Aiming to go under 3:30 - with 2 months training
It was through the GTFC run club in Brooklyn, NYC that we were first introduced to Nii.
We were immediately captured……it seems confidence and youth are a great mix after all!! We were impressed by the sheer bloody-mindedness to want to take on his first marathon in under 3hrs 30mins with only two months training.
Nii encompasses all that F4URCE is & stands for and so it just felt natural to ask him to be the face of the CROWN campaign, luckily for us Nii said yes……. the rest is history.
We caught up with Nii over the weekend of his first marathon, The 50th Edition of the New York Marathon back after a 2 year hiatus with 33,000 runners expected to run the diverse neighbourhoods of New York City’s five boroughs—Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Here’s what he had to say;
When did you decide to run the New York Marathon 2021?
Believe or not I didn’t know I was running the marathon until 2 months before the race.
I’m a part of a running group in New York City, and most of the runners are participating in the marathon so that motivated me to give it a try. So, I’ve been training for the marathon for just over a month. Most runners have been training the whole year.
How did you prepare at such short notice?
The main thing I trained for is the distance. I run very frequently but I average around 4-6 miles each time I run so running a marathon is a complete change to my run training. I focused on slowing down my pace and improving my endurance while recovering and stretching properly. Also, I had to train mentally because 26.2 miles is a very long race and you need to train your mind in addition to your body to endure that pain on your body.
How did you feel on the morning of the race?
The morning before the race I was extremely excited. I didn’t sleep. Even though I didn’t sleep I was full of energy and excited to race. My body felt good and my mind was prepared for 26.2 miles.
Could you run us through the race from your perspective?
Start line - I felt great! Very hydrated and energised to start, but very cold.
During the 5k mark I felt warmed up and I was on pace to finish at 3:10 or under.
During the 10k mark I was still feeling good, showed signs of slowing down, but I did feel like I was going too fast.
Halfway through the marathon my legs started feeling sore, but I was still going at my desired pace.
At the 30k mark my legs started cramping up and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain my pace, so this was when I started slowing down.
At the 35k mark I started walking and slowing down, I simply could not move my legs or run so I was basically walking.
The last mile I sprinted then stopped because my legs were too sore to move anymore, but the last 200m I was able to jog across the finish line.
Overall, the event was great. I met a lot of people and the crowd was amazing. Everything was organised and prepared for the runners as far as snacks and beverages prior to the start of the race, and there were cameras everywhere it felt like I was a professional athlete on TV.
Will you compete again next year?
Yes, I will compete again next year. This is the biggest race I’ve ever ran. The New York City Marathon is the biggest marathon in the world and I’m going to be running along professional runners, and sponsored athletes. I’ve never experienced a race this big with the number of sponsors, and corporations behind it. I’ve met so many people and I can’t believe I got the opportunity to participate.
Knowing what you know now, would you do anything different?
I would train more and recover better. Preparing your body is extremely important because a lot of things can go wrong during 26.2 miles. I was lucky that I completed the race, but it was also risky considering I didn’t train much beforehand. Also, I would have paced myself a little better and finished the race stronger without taking so many breaks, but I’m happy with how the marathon went.
What was the highlight of the race?
The highlight of the entire race was towards the end. The crowds were full, and everyone was celebrating. I could see the finish line and My body was aching. I couldn’t believe I finished a marathon because two months beforehand I never thought that I would ever run a marathon, but I proved myself wrong.
Nii completed his 1st marathon in an astonishing 03:24:50 and you can only imagine what could have been achieved with a better training block. So, there you have it. Youth and confidence are great but being in incredible physical shape does help. Nii has many more marathons to run and I am sure that Boston qualification time of 3:00:00 certainly seems a worthy challenge….not sure whether or not that is on Nii's radar?!