Monday, August 17, 2009 exclusive interview: It's Hendrick Ramaala week!

This week we proudly present you's favourite runner and now avid reader, Hendrick Ramaala. During the next days you get a transscript of the interview we did last week. Enjoy!

We at are big Ramaala fans and we were quite excited when we saw you attack at London Marathon. What was going on?

Hard race. But at that point the pace was going down and there was still a big pack. You couldn’t be sure to be in the money. And then, I don’t know, it just happened, I felt like going [smiles]. A big move was about to happen. I rather have it to be me who’s attacking. The young guys are fearless. Don’t wait to let them go. Later they made me suffer.

But you still ran a low 2:07…

…I could have done better, I think. I run smarter next time.

What are you doing then?

I won’t follow the move immediately but follow slowly. This year I followed Wanjiru and felt my hamstring tighten. Next time I move by pace, not surge.

So, next time London or here in NYC?

[Laughs]. Next marathon! Not sure yet where I run this fall.

I’m sure it’s gonna be here. 1st Avenue and Hendrick just has to go.

Yeah, when I’m in good shape! A lot of people say “It’s not a good move. You have to wait, wait, wait.” I don’t like to wait for someone else’s move. I might not be able to handle it at that moment. It’s hard to cover other runner’s moves. I rather do it myself and let others follow.

I hope to run NYC. It’ll be my eighth NY.

Did you ever run Chicago?

Twice as a pacemaker. First time I DNF, second time I finished 2:10:45.

It’ll be humid on Sunday (NYC Half Marathon, Ramaala finished 5th) just like in Osaka (Worlds 2007, Ramaala finished 2:25ish).

Oh it was horrible!

Why did you bother finishing at all?

We were expecting Beijing to be the same and I wanted to finish to get a feel for it. But after all, Osaka was worse than Beijing which was actually ok. In Beijing it was the pace that messed us up. Wanjiru did well, he held it to the finish.

There’s a race in South Africa that hasn’t much humidity but is “a little bit” longer. What year are you finally running Comrades?

Ah, Comrades. [sighs] If I don’t run it, people will be like "ah, he ran some marathons but he didn’t run the big one." South Afrcians think Comrades is the biggest race in the world. It’s a tradition. I’ll go there when I’m 40 something. Win the first one and retire after that. Because you don’t want to go there and try to defend. It’s a long way. But I can handle the distance. It’s a South African thing to run long, long. [laughs] But it’s no special training, you don’t have to run fast. Not like marathons. These are demanding. For London or NYC you have to give it everything in training. It’s not like that for Comrades. You do your long runs.

Stay tuned for Hendrick's take on how to transition from being a 59 minute half marathon runner to win the big city marathons!