This weekend in Sankt Wendel the ETU Powerman European Championships celebrated Run / Bike / Run. There was, however, a dark cloud hanging over the race with the news that one of the Powerman family had been involved in a terrible accident whilst training in Italy. Julia Viellehner was born in 1985 in Benediktbeuern. A prolific long-distance athlete, racing Challenge, Ironman and of course Powerman, she won Sankt Wendel in 2016 on the back of her silver medal in Zofingen in 2015.
Reports last week indicated a horrific crash in Italy, when a heavy goods vehicle overtook her and pulled in sharply. Her injuries were severe and she was placed in medically induced coma.
With Europe’s best athletes meeting in Sankt Wendel this weekend, the Elite all signed a special card for Julia, wishing and hoping for her recovery to be swift. Sadly, her battle lasted a week and this afternoon, she left. “Julia hat bis zum Schluss gekämpft!” She fought to the very end.
Julia’s partner, Tom Stecher wrote, “Wir sehen uns im Ziel! ... waren Ihre letzten Worte kurz vor jedem Rennen. Die letzten Tage waren lang und hart! Julia hat bis zum Schluss gekämpft! Nun hat sie das Ziel erreicht und wartet dort ... Die Ärzte haben nichts unversucht gelassen und Julia hat all eure Unterstützung gespürt und auch gebraucht. Julia wäre zu tiefst gerührt gewesen, wenn sie all eure Nachrichten gesehen und gelesen hätte - dafür DANKE ich euch und haltet sie weiterhin in euren Herzen!”
“’See you at the finish!’ These were her last words at each race. The past days were long and tough. Julia fought to the bitter end! Now she has reached the finish line and is waiting there. The doctors did everything they possibly could and Julia certainly felt and indeed used all the support you sent. Julia would have been deeply moved, if she could have seen all the messages and for that I wish to thank you all and ask you to keep her in your hearts!”
The world has been robbed of a talented and dedicated athlete. We will miss her racing. We will miss her smile. We send Tom Stecher and Julia’s family our deepest condolences.