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"Its important to have hill training for this race"

Sonia Krolik-Oberem about the difficulty of the course for the Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday

2001-11-02

Sonia Krolik-Oberem has no illusions about the difficulty of the course for the Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday. But the German favourite is not one for the easy option. "Its important to have hill training for this race, especially the downhill from 30k, when the body isn fresh. But you have to face challenges. If you always take the easy path, you don grow". Krolik-Oberem has made a virtue of tackling the tougher marathon courses, and has probably the most consistent record of any of the worlds elite women over the last decade, since switching from being a twice world junior and twice European senior triathlon champion. She decided to concentrate on running after winning her second European triathlon title in 1994, finishing eighth in the World Championships marathon in 1995, and has since finished eighth in the 1996 Olympics, seventh here in Athens in the 97 World Championships, sixth in the following championship in Seville 99, then fifth in Edmonton two months ago. In between, she has recorded top places in London, Boston and New York, and set a personal best of 2.26.13 in winning Hamburg earlier this year. She admits that the opposition here is slighter than she would have faced in New York, also on Sunday, but the promise of warm weather and following in the footsteps of Philippides was the clincher. "Im well aware of the historical significance of this race, I just hope I don drop dead at the finish," she said, a reference to Philippides keeling over after delivering news of the Athenian victory over the Persians in 490BC, the reference upon which the marathon race was created on this course for the first modern Olympics in 1896. Krolik-Oberem will wrap up her season here, but also sees it as a first step in her preparation for the European Championships in Munich next year. "My aim is for a good time, whether I can break the course record (2.29.48) is a different matter". Her principal opponent will be the veteran Kenyan, Angelina Kanana, whose colleagues, Julius Rutto, Stephen Rugut and David Kemboi should dominate the mens race.

Pat Butcher


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