Collecting medals on the side: highway patrol officer Sarah Drees is a passionate extreme sportswoman.
When it hurts, happiness comes!
Climbing high over climbing walls with a car tire, shimmying along the "Never ending Monkey Bars", overcoming the fear of heights on the "Execution Tower" or crawling on all fours through slippery mud - obstacle courses are Sarah Drees' passion. In 2021 alone, the 35-year-old highway patrol officer took part in 14 such competitions.
Streife editorial team

In the summer, Sarah Drees ran the Mud Masters Marathon in Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands. Already a real challenge as a runner, there are also obstacles every few meters along the 42.195 kilometers. Mud and debris on the trails round off the course profile. Sarah crossed the finish line in second place. She is used to standing on the winner's podium. Last year alone, she took first place eight times. Her biggest success? Third place in the 12-hour obstacle race "Europe's Toughest Mudder" in England.

But what makes a competition like this so appealing? How do you prepare for these challenges? Are there climbing holds mounted on the ceiling everywhere at home or is your own garden covered in climbing frames? A glance into Drees' apartment in Unna is surprising. Hidden behind the sofa is a three-meter-long balancing band, and there is a spiral staircase and a pull-up bar in the doorway. All under the watchful eye of the one-eyed cat Azrael. A bike and a few weights lean against the wall. That's it.

Her daily training takes two to three hours - in addition to her work on guard duty at the highway police in Kamen. Sarah is neither released from work for her sport nor does she receive any financial support. She plans her vacation days to take part in competitions: one weekend in Mallorca, the next in Munich. "Others lie on the beach on vacation and I just do obstacle races," says Drees with a shrug. The number of competitions is enormous: 27 competitions in 2019 alone, 13 the following year and most recently 14, as so many were canceled due to corona. "I'm very grateful that my service group supports me as much as possible with my vacation planning so that I can go to the competitions," says Drees happily. And she has already seen a lot of the world: Holland, France, England, Spain and the USA. Last year, she could have flown across the Atlantic again for the 24-hour Spartan Race - but coronavirus prevented her from doing so. This year, she wants to tackle the qualification again.

She trains incessantly for this, even going for walks with her mother. A few weeks ago, they walked six kilometers - Sarah Drees with a 15-kilo ball in her arms. "Some people sometimes look irritated," but that doesn't surprise her. Sometimes she heaves her self-made sandbag onto her shoulders and jogs through the Uelzen Heath. She draws up her own training plans and usually trains alone. But it is only when she competes that the policewoman experiences endless feelings of happiness. Then, when her whole body aches and she thinks about giving up and yet somehow manages to exceed these limits. "I'm already aware of how well I can use my abilities - both physically and mentally."

The passion for obstacle course racing - OCR for short - first arose when a friend took her to the Fisherman Strongman Run at the Nürburgring in 2011. That's when it "clicked". Ten years later, she has now been honored twice for her successes: in October at the NRW Police Sports Awards in the Alte Schlossfabrik in Solingen. She also won in the "Athlete without sponsorship" category at the police sports awards ceremony of the German Police Sports Board (DPSK) in Stuttgart in November.

In the meantime, RTL has already come knocking to recruit her for the show "Ninja Warrior Germany". Top athletes have to prove their strength and stamina to overcome a challenging obstacle course. So, is she going to take part? "Not for now, I still need to work on my grip strength." Given her eagerness to train, it's probably only a matter of time before she accepts.


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