Stefan ran: 2:53:52 (chip time). ...

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  • 26 miles
  • 02:54 time
  • 06:37 pace
  • 2368 calories
  •  
  •  
  • 0 ft climb
  • 0 max hr
  • 0 avg hr
    • Currently /5 Effort.
    effort /5
great Berlin Marathon 42.2 km 02:54 06:37 pace

2:53:52 (chip time).

Today I ran a good marathon. Even a very good one. Not a perfect one, but I'm getting there :) Not fast, but quite fast. And a PR by 4 minutes.

The goal today was to go out and.... see how it felt. And 2:52:30 pace felt about right. In my dreams I was in sub-2:50 shape, but the reality is I'm not quite there yet. So I played it smart and kept it as close to 4'05"/km as possible. I'm glad I did.
After a slow start (stuck behind the 3 hour pace group for the first 2kms) I found a groove and run with another runner I'd linked up with in the start section - a Brit called John who had similar goals. We ran well together up to km 23, at which point he felt strong and pushed ahead, deciding he would try for a big negative split.
I had a few rough patches here and there -- an annoying side stitch from km18-28, which made it feel harder than it should have been at points. Went through the half at 1:26:10, which is about 20 seconds slower than my half PR, feeling relaxed but annoyed by the stitch.
After km28 I was just taking it one km at a time.... feeling strong at points, fading at other moments. Reminding myself to run tall, trying to keep the cadence high, trying not to slot in behind others and allow the fade to take over. The nice thing is that at 4 minutes per kilometre the race goes by quickly!
On the final straight I ran hard to get under 2:54. So it ended up as a one-and-a-half minute positive split. I still need to harden up a bit psychologically (these fades are mental too...), but I learned a lot today.
Still, in the broader scheme of things, I'm over the moon: I started this year hoping to break 3 hours and I'm now flirting with the low 2:50's. This is a decent place to be after just 19 months of being a runner and having just turned 40 :)

With all those details out of the way, let me also say this: as marathons go, Berlin is FANTASTIC. The course is brilliant: long flat stretches, easy to find a groove, perfect organisation, amazing city, FANTASTIC crowd support for the entire route. I would run this one again and again, no hesitation. By far the best marathon I've run.

Oh yeah, and this morning I got to the starting corralls nice and early, and bumped into a work colleague (a photographer) based in our Berlin office who was covering the elites. I was able to join him in the elite section and had a brief chat with Geoffrey Mutai (big smile, shy, lovely man... very short and thin as a toothpick too!!), and also did a short warm up jog with him and other elites + pacers in the Tiergarten -- just a couple of hundred metres at 8:30/mile pace. Amazing!

Final thought: there are few things in life that make you smile like a well-run marathon :D

  • Mel Z.
    Mel Z.

    That's awesome!!! Well done, I spring, such a great race!! Didn't know you'd only been Running for 19 months! Yay for just turned 40, me too! Perfect age for marathoning. Great race report, awesome effort! Big double high five!!! (2nd in age group ;-) )

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Natasha H.
    Natasha H.

    Only 'quite fast' ;) that's what happens when you rub shoulders with the elites, I guess! Sounds like a well executed run, hopefully makes up a bit for your painful half earlier in the year. Nice work, you continue to inspire!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Mel Z.
    Mel Z.

    And Stefan, do you have kids? The only comparison is that moment after the baby comes out. ;-) amazing to warm up and meet Mutai!!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @Mel Z. - yes, 2 boys... although my wife did all the hard work, I just watched ;)

    about 2 years ago Like

  • Joe O.
    Joe O.

    Brilliant stuff, well done

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Susan P.
    Susan P.

    Great Job! Congratulations

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Sarah G.
    Sarah G.

    Great and smart performance, Stefan! Very cool that you got to chat with Geoffrey Mutai! You should be very proud today!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Cesar G.
    Cesar G.

    Great work and report!! You have a lot of room for improvement yet!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Lynn
    Lynn

    Congrats on running an amazing marathon Stefan! I loved your race report too, it sounds like you had such a great experience all around (except that side stitch). I love that you got to meet Mutai and do a little pre-race warm up with the elites - right where you belong. :) Congrats Stefan, very very happy for you!!! You ran a smart race and now you can enjoy another goal accomplished! :)

    about 2 years ago Like3 people

  • Chris S.
    Chris S.

    Congrats Stefan! Your marathoning journey is a great one to follow! Keep up the consistent great work!

    about 2 years ago Like2 people

  • Miguel R.
    Miguel R.

    Massive, huge congrats Stefan! Great to see all the smart and hard training paid off today. In my book you are elite

    about 2 years ago Like2 people

  • Brendan
    Brendan

    Well done. Sounds like a real all round experience! Sub 2:50 isn't that far away I suspect. Enjoy the recovery.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stuart
    Stuart

    That's a FAST marathon. You are FAST. You are methodical, and performed your art almost perfectly today. Congratulations Stefan--really quite a feat, and echo your sentiments on the Berlin Marathon: great city. great people. great course. My only complaint is that it was PACKED the entire race and spent a lot of time stuck behind the masses--weaving my way through. I think I may have graduated from the back coral.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Fred B.
    Fred B.

    Great race Stefan. Congrats on the PR. Sounds like a great race!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Andrew A.
    Andrew A.

    This may sound weird, but my first thought upon waking up this morning was, "I wonder how Stefan did today?" What a great result! Huge congratulations, my friend. What a pleasure to watch.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • David P.
    David P.

    Congrats Stefan. That was a solid race and a nice PR. The marathon is so tough because it doesn't take much to fade and lose just a couple of minutes which is a lot to us. For the short period of time that you have been running you should be proud. That was a very solid performance.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @Lynn - running with the elites.... makes you feel FAT!!!!! :)

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Blessing M.
    Blessing M.

    seriously Stefan, this is amazing. I am so happy for you. You did so well, you Stud!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Jirnsum
    Jirnsum

    @Stefan, just fat, or also extremely tall and overly pale?

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @Jirnsum - that too. But mostly just fat. Obese even. Seriously, these Kenyan elites just inspire total awe!

    about 2 years ago Like

  • Cathal D.
    Cathal D.

    u the man!!!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Marcus H.
    Marcus H.

    Well done! What a great race!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Jolanda V.
    Jolanda V.

    You've come a long way! Congrats!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Greg S.
    Greg S.

    Wow, look at all these comments already. I do think you are physically closer to 2:50-2:52 but the mental game is a challenge and especially facing side stitches for such a long period - a great performance with all that, hope you told Mutai you'll be back to chase him down next year!

    about 2 years ago Like3 people

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @Greg S. - you're so right on the mental game!!! Trouble is I hate pain and have to constantly fight that temptatioon to cruise it in. Thankfully we get smarter each time.... but it's a slow process!

    about 2 years ago Like

  • Keith S.
    Keith S.

    Brilliant Stefan more to come here I think, rest well and enjoy the comments, your prep was key never mind your talent:-)

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • David P.
    David P.

    The problem with the marathon is that if you miss a mark by 2 minutes it is equivalent to missing a 5k target by 14 seconds. I would argue that it is less then 14 seconds as there is a lot more time and distance for things to go wrong. Besides, you can re-race a 5k the following weekend. I always thought that a marathon within a few minutes of goal is a success and it could be easy to miss a goal by 20 or 30 minutes if things go wrong.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Steve T.
    Steve T.

    First, huge congrats on the PR!! Some amazing speed, Stefan. Secondly, I'm way jealous of the meeting and running with Mutai and company. Some of us would pay for that privilege!! What a great all around experience for you and a testament to your training plan. Please keep your promise of taking tomorrow off!! BTW - This damn thing wouldn't allow me to post a motivator.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @david - right. When you're racing close to your mental/physical limit then it's' a fine line between success and disaster. Today I saw a runner flat on the ground with cramp at km 41. So when you get those wobblies in the last 10k the temptation is to back off. On top of which the brain is low on carbs. Staying sharp was my big challenge!

    about 2 years ago Like

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    @steve T. - thanks! I'm taking a WEEK off :)

    about 2 years ago Like

  • Malcolm M.
    Malcolm M.

    You're a stud now, you do know this right? It is hard to find a nicer and more down to earth guy on here than you. Your story, dedication and support for others is outstanding. The word 'inspiring' is used way to often for sub standard accomplishments but today you deserve that tag more than I can express. Well F**king DONE!!!!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Premshree P.
    Premshree P.

    Fantastic job today Stefan, congrats on a PR! 18 weeks of training, distilled into this one day -- and what a day! Safe travels back, and I look forward to drawing inspiration from your next cycles. :)

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Thomas S
    Thomas S

    Congrats Stefan, nailed it! Enjoy the rest week; it's well deserved!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Tim D.
    Tim D.

    Great job! hope to be there one day. Well executed plan!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Patrick P.
    Patrick P.

    Great job, Stefan. I ran 3:40:06 in Keene, not what I was looking for but still a PR.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Kristin
    Kristin

    You are amazing!!! Fantastic race! So excited for you! Such a huge accomplishment for someone who has only been running for 19 months!! Wow!! Meeting Mutai and warming up with the elites must have been the highlight of your day (along with your new PR)!!!! Congrats, safe travels back to Paris and ENJOY your much deserved week OFF!!! :))

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Trailplodder
    Trailplodder

    Congrats, well done!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Ronnie B.
    Ronnie B.

    Wow! Smoking time Stefan! Congrats on your race. You should be really Proud..

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Patrick P.
    Patrick P.

    Having taken the time to fully read your report (I was in the car on my way to my son's soccer and still in a post-race haze), I'm just amazed. I didn't realize you haven't even been running for 2 years yet, and to have only a 90 second positive split (mine are usually about 10 minutes thus far). Love that you got to warm up with the elites, too. Fantastic job, and thanks again for all the support.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Amanda M.
    Amanda M.

    Whoa.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Tim M.
    Tim M.

    I already congratulated you but after reading this I'm even more excited and inspired. This is not even close to the same runner that I knew before the Paris marathon just 6 short months ago. Enjoy this one!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Patricia R.
    Patricia R.

    Amazing Stefan! Can't even imagine running that FAST! You finished strong----you crushed it! Well don!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Jean-Christophe S.
    Jean-Christophe S.

    Génial. Ton investissement paie et ça c'est extra.
    Tu as déjà fait New York ? Combien de plus que sur un marathon comme Paris ou Berlin là bas tu penses ?

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Paul S.
    Paul S.

    Well done Stefan!! Sounds like you had the perfect race day...it'll never be perfect and yes the mental aspect is the only thing probably that you can most easily conquer as the physical sounds like you're there already! Keep pushing...never give up..and believe in yourself! Great job!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Danny J.
    Danny J.

    Great work Stefan! It's nearly impossible to walk away from a Marathon without thinking of something that could have gone better. Heck, I usually finish and say to myself "Never again", but then 10 steps later, "Hmm, if I do this or that next time, maybe...." Enjoy a nice break and I look forward to your next 10KM quest!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Mark W.
    Mark W.

    What a great race & write up Stefan! I didn't realize just how short a time you have been at this. Your accomplishments are amazing for really still being "new" to the sport! I'm excited to see where you go from here. Fantastic job in Berlin! Big congrats to you!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Stefan
    Stefan

    Thanks everyone, am overwhelmed by all the support and kindness!!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Kent V.
    Kent V.

    Late to the party but a massive congrats to you for running a great marathon. A well deserved rest and then the next training cycle begins :) with new improved knowledge!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Edward P.
    Edward P.

    Congrats Stefan. Great race and report. You're making me think about running Berlin some day.

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Huy T P.
    Huy T P.

    Congratulations on finishing this race, nice and fast!

    about 2 years ago Like1 person

  • Darren C. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    Wow Stefan. Wow. That made me smile too.

    about 2 years ago

  • Jirnsum
    Jirnsum You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    Awesome! Congrats on the PR! Amazing day!

    about 2 years ago

  • Bernard B.
    Bernard B. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Just great, Stefan.

    about 2 years ago

  • Jim M.
    Jim M. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Phenomenal Stefan. Really, really awesome!

    about 2 years ago

  • Salty O.
    Salty O. Congrats
    Congrats:

    Awesome!

    about 2 years ago

  • Brent P. Congrats
    Congrats:

    Nice job Stefan! Vous êtes une source d'inspiration

    about 2 years ago

  • Run-O
    Run-O You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    So happy for you, Stefan. You did it! A new PB, a great performance. Congrats.

    about 2 years ago

  • Mike P.
    Mike P. Congrats
    Congrats:

    Amazing run! You're a really smart runner holding back like you did. Terrific race and report. There really is nothing to those elites in terms of size. Recover well!

    about 2 years ago

  • Jecoursparis
    Jecoursparis Nice Job
    Nice Job:

    Bravo!!!

    about 2 years ago

  • Brandon
    Brandon Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Congratulations on a great marathon and a new PR! Smart training and racing yielded a fantastic result! Enjoy your recovery Stefan :). Well done!

    about 2 years ago

  • Shaye
    Shaye Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Amazing! Congratulations on your PB!!!!! Enjoy the feeling of success!!!!!!! I am so happy for you - you totally rocked Berlin.

    about 2 years ago

  • Jeremy G.
    Jeremy G. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    Wow, what a day for you! Congrats on your well-deserved success - you've definitely earned it. It's been a pleasure watching you chase this goal. Enjoy your week off! Can't wait to see what's next for you.

    about 2 years ago

  • Christine S. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    What an amazing day. I'm totally inspired just reading about your experience - a huge congratulations and thanks for sharing it so eloquently!

    about 2 years ago

  • Richard G.
    Richard G. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    congratulations Stefan on a well planned and executed marathon

    about 2 years ago

  • Jerome C.
    Jerome C. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    Fantastic! Just to know you started running 19 months ago, that's incredible. I always look forward to your next report, it never disappoints. Keep going strong and FAST!

    about 2 years ago

  • Mike S.
    Mike S. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Wow what a great race! amazing where you have come and proof that your hard work pays off!

    about 2 years ago

  • Hannah
    Hannah Congrats
    Congrats:

    I'm sooooooo happy for you! I was thinking about your race the week before and the whole Sunday! :D and you did it again, new PR!

    about 2 years ago

  • Nick R.
    Nick R. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    What a fantastic run! I can't believe you almost PR'd your half-marathon in a FULL marathon! Amazing.

    about 2 years ago

  • Angel M.
    Angel M. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    What a nice race and time. Confortable Sub 3H GREAT!!! CONGRATULATIONS STEFAN

    about 2 years ago

  • Nikolay N.
    Nikolay N. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    So all the dust I ate was from you?!! You are a ... BEAST! Congrats, very well done!

    about 2 years ago

  • Levi
    Levi Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    WOW, I was off the DM for a while, I read this just now. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE BLAST !!! Well done ma' man. Great fought battle and the winner is you.

    about 2 years ago

  • Christian F.
    Christian F. You're an Inspiration
    You're an Inspiration:

    Awesome and inspiring!
    Congrats!

    about 2 years ago

  • John B. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Congrats Stefan! It was a perfect day for marathoning. I had my "best" marathon too!

    about 2 years ago

  • Doug K.
    Doug K. Great Performance
    Great Performance:

    Oh no. I missed this. Great race and glad you enjoyed it!

    about 2 years ago