben. She’s returned with a flourish.

They’re quite a team. We’ll get to see them in action again in October at the world championship.