From the sidelines – Copenhagen Marathon

May 22, 2011

Although I’ve run two marathons I have never actually witnessed one from the sidelines before today. However, today was Copenhagen Marathon day, and I didn’t have anything else in my calendar, so decided to head into town and provide some moral support to the 12,000 or so runners.

It really was a bit of an eye opener! For the most part when you are running yourself you are pretty focused on your own drama and otherwise on the backs of those in front of you. It is a totally different story when you witness it from the sidelines and get to see the participants face-on and also get more of a big picture overview of the whole thing, from the leaders to those bringing up the rear….

I also learned some things that I think I can use when I run my next marathon on 25 September.

One of the main things that struck me was how many runners seemed totally tense and stressed – their faces and their bodies – even the first time we saw them at the 6km mark! There were only a very few at that point who looked relaxed and as if they were actually enjoying themselves, and if you don’t feel relaxed and comfortable at 6km I dread to think how you feel at 36! We saw some runners again at 29 km, some at 32 and some at 36 and it was the same story. Some were totally closed in on themselves and but others, although clearly tired, were smiling or waving to the spectators and you could see that they reaction they got back gave them even more energy. Interestingly it was the same pattern whether they were fast runners going for under 3 hours or those looking at a time of more than 4 hours 30.

I have no idea how I have looked during the two marathons I ran, but I have decided that when I run in Berlin in September I am going to make a conscious effort to relax and smile and interact with the spectators. I suspect that if you force yourself to do that even when you feel overwhelmed, then you will feel better and get more energy. Hmm, a bit like getting through chemo I guess! But then again didn’t I previously liken getting through chemo to running a marathon????

I was also very inspired by spotting two people that I either know or know of today. Both fitted into the category of those who were smiling and interacting with the public and both were totally inspirational for different reasons.

One was my trainer, Bjarke Kobberø, from Running26 who was running his 4th marathon and had decided to experiment a bit by limiting the amount of training he did, eating a weird diet, running in a bright pink all-in-one and, most shocking of all, running the marathon today without a watch! I saw him 4 times and each time he was smiling and relaxed and still managed to run in a time of 2:43:27. Wow! Bjarke is a fantastic role model, though I’m hoping he isn’t going to force me to try any of his experiments in my training (OK, the pink outfit was quite cute…though not that practical if you need to pee…..).

The other inspiration was a blogger I follow called Sealegsgirl (have no idea what she is really called!) who I spotted at the 29km mark with her very cute pregnant tummy out in front. Yes, she was running the marathon today even though she is expecting a baby at the end of July! I have no idea what time she finished in (if she finished) since I don’t know her name, but she was looking happy and relaxed when we saw her – an achievement in itself! Go Sealegsgirl! You are really cool!

Well, if I hadn’t been looking forward to Berlin Marathon before I would be now! I don’t understand how anyone can watch a marathon without being inspired to start training for one! Gosh, I can’t wait until 25 September!

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2 Responses to “From the sidelines – Copenhagen Marathon”

  1. Sealegsgirl Says:

    Hey Kirsten

    What a cool post. I am so glad that I was smiling when you saw me ;). I actually really did have a great time and remember you. I think you yelled out “Sea Legs Girl!” And I recognize you from your picture. Thanks so much for the support. I guess I could add that I DID finish in 4:54 (which I guess you just read on my blog) and my real name is Tracy Høeg. Thank you so much for the support on Sunday!!!


  2. […] was Copenhagen Marathon on Sunday and once again I was in spectating. It was extra special this year as one of my friends and my brother-in-law […]

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