I’ve got sneaky plans for the Druiven Marathon, February 25. See, at this moment I feel good. Strong, so the sneaky plan is to run this trail marathon faster than my debut marathon in 1993. It does mean I have to be faster than the 4 hours and 35 minutes I ran in the Rotterdam Marathon.
At least, that’s what I remember as my finish time back in the days. I can’t find it anymore. I’ve tried to google it, but no result. For the young ones reading this, the World Wide Web wasn’t publicly accessible until 1994. That’s how long ago I ran my first marathon.
Nature marathon Tessenderlo
Still, I think I should be able to do it. October last year I ran the Nature marathon Tessenderlo in Belgium. I finished in 4 hours, 38 minutes and 1 second. At the end of that race I had to walk a couple of times. I am stronger now. I’ve got a bigger engine thanks to all the long, slow running.
What will be a challenge is the altitude. We have to conquer 548 metres. That’s not a lot on 42 kilometres and 195 metres, but it’s almost double the amount of elevation in Rotterdam. On top of that, in Rotterdam the climbs are gradual, as you have to run up and down the bridge. At the Druiven Marathon they look mean; short, but steep. But I’ll admit, that’s how they look on paper. I don’t have the gpx-file yet.
The second challenge is the surface we’ll be running on. Rotterdam is asphalt, that’s fast. It might not feel that way, but you’re actually bouncing on the road. More than 70 percent of the trail of the Druiven Marathon is off road. Depending on the condition of the trail it might be fast or very slow. Lately I’ve just been running in mud, that mostly felt like glue. My feet would land, but not lift off again.
This is not me coming up with all kinds of excuses already. This is just trail running. Mud, rain, snow, ice, it all makes a big difference. But still, I want to go for it. Not only will it be fun to beat my younger self – my 31 years younger self – it will also be a confirmation that I’m on the right track. So far the Houffa Trail was my best ultra till date. That means I’m getting better at longer distances. If I can beat my Rotterdam time, it will also mean I’m getting faster. That wouldn’t be bad for an old guy.