April has been an incredible month for EUAC, with some of our most committed members and cherished alumni taking to the roads for the Paris and London Marathons. The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris was held on 3rd April, while the Virgin Money London Marathon dominated the city's streets last Sunday, on 24th April.
Amid some 57,000 fellow-racers EUAC's Kathrin Klute, and alumni Mayou de Carne, Nick Elvidge and Alex Warna put in heroic debut performances at the Paris Marathon earlier this month; performances which were truly matched by the efforts of Ben Holmes, Nikita Steiner, Ollie Garrod and Joseph Perkins in London last Sunday.
Keen to hear about their experiences, I caught up with the athletes in the aftermath of their races to find out about their training, the infamous 'wall', and their thoughts and feelings on marathon running!
EUAC's former Club Captain, Ollie Garrod said following the London Marathon on Sunday that 'the best thing has to be the crowds. There was an unbelievable atmosphere as always today.' Interested to know more about the race itself, Ollie told me that 'there's a massive amount of camaraderie [...] we all help each other out, with the time on the clock much more important than position.'
Finishing in an impressive 3:34:30 EUAC's Kathrin Klute told me that she swore by her parent's old marathon running book when it came to training. 'It said you should do 4 runs a week including one long run. I sometimes added a track session too. I had no real injuries during the months of training and it was amazing to see the progress. I think the training itself is actually tougher than the marathon - you need real dedication!'
Ollie also stressed the importance of training when I spoke to him. 'In terms of training I'd say anyone can run a marathon. You basically just need to train your body to cope with the time on your legs. So if you're running a 4 hour marathon, you really need to be comfortable going for 3 hour runs with little issue.' His work clearly paid off, finishing in an incredible 2:37:03, not far off some of the elite men, and just 30 seconds from than his PB of 2:36:23!
Another name to watch is EUAC's Ben Holmes who ran the London Marathon last Sunday in what was a joint club record to be proud of. Prior to racing Ben told me that he was 'hoping to go a bit faster than I went last year, which was 2:56:00', and did just that finishing in a fantastic 2:40:02.
Particularly interested in the 'wall' that athletes face, I asked year-abroad student Mayou de Carne what it felt like, and at what point she hit it. 'The wall was at 30km, then I felt fine until the 35th and then it was just horrible. My entire body was hurting [...] I don't think it's possible to more agonising but somehow something keeps you going!' Despite this, Mayou held that she would definitely recommend the experience, 'you just have to train really, really well to be sure you can do it in all conditions.'
Arguably EUAC's most dedicated runner, Nikita Steiner, did not find the race without its difficulties either! Finishing in a brilliant 3:20:24, Nikita said that she was 'seriously struggling. I'm feeling fine now though, some leg pains, but that's to be expected'; pretty impressive considering she was aiming for 3:30:00!
Despite having problems with his sciatic nerve, forcing him to drop out of the race at a heartbreaking 32km in, last year's Chairman Alex Warna said that he would certainly do another marathon next year, focusing on strength training to avoid the possibility of injury. Injury seems an unfortunate, but common theme amongst our athletes, with Mayou and Kathrin both suffering from problems with their knees after the race.
For those of you inspired to lace up your trainers and race the London Marathon next year, the ballot for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon opens from 2nd May and will close on 6th May at 5pm. Others might be keen to combine a trip abroad with their marathon debut, making Europe's selection of top class races an appealing choice...
Berlin Marathon - 25th September
Amsterdam Marathon - 16th October
Barcelona Marathon - 7th March 2017
Dublin Marathon - 30th October 2016