Thursday, August 20, 2009 exclusive interview: It's Hendrick Ramaala week! (part three)

Here's your daily dose of Hendrick Ramaala!
If you've missed the two previous posts, they are here and here.

When you run a marathon, you are always very competitive, always in the lead group, sometimes pushing the pace. Sometimes you have a good day and sometimes you don’t have a good day. Why does that happen?

I don’t belong to the second bunch. I run at the front and hang on. Sometimes it works out, sometimes I bomb. But at least I can say “I tried!”. I run for the win, not for tenth. Not fourth.

One could argue that a good way to finish fourth would be to hang back, pace yourself and wait for everybody to come back to you.

I don’t run for fourth. There’s no glory for fourth. Winner takes all. Who cares about the guy who came second.

Talking about second: I’d love to talk about your win at the NYC Marathon in 2004. But more exciting to see was your second…

…and more disappointing! [laughs]

…place in 2005 when you lost the sprint against Paul Tergat.

I just couldn’t get rid of him until the finish line. And so he won. I was SO upset. Coming second is just not an option. We both wanted it. Paul doesn’t take it easy. He doesn’t like losing either. It was very hard for me to lose, after training so hard. After leading the race from about half way. Second is not bad but I don’t want to be second. Fourth is the worst! You want to be third. Seventh is ok. Tenth is like “phew, Top10”. Eleventh is like “I am not here.” [laughs]

Amby Burfoot (Runners World): Marathons are so hard and the competition so intense, you should be happy with a good place!

Tenth? [laughs}

No, no.

Fourth? [laughs] You know, in training you always envision yourself to be first.

How important is time for you?

On flat courses it is, NYC not.

What’s your taper looking like?

Weekend before the marathon I still do some fast stuff. During the last week you have to be very careful, listen to your body. It’s not only the running, it’s also dealing with different time zones, altitudes, weather, food etc. You basically don’t want to get hurt, overdo things.

What’s your favorite workout for the marathon?

The long run, I guess.

I heard you are doing always the same route in training, is that true?

Yeah. It’s a 3.5k loop. I know every corner, every stone.

Why do you do that?

I’ve been running on this thing for over fifteen years.

Do you ever change direction?


Clockwise or counter-clockwise?


The half on Sunday is clockwise, don’t get lost.


Are you training on the track at all?

Yes, I have two track sessions a week. But every morning I run on that loop.

What sort of reps are you running?

I’m doing k’s. Minimum of six, maximum of ten. Pace is about 3mins, 2:50. If I run under 2:50s, than I know I’m in shape.

Do you do any cross training, weights etc, anything other than running?

No, not anymore. I’m tired enough from running.


[sighs] I just stretch. My season is long. I do the short stuff, marathons, and now I’m in the half marathon stage. It’s just too much to do all these things.

You sound tired.

I’m always tired!

Find out tomorrow at what Hendrick thinks of Facebook!