Olympic speedskating champion Apolo Anton Ohno has never run more than 20 miles, but his goal is to finish the 2011 New York City Marathon in under 3.5 hours.
That’s a competitive time for any runner, but especially for a first-time marathoner. But then again, Apolo, an 8-time Olympic medalist, isn’t just any guy.
[UPDATE: Apolo achieved his goal, finishing the marathon in 3:25:12.]
Ohno, who is the most decorated American winter Olympian (2 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze) is excited by the challenge the grueling 26.2-mile NYC Marathon poses.
“I’m not nervous; I’m excited,” Apolo told TheImproper at an NYC press event sponsored by sandwich chain Subway on Nov. 4, 2011.
“I wish I ran the race last week! I wish I could do it now,” he joked, explaining that tapering and resting this week has been difficult for him.
Ohno, who completed the Chicago half-marathon on Sept. 11 in an impressive 1:40:59, says his hectic travel itinerary has made his sleep schedule erratic, so proper rest is a major obstacle.
Apolo, who has been a sprinter all his life, says endurance training was never a part of his training regimen for speedskating, so running long distances is new to him.
“For 15 years I have trained to sprint for 10 seconds, rest, sprint for 10 seconds, rest,” says Ohn, 29. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m really starting to enjoy this.
“I’m enjoying the challenge.”
The 2011 New York City Marathon takes place Nov. 6.