A long distance running legend, Bob Kennedy, will return to the spotlight this Sunday as he makes his way to New York City for his second attempt at the New York City Marathon, as reported by The New York Times.
The two-time Olympian was the first non-African to complete a 5,000 meter run in under 13 minutes, and he set many American records at the height of his career. However, all of that came to an abrupt halt after he set out to run the New York City Marathon for the first time in 2004. Kennedy had planned on finishing the race in just two hours and 10 minutes; however, with eight miles left he found himself unable to go any further and dropped out.
Overtraining or too little recovery time before the marathon likely led to Kennedy’s DNF; these two factors, say experts, can be crucial factors when preparing for a big race.
“Racing the marathon distance is no joke, it takes weeks of proper physical and mental preparation to execute your plan on race day. Even with perfect preparation there are still race day variables that can throw you for a loop. Runners should make sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, layer up in performance wear that you can remove easily as you warm up, such as beanies, gloves and arm sleeves. Also, there will be a lot of excitement at the start of the race, adrenaline can cause you to go out at too fast of a pace, keep an eye on your pace in the early miles or you could regret it in the late stages of the race,” says Ryan Lynn, Dir. Marketing, GoneForaRun.com.
Kennedy did not run for five years after his first attempt at the marathon, focusing instead on raising a family and running his business. He also put on almost 60 pounds.
Now, 10 years later, Kennedy is ready to once again take on the marathon that ended his career. This time, however, he is going in with a different mindset. Kennedy’s goal this time around is to be healthy and just enjoy the race.
“I think back on why I didn’t run for so long,” said Kennedy, according to The New York Times, “I didn’t want to have to deal with running slower. I didn’t want to have to deal with people saying, ‘Are you going to run this race? How fast are you running?’ Now I’m O.K. If I went out and ran nine-minute miles, I don’t have to prove myself to anybody. I’m 44.”
With the help of his friend and running partner Bryan Chandler, Kennedy was able to get back into running and begin training for the New York City Marathon. He plans to run the race in under three and a half hours this time around, and with a steady pace and the right mindset, he is well on track to beat the race that stopped him 10 years ago.