As I'm far too competitive I've been thinking about where I can place next weekend, so I took the liberty of going through the startlist and comparing the names to last year's top ten. Remarkably, at present, only four of the top ten from 2008 will be toeing the line.
2008 Top 10
1. Rojewski, Przemyslaw. Poland. 2:22:12 RUNNING
2. Gnila, Rafal. Poland. 2:32:52
3. Krombach, Chris. Luxembourg. 2:33:08
4. Krier, Georges. Luxembourg. 2:37:35 RUNNING
5. Rodriguez, Luis. Spain. 2:43:19
6. Inglebert, Alain. Luxembourg. 2:43:57
7. Gilbert, Michel. Belgium. 2:44:22
8. Leus, Frankie. Belgium. 2:47:22 RUNNING
9. Muller, Frank. Luxembourg. 2:52:17
10. Serafini, Jean-Pierre. Luxembourg. 2:52:41 RUNNING
What does this tell me? Well it's useful in assuring me that winning the Echternach Marathon is off the cards, unless the Polish guy is in seriously bad shape. 2:22 is well out of reach so it looks like he'll be disappearing up the road from the first mile. Good to know as now I won't go off with the leader thinking I can hang on!
With any luck I'll be running alongside a local man, Georges Krier (pictured), for the most part. 2:37 pace is what I want to be running at the 20 mile mark (2 hours), so if I can hang in with him it will be a good indicator. Doing a bit of research I found out he ran 1:14:36 a couple of weeks ago in the 'Route du Vin Half Marathon', so he's in decent shape again.
Looking through the photos from last year's race I noticed that Jean-Pierre Serafini went off pretty hard as he was shot alongside both Krier and Krombach, who took third. I'm sure he'll probably have a similar mindset and will be in the mix early on so he's one to watch.
One man I'm looking forward to seeing is Frankie Leus from Belgium. A quick google search brought up his rather remarkable blog... the guy's already run eight marathons in 2009, including three in September and one last weekend. What an animal! I can only presume he fuels himself on a diet of Stella Artois and chocolate sprinkles. Even more impressive are the times he runs. Every marathon in 2009 has been run between 2:42 and 2:54. Eight minutes either way, probably depending on the course elevation. If I do start to slip back I'll be sure to see this Belgian engine chugging past me! He obviously likes Echternach as well, he set his personal best there in 2005 with 2:37:02, great going.
Anyway, enough about the competition, at the moment I'm still rather worried about my right foot. I ran on it for 40 minutes yesterday and although I felt ok, it still twinged and complained. I was able to get through the run fine, but asking it to keep going for a further two hours right now would be putting it into the unknown. I'm applying traumeel three times a day and taking 800mg of ibuprofen with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've iced it a couple of times as well - the benefit of having an ice cube maker installed with the freezer. I'm confident it will show signs of improvement in the next few days, but it means that I'll be staying on the cross trainer and in the pool and not risking it on the roads. Hardly ideal preparation, but this whole marathon hasn't been very well prepared, so in the grand scheme of things what does it matter?
Come next Sunday when I line up alongside everyone else in Echternach I know I'm at a disadvantage. I haven't trained properly, I have had a sore foot, I will have been travelling the whole previous day and I won't have slept much because of jet lag. But I'm going out there to have fun, run fast and see what I can do. I have no expectations, so I have nothing to lose...
... but a good result would be nice, of course.
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