Former pro rider Jens Voigt forced to withdraw from his attempt to run seven marathons in seven days after bacterial infection developed in his left leg
The 46-year-old German completed his fourth marathon on Friday in Berlin but was unable to start Saturday’s run due to pain and swelling. Under medical advice, he decided to with withdraw from his charity-fundraising attempt.
“I woke up with pulsating pain in my leg and I could barely walk,” said Voigt, who during his pro cycling career rode in 17 Tours de France.
“Another visit to the hospital made clear that there will be no more running or cycling in the next two weeks.”
He later posted: “It’s been an emotional week and still surreal what has happened,”
“I ran 168,8 km in four days which ended in a disaster for my legs. I got a bacterial infection which is called erysipelas. Quitting was the right decision. Health comes first and that’s the reason why I’m supporting Tour de Cure Australia.
Voigt posted photos of his swollen leg on social media. He said on his Facebook page that supporters had continued the run in his absence, with Voigt switching to give them support at the roadside.
“I’m still overwhelmed by an epic week. Fans kept running for me and I was their supporter. You guys are awesome and really made a positive difference. Thank you so much.”
Voigt was well known in the professional peloton for being a ‘hard man’ during his pro career, which spanned 1997 to 2014. His attacking style and time trial ability saw him win two stages of the Tour de France, a stage of the Giro d’Italia and overall wins in the Critérium International, Tour of Poland and Bayern-Rundfahrt.
He ended his pro career in 2014, after riding in his final season for Trek.
Since retiring, Voigt has kept himself busy with various cycling events and charity fund-rasiers, including ‘Everesting’ a climb in Berlin in January 2017. Voigt rode the ascent 100 times to reach the elevation of Everest and raised €25,000 for cancer charity Tour de Cure.