Thursday, February 23, 2012

So how fast can she run?

Chrissie Wellington says she’d like to run a 2:20 something at the London Marathon.

It begs the question just how much faster can one run a standalone marathon in comparison with the one everyone runs to finish an Iron-distance event.

Wellington has consistently posted some of the fastest ever Iron-distance run times for women.

In Roth last July, Chrissie Wellington posted a 2:44:35 marathon split. The previous year she ran 2:48:54. In 2009, she ran 2:57:32.

At Ironman South Africa in April 2011, she posted a 2:52:54 and at Ironman Arizona in November 2010, Wellington ran 2:52:56.

Wellington also has run fast in Kona: 2:52:41 in 2011, 3:03:05 in 2009, 2:57:44 in 2008 and 2:59:57 in 2007. *Mirinda Carfrae holds the run course record on the Big Island with her 2:52:09 last year.

There are two women who offer potential parallels for Wellington, though every athlete is different.

First, there is Desiree Ficker who finished second at Kona in 2006 when she ran 3:11:49. She has a marathon PB of 2:40:28.

Second, there is Joanna Zeiger, the 2008 70.3 World Champion. When she won Ironman Brazil in 2005, she ran 3:16:08. She has a marathon PB of 2:43:48.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Run Chrissie Run

What lies ahead for Chrissie Wellington, athletically speaking, is coming into sharper focus: she’d like to run a sub 2:30 London Marathon.

At least that’s one objective she’s set for herself during the next year or two. Wellington revealed her marathon ambition in an interview this week with the Guardian newspaper ahead of the release of her book, A Life Without Limits.

Exactly how fast Wellington can run a standalone marathon will be a new test for the reigning, and four-time, Ironman world champion.

Last year, 20 women finished Sub 2:30 in London; and two women had 2:30:00 finish times. The winner was Kenya’s Mary Keitany, who crossed the line in 2:19:19 - shy of Paula Radcliffe’s women-only (2:17:42) and mixed (2:15:25) records.

Wellington didn’t say in the interview whether she wanted to win or place in the top 10 or 20 or whatever - simply, she has the time target in mind. While there’s no need to be more specific, Wellington has made winning fast her trademark.

Perhaps more interesting news in the interview, in talking about her day in Kona last October, Wellington told the Guardian that she has “maybe completed the journey”. She added that: “I’m not retiring but I’m going to take a break for a year or two.”

The interview was mostly about the book that Wellington has written, which is set to go on sale in the UK this week and in the US later in the year.

There’s potentially great value in an elite athlete opening up about personal demons, which Wellington apparently has done in terms of an eating disorder and a lack of confidence with which she says she has struggled.

Many elite athletes have inner, hidden battles and when they talk about them, it has a way of making them more of this world and encouraging other people to ask for help.

In his book, I’m Here to Win, Chris McCormack talks about how the sudden death of his best friend and the death of his mother changed his perspective on life and sport. He talks about how he came to realize that he needed something beyond finishing first to drive himself in training and racing.

Wellington has had a similar transformation. She has talked openly for several years about wanting to use her platform to help others, and she says that’s a key focus this year.

I do hope that the book inspires and motivates people to look beyond what they think they can accomplish in sport and life. It’s an important message.

What I’m keen to see in the book is how she relates to her peers within the sport.

I also would like to see at least some detail on the training she’s done the last five years to better understand how she has become the world’s fastest Ironwoman and the level of commitment that she’s put into being the best she can be.

And I’d like to see whether she hints at what would draw her back to the sport. She told the Guardian that she had nothing else to prove. If ‘having to prove herself’ has been a key motivator to train as hard as she has, it is unclear how a break will renew it.

Her decision, at the age of 35, to take one to two years off the sport seems odd. She’s arguably at her peak. Professional athletes have such short careers. There are few athletes who step away and then return at the same level.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Siri swaps athletes

Mirinda Carfrae has ended a seven-year coaching relationship with Siri Lindley ..

Here is the slowtwitch article about Mirinda and Siri.

And Siri has recently - earlier this month - become the coach of Bek Keat.

Chrissie Wellington's new book

Chrissie Wellington's new book is about to be published in the UK. She spoke with the Guardian newspaper about it.