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It’s all about experience in endurance sports – especially in the king of all running distances – the almighty 42.195 Kilometers – the marathon.

In my first marathon as a pure ‘runner’ (I prefer to call it jogger) I had to learn that the hard way.

My preparation was very close to call it perfect. With tough but necessary workouts Uli guided me in a perfect manner. He helps me a lot to get the transfer from triathlon to running only. Thanks very much for that “dicker”. I was never really used to go out with a high speed and try to hold the pace for a certain time. It’s different to triathlon, and I still learn that. Pure running is different, exciting though

Race morning in Rotterdam started of with the sound of the helicopter waiting for the race to start. Pretty early he was cruising over the city and woke me up. My hotel was roughly 10 minutes walk away from the start line in the center of Rotterdam. I had the usual bite to eat and went back to
bed afterwards for a quick nap. Then it was time for me to leave. More then 6500 people got guided around perfectly. The change section was my target where I did my final preparation before I made the way to my start section. With my start spot I was pretty happy. Straight up
front it was no hussle at all. The top field was at the left side of the street and my section was just beside that on the other side. It was just amazing to hit the road towards the famous Erasmus bridge. The crowd support was class and the fire ships beside the bridge made the first few kilometers something special with their fountains.

The game plan was to go out with a safe “4 minutes per k” pace. I stopped every k to track and check myself. I had the fear of going out too fast. My search for kilometer markers was without any joy for the first few minutes. Still I don’t know if there weren’t any or if I just didn’t spot them. Anyway, I was hitting kilometer 4 slightly over pace. I slowed down and got caught by a good group. As the wind came up a bit I saw my position in the back of that pack. There as well was jos. He seemed to me very reliable and after a quick chat we were a team. He was also opting for a 4 minutes pace. With plus-minus 2 seconds we were hitting the markers. It was perfect for me to run with him. Groups passed us and after minutes we got them again and so on. Our speed was always on target. The route made it’s way out of the inner city. Still people everywhere. Noisy support all the way. True fun to run. Also the weather was on our side and so we had the cruise control

Another brilliant thing was the drink system. They handed out water in cups with sponges. Really good. Absolutely the best thing I have ever got in a race. After we passed an aid station at kilometer 20 jos turned around and told me that he had problems with his hamstring. He can’t hold the speed as the pain gets worse and worse. I told him he should hang in and i pace. After I turned my head to tell him the splits at the half marathon mark he was gone.

1:23 said my watch as I was clocking the half marathon split time. The pace was relaxed and the legs still up to speed. The time was flying for me so the journey to the half way mark felt very short. On the long roads back to the Erasmus bridge and inner Rotterdam I searched for groups as the wind became a bit stronger. No sign of success for me here. I was on my own and battled my way back over the Erasmus bridge through the city centre. There again – phenomenal crowd
support on the streets. As there was no one behind me in some parts I had the full crowd attention as I was running by. Once the hand raised the oranjes made noise – nice one. Kilometer 29 came close and I was starting to fell my legs and back. Now it was battle time.

I tried to stay smooth and still the muscles were working fine. Kilometer 30 passed and I was still on an acceptable speed. The relaxed time was over as I was cruising towards the 37 k mark and I really struggled to hold the pace. The other side of the road got busy as the leaders were flying by. It was tough for me and I felt my legs all the way. Now my eyes were just focusing on the next corner or what I thought would be a corner. Marije, a woman I met in a cafe a day prior to the race, jumped surprisingly on the street to cheer me on. I really couldn’t respond to that – I was
f****** big time. There was not a hope for me to hold the pace. The incorrupt truth of marathon running had me.

I recovered a bit when I saw the 40 k mark. Sub 2:50 was gone so I tried to get the sub 2:55. Could it be that the last k’s where a bit longer? It really felt like this. So it was head down and fight even harder. Once I saw the 500 meters sign on the street I gave it everything, everything I still had – not much…

The clock at the finish line showed 2:54 something, enough for today. That was it. Over and out. Everything I wanted was a place to sit and relax. As the warm rotterdam sun was drying me off I couldn’t move my legs. I was tired and happy that the race was over.

It’s a long distance to run so it’s a long way to the perfect race. My journey to that had just started…. I’m excited to carry it on.

Bib number 469
Name Markus Rössel
City An Nás
Distance Fortis Marathon Rotterdam
Category MSR
Overall place 194 / 6443
Category place 70 / 1034
Speed 14,493 Km/Hour
Gross time 2:54:43
Net time 2:54:41
Net split times (difference)
5 Kilometer 19:18 (19:18)
10 Kilometer 38:37 (19:19)
15 Kilometer 58:27 (19:50)
20 Kilometer 1:18:22 (19:55)
Half marathon 1:23:03
25 Kilometer 1:38:39 (20:17)
30 Kilometer 1:59:23 (20:44)
35 Kilometer 2:22:20 (22:57)
40 Kilometer 2:45:04 (22:44)

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