By Koen Lecker - Do you believe it? Fifteen times I started to go back to running. But let's start at the beginning.
In 1984 we came back to Holland from a two-years stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They said that I was not fit and told me to start jogging. I was sure there was nothing wrong with me so I went out to run four or five kilometers in the evening when I was sure that the neighbours would not see me. Fifty years old, bald as that famous eagle. After 300 meters I was leaning against a lamppost and thought: "Koen, you are not as fit as you told yourself, sky- and scuba-diving did not keep you in a good shape".
After two or three months it all looked better, I was jogging my kilometers and lost some of my 90 kilograms. But it was boring, very boring. I realised that I needed a goal to keep up this stupid sport. So I decided to run a marathon. Crazy of course, being an old man and finding 42 kilometers on a bicycle quite an adventure. After four month I ran a 10 miler, followed by a half marathon four weeks later and within a year I did Hertogenbosch. A full marathon. I know it was not a fast race, it took four hours and two minutes, but I felt great.
End of 1985. We went back to Jeddah and I joined the Jeddah Road Runners. From that time on marathon running was standard routine. Over the years we did: Jeddah, Riyadh, New York, Boston, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Brussels and a few others.
Boston 2000 was the one to end my string of marathons. I was 65 years old, it was number twenty and number ten outside Holland and this was anyway the best marathon in the world. All went well, but straight away after that marathon I stopped running altogether. I just let it go and did not like that. To stop doing all those miles O.K., but I wanted to go on running in a more relaxed way. I knew what was wrong, I missed my target, so I told Nelly, my wife: "I am gonna train for Rotterdam, I am not going to run it of course. Just do my miles for a month of four". But when I was ready to go for it, I went to the Coolsingel in Rotterdam and ran number 21.
A few weeks later I was feeling a dull pain in my left heel and the hospital said: "That is a heel spur and forget about running. We will not operate on it, but you can still walk or cycle as much as you want to". I was sick of it, if I wanted to stop running the decision would be mine, not my body's.
For two years I did not run. I cycled a lot, did enough weight training, just to keep as fit as possible. Then I found a solution to the heel problems, got the shoes out and went back to the roads.
Over the last three years I started fifteen times all over again. Fifteen times I had to stop because of injuries. But you know, marathon runners never give up.
I think that I wanted too much, too fast. Whatever method I tried, it just did not work so two months ago I told Nelly: "One more time, I will go for it. If it does not work out, I will hang the four pair of running shoes in the tree in front of our house, get drunk and find myself a sport like cricket, golf or petanque". (Can you imagine? Ha ha.)
The schedule I made is like this: I will run six days a week. First week will be 10 kilometers. I will add 10% per week. I will go for about 40 kilomters everyday cycling within about 1 hour 25 minutes.
The result until today: I lost weight (5 kilograms). Next week will be 23 kilometers. About 10 weeks from now I will be back at 70 kilomters per week.
It all looks great. Please don't tell Nelly, but I just found out the date of the next Rotterdam marathon. Whatever the outcome of this will be, I will keep you updated.