Quadrathlon4YOU Quadrathlon4YOU

Exciting Sprint at the Bergsee

Aljoscha Dietrich's fight against the time and invasive species © Martin KrawietzAljoscha Dietrich's fight against the time and invasive species © Martin Krawietz

When the mist drifts over the Ratscher mountain lake surrounded by extensive spruce forests early in the morning in Thuringia and the first leaves of the scattered deciduous trees lose their lush green, it is not only summer that is drawing to a close, but also the season of the quadrathletes. Year after year, athletes from near and far come to Schleusingen to be part of the competition, which was held here as the Quadrathlon for the 20th time this year. Many of the athletes have already taken part countless times – they know each other. Ratscher has become much more than “just” Quadrathlon.

Especially in the years when an international competition is held here, like this year’s World Championships over the sprint distance, quadrathlon athletes from all over Europe meet here – and in some years also from the other side of the world. A total of 52 individual competitors from the ten nations of Germany, England, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, the Czech Republic and Hungary had travelled to determine the fastest in the world among them.

The competition was overshadowed this year by the tragic death of a triathlete who died on the running course shortly before the start of the Quadrathlon. With the full understanding of all participants, the start was postponed and the bike course relocated. Even though the race was organised as usual, many things were different from all the years before. Many Quadrathletes found it difficult to concentrate on the sport. Participating in the competition was a mental challenge.

The starting signal was given at 4 pm, about an hour late. After heavy rain the day before, the weather conditions were almost perfect for all four disciplines of the Quadrathlon. First of all, 750 metres had to be swum through the reservoir’s water, which was just under 20°C warm, or cold without a wetsuit. Stefan Griem from Freising was the first individual to reach the lake shore, followed by Sebastian Wiese (Spandau) and Laurent Martinou (France). In the women’s race, Anna-Lena Klee (Mellrichstadt) was the fastest swimmer of the day, closely followed by Antje Fiebig (Leipzig).

Eric Lieseke from Jena was the first to complete the bike course, which is undulating for southern German athletes and mountainous for northern German athletes, and thus also took the overall lead. He was followed, just a few seconds behind, by Alexander Dittrich (Rostock), Alvaro Sabater Ramirez (Spain), Ferenc Csima (Hungary) and Laurent Martinou. In the women’s race, on the other hand, Anna-Lena Klee was able to maintain her lead over Antje Fiebig on the 20-kilometre bike course, while Susanne Walter (Berlin) stayed on the heels of the leading duo.

The fastest paddle time of the individual starters of the day went to Ferenc Csima closely followed by Alvaro Sabater Ramirez, Alexander Dittrich and Eric Lieseke. As the paddling time of the leading quartet only differed by a few seconds, the four leaders started the run within only one minute. At this point at the latest, it was clear that the 2023 Quadrathlon World Champion in the sprint distance would be determined by an extremely exciting final on the run course. In the women’s race, too, there was a thrilling race right up to the end. While Antje Fiebig came a little closer to Anna-Lena Klee again on the 4.6-kilometre paddle course, Susanne Walter continued to approach the leading duo with the fastest paddle time to less than three minutes behind the leader and less than one and a half minutes to second place.

The fastest runner of the day was Alvaro Sabater Ramirez from Spain, who thus secured the WQF World Championship title in the sprint distance. Second place went to last year’s winner Ferenc Csima from Hungary. Third place went to Alexander Dittrich ahead of Eric Lieseke. With the second-fastest running time, Laurent Martinou was able to close in on the four leaders again on the five-kilometre run course and took fifth place in the end. In the women’s race, the new world champion Anna-Lena Klee ran the fastest, followed by Antje Fiebig and Susanne Walter.

Besides the exciting competition for the overall victory of the WQF Quadrathlon World Championships, the athletes of the different age groups also showed excellent performances. The young junior quadrathlon athletes Jan Giritsch (born 2004) Manas Lukáš (2005) Šuster Lukáš (2006) and Markus Krawietz (2009) deserve special mention.

For the first time, the WQF Sprint World Championships for individual competitors also included an official Relay World Championships. Eleven teams consisting of two to four starters competed in Ratscher. In total, 38 athletes took part in the 2023 Relay World Championships. Many teams were made up of absolute specialists who were coming into contact with the Quadrathlon for the first time. What is possible in the respective disciplines was demonstrated first and foremost by Team 1 of the Wassersport Vereinigung Kassel (WVC). Aljoscha Dietrich, Christian Schüffler, Sebastian Grassewitz and Julian Lind achieved an absolutely dominant start-finish victory with impressive times in all four disciplines. Second place went to the 2nd team of the WVC, Harald Brückmann, Michael Michel-Flüchter and Maik Aßhoff. Third place went to Quadrathlonteam Ulm, where David Kunderer and László Szabó celebrated their Quadrathlon comeback.

Some quadrathlon athletes will compete in Hungary, Spain or England this year. But for most of them the quadrathlon season 2023 ends in Ratscher. Time to prepare for the competitions in 2024 over autumn, winter and spring, in order to finally be there again at the beginning of September when the fog rolls over the idyllically situated mountain lake Ratscher early in the morning…

by David Kunderer

© Fotos by Lars Rohde



1. Alvaro Sabater Ramirez (ESP) 1:33:07
2. Ferenc Csima (HUN) 1:34:07
3. Alexander Dittrich (GER) 1:35:15
4. Eric Lieseke (GER) 1:36:56
5. Laurent Martinou (FRA) 1:37:01


1. Anna-Lena Klee (GER) 1:47:21
2. Antje Fiebig (GER) 1:50:09
3. Susanne Walter (GER) 1:53:39
4. Gabi Menke (GER) 2:00:12
5. Undine Weihe (GER) 2:06:41

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