Marathon runner shares his experiences of the foot orthotic bow® by medi

bow® by medi is a milestone in foot orthotic design. Marathon-runner Marcus Schöfisch has slight Pes planovalgus, has been wearing the foot orthotic for one year, and now runs pain-free. In the interview, he tells us of his experiences.

Marcus Schöfisch with bow® by medi

Marcus Schöfisch on his running career – and how bow® actively supports him through every stride

In particular, users with malpositions of the foot, such as the 2016 German marathon champion, Marcus Schöfisch, can benefit from this innovative 3D printed foot orthotic. Due to suffering from Pes Planovalgus, the 35-year-old from Leipzig continually experienced pain in the soles of his feet and ankles. For around a year, he has been using bow on a daily basis, for recovery-enhancing endurance runs or to get back to fitness after a break from training.

Marcus, you became German champion right off the bat, at your first marathon in Frankfurt in 2016, with a time of 2:20:08. Was it your aim to win when you were lining up at the starting line?

“The amount I had been looking forward to the event was crazy. Due to injuries or appearances at the Olympics, the best German runners were not in attendance. The race for the title was open and I was thinking, ‘You’ll never get a chance like this again! You have to take advantage of it!’ Of course I had dreamed of it, but I didn’t really think it was possible. I hadn’t ever run a full marathon before – in training I had only ran around 35 kilometres. So I didn’t really know what lay ahead of me. From kilometre 27 I kept feeling a pulling in my calves, and not long after this I experienced cramp and I didn’t know if I would make it to the finish – but I was very mentally strong that day. In the end it was all a great success!”

How did you come to sport and to marathon running?

“I always enjoyed sport: initially I was part of a Judo club. After we moved from Stollberg / Ore Mountains to Hohenstein-Ernstthal, there were unfortunately no clubs in the area. Out of nowhere, I signed up for a 1,000-metre run – and I quickly noticed that I enjoyed running and was really good at it. In the various competitions, I was always among the top three in my age group. I then began focussing on long distances – I always wanted to be the first over the finish line, I wanted to be the best in Saxony and then the best in Germany. Running fever had me in its grip, and to this day, I put my life and soul into it.”

The marathon is the “supreme discipline in the sport of running”

Prior to your success in 2016, you also ran the half-marathon and other shorter distances, and even ran the hurdles – what is your favourite discipline?

“It’s definitely the marathon – and always has been! Firstly because I have been the most successful at this distance, and secondly on account of its legendary status. For triathletes it is the Ironman, for cyclists the Tour de France, and for us runners, it’s the marathon. It is quite simply the supreme discipline in the sport of running. And a challenge that is worth tackling – you grow as a result of it. The marathon is unpredictable, it always has something crazy in store for you. You can do so much to prepare for it, but you never know whether it will be enough for victory in the end.

Training takes up a great deal of time – how do you manage to fit running into your daily life?

“My main profession is that of police officer, but for the majority of the year I am released for training and to take part in competitions. This means that I carry out my regular police duties for two months of the year, and focus on achieving sporting success for the rest of the year.”

Are there requirements with regard to which competitions you have to compete in, or what level of success you must achieve?

“It goes without saying that I have to perform! Either you have to be on the national team, that is, with squad status, or you have to qualify for an international event such as the European Championships, The Word Championships, or the Olympic Games. Unless, for example, you suffer from injuries: then you are still released from duty even if you are not part of the squad.”

You yourself have had to miss marathon competitions in recent years on account of injury and illness. What was going on there?

“I always had problems with my back and sacrum. And this had an effect on my lower limbs. Added to this, I have slight Pes planovalgus. The inside of my foot arch is fallen and my ankles tilt inwards. If I run long distances the muscles become fatigued – I experience pain in the soles of my feet and in my ankles, which later spreads to my knees and hips. It was a long process for me to get back to full physical fitness.”

bow® foot orthotic: an extra boost when running

How can you treat that?

“Initially I tried to keep the problems under control with special training and physiotherapy. I trained less to allow my body time to recover. But this wasn’t enough. My orthopaedist then prescribed me sensomotoric foot orthotics. I wasn’t satisfied with these as they just didn’t feel right. In the Helmut Haas health care supply store, they introduced me to bow by medi, a special 3D printed foot orthotic that is particularly well-suited for patients with Pes planovalgus. And with bow, I am now running pain-free!”

What was your first impression?

“First of all, bow was individually tailored to my needs and requirements in the foot orthotic and movement centre at the Helmut Haas health care supply store. We then tested them on the treadmill and recorded how I ran with a camera. I immediately noticed the difference: this foot orthotic gives me a kind of extra boost when running; additional energy in the push off, when my foot leaves the ground. That is just fantastic and was not something I had expected! In addition, by entire body became aligned. The recordings confirmed it. It’s been a good year now, and since then I have been regularly training with bow.”

Sustainably optimising running: bow® by medi provides active support with every stride

What is special about bow®?

“bow raises the foot arch. It thus imitates the movement of a healthy foot. While other foot orthotics certainly support the foot while standing, bow actively helps to compensate for the weaknesses in my foot with every stride – from the moment you put weight down, to the rolling of the foot.

To whom would you recommend bow®?

“bow is first and foremost suited for people with a malposition of the foot, such as Pes planovalgus. However performance athletes, novice runners, or people who are generally physically active can benefit from the effect of the foot orthotic. I can only recommend bow, for anyone – it allows you to sustainably optimise your running.“

In what way?

“Whenever I wear bow, my ankle joint feels more stable and this has an effect on my entire body. The knee holds stably in place and my entire upper body is aligned. It feels as though I have to exert less effort to achieve the same performance. And I feel like my foot reminds me to stand up tall, and to pay attention to my stride and my posture. In my view, the foot orthotic is also ideal for recovery-enhancing endurance runs, or to get myself back to fitness after a break from training.

Do you wear bow® during competitions?

“No, this is not allowed in competitions, as your shoes are subject to strict regulations. Otherwise this would be a competitive advantage. However, I get the subjective feeling that the positive effect of bow continues during competitions – I feel more stable and secure. Aside from this, I always wear bow for gentle endurance runs, two to three times per week, and sometimes also in my leisure time. It fits perfectly into my training and everyday shoes.”

What motivates you to train regularly? What keeps you going?

“For me, running is just part of my life! It is my passion! I always want to push my body to the limit and to conquer these limits. Of course, I would like to be successful at the same time. I run because I find it fin, but I also need objectives that I can achieve. I am strong-willed and push myself to give absolutely everything in every competition. Performance sport is a lifestyle that I will practice for as long as my body is capable.”

How long would you like to keep running professionally? What goals have you set for yourself?

“In many other disciplines you will have already passed your peak by your mid 30s. But not in running! Last year I ran some personal bests and I am sure that, this year, I can achieve even more and top my past successes. On account of my long-term injuries I am unfortunately no longer in the national squad, but this is something I definitely want to change and once again pull on the national vest. But next year the Olympic Games are taking place – participating is my ultimate dream. All this drives me to push myself to the limit and get the absolute best from my body!”

We wish you much success in this! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.


Intended purpose

*bow® by medi are foot orthotic blanks, which are handed over to the supplying specialist groups. They build up a custom-made insole. This ensures that the patient's foot is treated according to the indication.