Iron Woman: Monika from Bayer

He is a great swimmer, runs fast and can easily cover 100 kilometers on a bike. She calls herself an amateur, despite the fact that sport has accompanied her from an early age. Brave, professional, well-organized, and very nice – that’s how her teammates describe her in a few words. Does sport, which is the greatest passion, require a lot of sacrifices, reveals Monika Ożarowska, Operations Manager at Bayer’s Service Centre in Gdańsk, the protagonist of the 10 Magnificent campaign at Olivia Business Centre.

More of a skier or a triathlete? How did your sporting adventure begin?

Parents are very sporty. Mom has a swimming record and the minimum qualification for the Munich Olympics. My dad was a high jumper, they are both graduates of the Academy of Physical Education and Physical Education, so the spirit of sport accompanied me from an early age. I didn’t become a professional because my parents showed me a completely different idea of a professional career.

A high-level amateur?

An enthusiast who can play basketball and do well in the pool. I swam under the watchful eye of my mother’s coach, and I learned my skills on the slopes from my father, who is a ski instructor. I’ve been practicing these disciplines at the same time and I have to admit that my heart belongs to both. If I had to choose, there would be a dilemma (laughs).

Triathlon turned out to be the icing on the cake?

It came when I was already working. It was supposed to be an escape from responsibilities, an antidote to stress and an idea for spending time actively. It turned out to be available – there are a lot of competitions in which I can take part, systematically equipping myself with equipment.

Will there be a gap in your schedule?

Indeed, triathlon is a very demanding discipline. When planning races, I don’t rush into the sun with a hoe, because I am aware of my priorities. Luckily for me, a lot has changed. Initially, the competition took place over long distances of the Iron Man formula, now the competitors get a number of possibilities, such as “half”, “1/8”, or “sprint”. This allows you to prepare without sacrificing your work and private life.

Fig. Private archive of Monika Ożarowska and (second from the left) author: Zbigniew Czajka

How much time do you devote to training?

I train three or four times a week to prepare for shorter distances. If I want to fight for a better result, I have to intensify my work. Then some of the household chores are taken over by an understanding husband. Thanks to this, I can devote my afternoons to a hobby that takes me about an hour and a half. It gets more intense in May and June, then I train up to 6 times a week.

Which triathlon discipline is your Achilles heel?

Running (laughs). I feel like I have the biggest problems with it, probably a little bit because I don’t like it very much. I treat it as the most difficult discipline and I always have the feeling that the worst is yet to come.

Jumping into the water together is not a problem?

No, probably because I was “raised in the water”. I like swimming, I’ve spent a lot of hours in the pool, and I have a house by the lake, so training in an open and deep space is not scary. Similarly, the lack of a specific goal in such a swim is not a problem for me. The only nuisance during a joint start is the squeeze that immediately forms. People are pushing each other, pushing their way to the front of the pack. For me, the salvation is to start from the water, then I very quickly drift away from weaker rivals.


I’m at the forefront of swimming, but let’s not forget that the competition ends with the finish line of the race. I’m not afraid if someone in the process swims over or under me. I don’t feel that if I have to spend more time in the water, I won’t be able to cope. It’s worse if the start is about running up.


Weaker swimmers will be able to run into the water faster, there is more jostling then. When we start from the water, I automatically get in the front row and swim away quite quickly. At the competition in Gdynia it’s a bit worse – you have to run up, and as I mentioned, that’s not my strong point. If I fall behind, I have to push through the weaker swimmers.

A fan club at work? Do they know what you do?

They know and actively participate in sports life. We are very active as a company, as a Bayer Life Team we take part in various road races. Last year we raced in Runmagedon and in the business relay. From this year, we have joined triathlons, we will start on the start lists as a company individually and in relay races.

Where will we see Bayer’s representatives?

I will compete individually at the sprint distance in Gdynia, and in Warsaw at the Olympic distance in the company relay. I was thinking about the Polish Championships in Susz, but the autumn and winter preparations did not quite go as I would like.

Are there attempts to go the full distance and the title of the iron woman?

Not yet. Proportionally, the swimming, which is my favorite part, is the least. Compared to a marathon that you have to run, it has less value. It’s more like the Olympic distance, there’s more water there compared to the other disciplines.

A long vacation ahead?

There’s no need (laughs). I often extend my weekends in order to train harder. I feel like I’m ready this season!

Interviewed by: Dagmara Rybicka, Communication Department, Olivia Business Centre

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