“Let’s see if I can do this”, Christian Meckelburg, 20, thought when a friend asked him if he was interested in running a marathon with him. Every two weeks, he will check in with EM on his training progress. This is part 1: “It’s tough, but I’m not giving up.”

“Running a marathon is the sort of thing you keep putting off because something always gets in the way,” Christian Meckelburg, 20, told EM. “But that’s exactly the thing. The right time never really comes. So when a friend recently asked me to run a marathon with him, I immediately said yes.” It will be the first time Meckelburg has run such a long distance. So far, the International Business Administration student has never run a race exceeding 10 kilometres.

Parental support

His parents were very supportive when he told them about his plan, particularly his father. “My father once ran a marathon himself, just to see if he could do it. Whenever he told me about the experience, I promised myself I’d one day do the same.” It really helps that both of Meckelburg’s parents are doctors. “My Mum is sending me dietary supplements, such as vitamin supplements. As for my Dad, I consult him on my training schedule and what types of shoes are best for running.” His father often tells him about his own experiences. ‘According to my Dad, the start and finish are the easiest parts of a marathon, because you’re experiencing an adrenalin rush at those points. My father never ran another marathon after his. I’ll be interested to see how I fare in mine.’

That he should pick the Rotterdam marathon out of all marathons was a logical decision, said Meckelburg. ‘I feel at home here, even though I haven’t lived here for very long. My training runs are a good way to get to know the city. I live in Kralingen, so that’s where I do most of my running. But thanks to my training runs, I’m now getting to know places I had never visited before, such as Rotterdam-Zuid.’

Won't give up

The friend with whom he was supposed to run the marathon has by now decided to run a half marathon instead, but Meckelburg does not intend to follow suit. “When I set myself a goal, I won’t give up. It can be tough sometimes, because I’m doing three or four ten-to-fifteen-kilometre runs a week, and on top of that I have to study.” In a way, though, his studies are benefitting from all the running. “Me studying involve sitting in front of a desk all day. It feels great to be able to run after that. While I’m off running a lap, I can stop focussing on all the thoughts swirling through my head for a little while. I always feel better after running.”