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Frankfurt Marathon 2016

"When you run a marathon, you run against the distance, not other runners and not against the time.” - Haile Gebrselassie

The weekend was looking good, it was set to be “perfect running weather”, the course is fast, flat, conducive and our athletes were up for it!

Marathon training is demanding, a lot of hours and miles are put into it. Whether that’s to PB, debut the marathon or to finish pain free. 16+ weeks of early mornings, late nights and gruelling sessions. Our coaches made sure our athletes were race ready and eager to start alongside the 15,000+ other participants. We had a total of 12 athletes from RunningWithUs running the Frankfurt Marathon this year. All with different abilities and different goals in mind. Head coach Nick Anderson flew out the day before, organised a group meal prior to race day and settled any last minute nerves or questions our athletes might have.

An early start on marathon morning. Nick was stood at 30k waiting for our athletes to pass. He chooses this distance when coaching on route in a marathon as it’s when the marathon is at it’s most difficult. He believes this is the true half way mark for any marathon runner. It’s been famously said before that it’s where the race really begins. 18 miles ran and 8 to go. The first half is done yet the second half is on going. It’s also a quieter zone, a distance on the course where it’s not as busy with spectators, where runners can start to feel tired and isolated. Where fatigue hits and the wall starts to appear. However with Nick stood there he is able to remind the athletes what they need to do to stay focused, what they need to do in these last 8 miles and more importantly to remind them that they can!

First home finishing 9th female in 02:32:05 - Tracy Barlow. A PB of over a minute since her last marathon in London 2016. She was up against some top names on the start line. Ethiopian Mamitu Daska Molisa who won in 02:25:27, followed by German athlete Fate Tola in 2nd place. Fellow GB runner Charlotte Purdue was another Brit alongside Tracy on the start line. Tracy is a very dedicated determined athlete of who has made fantastic progress over the last coupe of years. She has gone from a club runner to one of the top marathon runners in Europe. Her future is excited, her times are improving, she’s one to watch!

Julia Davis - Could be found on the course smiling the whole way round! She loved it, embraced it and smashed it in a time of 02:39:31 (a personal best for Julia). This moves Julia into the top 10 females in the UK. Such a brilliant time to achieve after a period of injury and illness. With every session and race Julia is growing in confidence, speed and passion - RWU are lucky to gain such a talent to the squad.

We are looking forward to seeing what she can do in future races - smiling still of course! :)

Nick Twomey - Coached by Nick ran a brilliant time of 02:41:41. With an interrupted build up in training meant unfortunately missing out in the Berlin Marathon with his training not at consistent as we wanted. However to finish Frankfurt and just miss a PB by 6 seconds deserves credit where it’s due! Its not easy standing on a start line knowing training could of potentially been better. If Nick has a consistent 6-12 months of training a PB in 2017 is definetely possible - Well done!

Pavel Smirnov - 02:43:02 with a 7 minute PB! Pavel had been travelling several places such as China and Israel on business recent weeks prior to the marathon. Long runs and quality sessions became difficult to fit in at times. However it proves with being flexible in training, consistent in long runs, results can happen and Pavel has shown that!

Axel Manzano - 02:44:16. Coached by Tom, Axel took 45 minutes off his previous PB. After an ambitious first 10k Axel was on target to run 2:33. After realising he over cooked in the first part he luckily rescued it and held on to achieve a 2:44. Axel has been working with Tom for exactly 12 months and in that time has gone from 85 minute half to 74mins, 38mins to 33mins in a 10k and 18:30 to a low 16mins for 5k! Axel trains hard and races even harder proven by quality results.

Steve Watmough - 02:44:33. An athlete who has been coached by Nick for the last 8 years. Steve managed to take two minutes off his PB that was set 6 years ago. Steve now 54 is at his peak in training. 18 months of solid hard work not just running but also in the gym building on his strength and conditioning has complimented his training and racing very well. Currently ranked top 10 in the vet 50's with his marathon time means a similar time next year will rank Steve top three in V55 category.

Will Rawling - 02:50:02. When you spend most of your life in the air rather than on the ground running it can be difficult… BA Pilot Will trained very well in in the lead up to the marathon, kept his long runs consistent and managed to take off 7 minutes from his previous marathon time. Will has managed to train for a marathon whilst spending most of his time in different continents - Will proves it can be done, you just have to make time for it! Brilliant Will, well deserved.

Matthew Walker - 02:57:03. Cracking the 3 hour barrier for the first time Matthew had a fantastic run, and a big PB doing credit to an incredibly consistent training period despite a lot of life changes and taking a lovely, confidence building jump towards even faster times ahead… next stop Boston!

Fabian Thehos - 03:07:04. This is a well deserved time after several years battling for a PB Fabian gave it his all. A knee injury and constant niggles occurring has made it difficult for Fabian to sustain pace at times. With help from Doctor Noel Pollock his target of 3:10 looked doable, he set off with an aim and then some! Finishing across the line with 3 minute inside his target time, Fabian raced perfectly.

Donato Esposito - 03:15:44 whilst holding a GoPro the whole way round - Brilliant! Raining money for Cancer Research Donato went and smashed a 30 minute PB. Such a talented runner, Donato produced a brilliant personal best and a video of the race to go with it. From running 3:35 in Brighton to then taking off 30 mins in 6 months is something to really shout about. Donato runs 3-4 times a week, high mileage means niggles occur, so he has found the perfect balance with the amount of running and cross training he does. A pleasure to coach, big well done. Check out Donato’s video of the race below.

Fiona MacRitchie - 03:14:55. Fiona has been battling an injury for last two years which has meant that racing hasn’t been a priority. She went out respectfully, got to Coach Nick at 30k for a quick hug, stretch and pep talk. With wise words from Nick to stop every 3k to stretch out the locked quads allowed her to bring it home with a PB. Mind over matter, she was strong enough to finish so she did.

Elite Athlete Aaron Scott unfortunately wasn’t able to finish the race after waking up on marathon morning with a stomach bug. Although he still started, he was to follow advice to run the first 10k and to then drop out. This emphasises the highs and lows that any runner can experience in the marathon. Once Aaron has made a full recovery, we will make a decision whether to race another marathon at the end of November.

A big thank you to our athletes for working so hard, making us coaches proud and delivering some fantastic results. A huge thanks to Bettina for her support and brilliant photography skills over the weekend also.

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