Andreas Vojta, vegan runner

Andreas Vojta is an Austrian track athlete who has become
the leading national track runner as well as a successful international
competitor.

He has personal bests of 3:36 for the 1500 metres, 13.38 for
5000m and 28:33 for the 10,000 metres. 

Born in 1989, Andreas was running for Austria over 1500 metres by 2011, and in that year he qualified for the London 2012 Olympics and 2011 World Championships (where he came 22nd).  In preparation for the Olympics he took 2.86 seconds off his personal best to place himself top of the European rankings and third in the world.

In London he missed out on a semifinal spot.  Soon after he came within 0.14 seconds of the 30 year old national 1000 metres record, later breaking it in 2013.  2013 also saw him taking 14th in the European Indoor Championships and taking Bronze on the World University games.

In 2015 he finished 12th at the Indoor World Championships and also competed at the European Indoor Championships.

In 2016 he became the Austrian 1500 m champion.  He retained his title in 2017 and added the 5000 m title.  Andreas also took 10th at the European Indoor Championships and took another Bronze at the World University games.

In 2018 we won the 10,000 m national Championships and
competed at the European Championships, his first major competition as a vegan.

He continues to compete and in 2019 competed in the European Indoor Championships.  He’s been Austrian Athlete of the Year four times, has been National Champion a total of 33 times and adds the indoor and outdoor 1000 metres national records to his achievements.  He’s also taken two bronze medals at the World University games.

In July 2019 at the National Championships he took Gold in the 5000 metres and Silver in the 1500 metres (read more here). Two weeks later he ran in the European Team Championships and won the 5000 metres (more here). In February 2020 he ran an indoor 1500 m after training for 3000 and 5000 metres, and still came first and recorded the 3rd fastest time in the world for the season so far (more here).

Turning vegan

Andreas turned vegan in May 2018.  He says it was “ethical and environmental reasons.”

“And of course vegan means vegan” he says.  “There are no exceptions, even though the food options can be really shitty sometimes at the athlete accommodations during events.  I didn’t really think of the health aspects before my transition but now I feel and see that my food choices in general are much healthier even though I still have a sweet tooth.”

Andreas’ thought processes were gradual and he followed the
matter on social media for a while, turning vegetarian for around 18 months
before going full vegan.

”I learned more about dairy and eggs…it was not hard for me to change” he says.

Like many people, Andreas has discovered that turning vegan
can lead to increasing your variety of food not decreasing it.

“I try to eat a wide variety of food and when you become vegan you find out there is such a great range of plant foods you never even tried before.  I try to eat natural foods so I’m not a fan of processed meat or cheese substitutes.

“I would say my main formula is: whole grains, legumes, veggies and nuts and seeds – and all kinds of fruit s for a snack.”

Training

Veganism is still unusual in the circles Andreas moves in,
although there have never been any problems.

“I can see that a lot of people are interested and even ask about it.  Of course it’s still unusual for many people but if the runners can see that the fastest runner in the country in their discipline is eating just plants and performs better, they might take it more seriously.

“So I’m not the type of guy who tries to convince those surrounding me in long talks but try to lead by example and let my performance speak for itself.”

At the time of writing Andreas is aged 30 and has achieved
so much, although he has more plans, including beating his own personal best
times.

“I changed from mainly 1500 m to more 5000 m for the last few years, so there is still a long way for me to go until I eventually run a marathon one day.  Now the big focus is on running fast times to get into a good spot for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.”

Instagram @fast_n_food

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Andreas on Youtube

Andreas on Wikipedia (English)

Andreas on Wikipedia (German)

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