Antwerp Marathon Report

A post here form one of our athletes abroad – James Spence at the recent Antwerp Marathon, enjoy.
After a long run in the snow froze my kneecaps solid, I couldn’t get back on the horse.  I still had 4 weeks to go until the Antwerp marathon and had been training harder than ever before.  I was spent.  In order to keep myself mentally sane I decided to start tapering a month out.  Thinking this would destroy any chance of beating by Berlin time of 3.24, I entered the race with the attitude of getting something around this time.  To get sharper, would enthuse me to continue with the training. 
At the start line, I couldn’t decide which pacemaker to follow, whether that should be the 3.30 balloon and try to beat him in the last ten, or the 3.15 and allow myself to fall away a bit.  I decided on the 3.15 because I know what the last 10 can be like, you always want something up your sleeve, not the other way around. 
As the race got underway, I ran the first 10km with the 3.15 pacemaker, and ran past Sarah at the 4km mark.  I met a guy on the road who was also with the 3.15 balloon, who I had raced a month earlier and I had beaten at the end.  He started to move away from the 3.15 balloon and pick up the pace.  I decided to go with him and follow about a 100m back.  I felt whatever he could do, I could also. 
We ran through the first 20km in 1.29, 10 mins faster than my pace at Berlin.  I was feeling good but had the disaster feeling.  My knees were starting to go, so I started to pop some painkillers. (Bad huh?)  Still, I felt there was no way I could keep up this pace. 
At 24km, I meet up with some Belgian friends who rode and ran next to me, spurring me on, making me feel good.  The wall never came, apart from a 5 second walk at 37km where I looked back along a long stretch of the road to see whether the 3.15 balloon was ever in sight.  It wasn’t.  I crossed the line, Sarah there, in 3.06.  My PB by 18 mins.  I am stoked!  And the passion has come flooding back.

3 thoughts on “Antwerp Marathon Report

  1. Nice work James! That’s a fast time and HUGE PB. Nothing like a good taper I reckon, definitely better to be undertrained but on the start line than being overtrained/injured.

  2. Weapon… Unreal PB. Can’t get over how much you knocked off your previous. Looking forward to teeing up some racing over in October.

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