When asked what is the most pain he has ever endured during a race, Andi Boecherer has little hesitation in nominating the World Championship in Hawaii in 2011.
It had proved to be his breakthrough season, with three 70.3 victories (at Switzerland, European Championship Wiesbaden and Cancun) and second place at IRONMAN South Africa. This gave him the confidence he could compete with the best over the full distance.
And so to that Kona race, where everything went perfectly to plan in the swim, the bike and a large portion of the run, before he "exploded" at 32km.
"I wanted the top 10 so badly so I went all in," he explains. "It's a good thing I don't remember the last 30 minutes due to amnesia!"
Despite the pain, his battling qualities secured eighth place, and he was on his way.
Andi had started out in mountain biking, cycling everywhere as a child, and the bike leg remains a strength to this day. But he also swam, which was where he met some triathletes and was soon “hooked" on the sport. His first tri was in 2002 and by 2008 he had turned pro at the age of 24.
By far the most challenging spell of his career came in 2014 when he was hit by a car when out training on the bike in St Lucia. The recovery process was a complex one, so much so that he admits: "I didn't know if I still had it in me”.
Any doubts were answered in May 2015 at 70.3 Aix-en-Provence when Andi had to dig deep on the run to hold off compatriot Boris Stein for the victory.
That opened the floodgates, he collected three more wins that year (70.3 St Polten, 70.3 Cozumel and Challenge Heilbronn, which was also the German Championship) and finished sixth at the 70.3 World Championship.
He calls compatriot Sebastian Kienle one of his heroes, and he was runner-up to 'Sebi' at IRONMAN Frankfurt in 2016 with his first sub-eight hour time (7:53:40, which he'd reduce to 7:46:07 the following year when again second to Kienle).
"I love mathematics" he says of the subject of his Bachelor's degree, and his wins have now added up into double figures. They include a hat-trick at his favourite race of 70.3 Pays d'Aix and a first victory over the full distance at Italy Emilia-Romagna in 2018.