The Curse of 2018 is put to bed!

By Marathon Man

Questions were asked earlier this year when not one Newcastle runner managed to break the magic three hour barrier in extremely warm conditions in London in April this year. Cunningham, Brown and Higgins took a trip to Derry at the start of the summer, however a hilly course prevented any fast times and the only option was to focus on the autumn.

To start the autumn marathon season Troeng and Higgins made the trip to Berlin with both aiming for PB’s after a hard summer training block covering every road in the parish of Leitrim.

The curse of Lanzarote has hung over Higgins since December 2017, the last time he subbed the three, with a disappointing run in London earlier this spring following illness.

Troeng has taken a break from the roads recently focusing on the mountains and hoped that without Jack O’Hare present she wouldn’t have any dislocated shoulders to deal with and could concentrate on running.

After arriving on Friday morning Higgins and Troeng made their way to the extremely impressive expo. Higgins took the inadvisable decision of purchasing a brand new pair of shoes for the race for €85. That evening before dinner they went for a short run to break in the new shoes and bumped into the one and only Eliud Kipchoge. With nothing to get an autograph on Higgins took off his new shoes and got them signed by the current Olympic champion. That evening Wonderwall offered Higgins £200 for them!

Saturday started with a trip to Hasenheide parkrun in one of the many city parks. With a usual turnout of 80 runners, organisers were delighted with a turnout of 517, to include at least 20 Northern Irish runners. It was the first time both Troeng and Higgins had ever been lapped at a parkrun.

With the world’s elite assembled there was much talk at the start line to see if the 2:02:57 world record could be broken?

The race started with runners in start blocks according to their pb’s. Weather conditions were close to perfect with sunny skies and 18 degrees with a light breeze made for pb conditions.

Consistency is the name of the game

At the front of the pack Eliud Kipchoge went through half in an incredible 61:06 before a second half of 60:33 for a new world record time of 2:01:39, 5 minutes clear of second place in a field of 44,389 with participants from 133 counties.

Further back Higgins went through half in 77:51, with Troeng running 88:33, both on target for pb’s. With second halves of 78:49 and 90:46 respectively, Higgins finished 212th overall in a time of 2:36:40, an average of 5:58 per mile. This took 3 minutes off his time from Dublin last year and put the curse of Lanzarote to bed.

Troeng finished as 100th female in a time of 2:59:18. This makes her only the second Newcastle runner this year to break 3hours for a marathon in 2018 after Higgins managed it only 23 minutes earlier. It also took 5 minutes off her pb from Dublin in 2015 and makes her the first Newcastle female to break 3 hours in a marathon.

Higgins recorded 5k splits of 18:28, 18:24, 18:36, 18:24, 18:26, 18:42, 18:24, and a slower 19:08 before a final 8:13 for the 2.2km to the finish.

Troeng ran 20:33, 21:00, 21:05, 21:16, 21:34, 21:25, 21:28, 21:52 before a final 9:08 to the finish.

Both Troeng and Higgins were extremely grateful for the support from home and are sure there will be many more new members to the sub three club in Dublin in October.