Thursday, November 17, 2011
We caught up with Tito to get some feedback on his run in New York.
You ran with the lead pack at the NYC Marathon until 5k and then suddenly dropped off the pace. What was the motivation to do so? It looked like you went for a 5k PR. Looking at your splits, you then continued to run a 1:11 half before you had a nap on Pulaski Bridge at the half marathon before jogging to the finish, maybe with a friend. Was that the plan all along?
Well, it's been a last minute choice. Something foolish came into my mind and I told myself: “Let's make those guys watching at home jump off their sofas!” (I was thinking to my friends, parents and training mates). Seven days before the NYCM, I completed the Frankfurt Marathon in a good 2h24.14 (My PB stands at 2h23.09); I felt obviously tired, but at least I was in New York! I decided to listen to my coach's advice, so I wasn't meant to “push” for more than 20km. But I split the 20km effort in a 5km sprint plus a 15km marathon pace run... I went to New York with a friend of mine, who was trying to run his first sub 3h hour marathon. At the half marathon mark I literally stopped for 18 minutes waiting for him and then I started running again with my friend (Teodoro Zanardelli who finally hit the wall and clocked a 3h08.54) getting by till the finish line! It was definitely FUN!
How did you catch up with the leaders, assuming you started a few steps back? All-out sprint?
Wow, that was the difficult part of my adventure! For strange reasons I was given bib number 8902 (I say strange because I was 37th in 2009 and 62nd in 2010), so my corral was pretty far away from the elite runners. I had to find my space going in the corral with the 1000 bibs (I know I shouldn't. So don't try this at home!!! I mean, I passed “irregularly” from a corral to the previous during the warm up, but at least I'm sure I did not damage anyone). In any case I started at the cannon shot with a 14” gap to the elite field. I made the first uphill kilometer (I'm Italian, I'm used to kilometers...) in 2'48” without a proper warm up. That was an all-out sprint! Then – once I caught up – it was easier. Till the 4th km mark I was running quite easy (I'm a 14'32” guy for 5.000m), but when we clocked a 2'56” on the uphill 5th km I had to raise the white flag. I surrendered but I was happy being there.
How tough was it for you while running with the lead pack?
It wasn't so tough, as long as my thoughts were completely devoted to enjoy the moment. It's been a privilege to be among those champions even for only 15 minutes. When I began thinking I had to be careful not to make anyone of them fall or something similar, I realized It was getting tough! But it's been amazing looking at them running so easy at such a fast pace. May I say I loved Matthew Kisorio the most? He looked elegant and his coach Claudio Berardelli is a friend of mine as we worked together in Dr Rosa's camp (Brescia, Italy, 2006).
Did you get any comments or looks from the elite runners?
Viktor Rothlin seemed the most surprised with another European in the pack, but none of them looked worried, obviously. I had tons of comments and congratulations after the race. Running (in Italy) is considered a minor sport, even if there are 35.000 Italians completing a marathon every year, so my presence for a few minutes in front of NYCM field was considered an excellent proof, while – for instance – my decent 10.000m PB of 30'20” on track was ignored.
You ran a 2:24 at the Frankfurt Marathon a week before NYC. Would you have stayed with the leaders until half-way if you wouldn't have run Frankfurt?
To tell the truth, NYCM was in my program while Frankfurt Marathon wasn't. On a last minute basis I was included in the elite field in Frankfurt and – as I was feeling fit – I decided to try my best in Germany and then fly to NY for a holiday. If I would not have run in Frankfurt, I would have tried a steady pace race in NY (targeting the first Italian in the race, who clocked only a 2h27'). Unfortunately in Frankfurt I lost more than 2' in the last 3km because of cramps, and in New York I was too tired!
Will we see you in London at the marathon again with a new 5k PR?
Do you mean in the 5.000m race at the Olympics? I'm only joking... I didn't think about it yet, but I'm sure I'll have to run my track PB to stay in the leading pack on London Marathon fast course! I'd love to run London Marathon, but I didn't register on time and I guess I'm not good enough to be included among the invited athletes out there (not even for free!).
My friends keep having fun! As Mr. Jobs said: “stay hungry, stay foolish”
Oh, last but not least: I should have run with my beloved “volpain team” orange Saucony singlet in NY, but I forgot it in the washing machine, sorry Berty!
Thanks very much for the interview Tito! M.