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Interview with Deena Kastor ahead of the 26th Vattenfall BERLIN HALFMARATHON


What has brought you to Berlin and this race?

Deena Kastor: “This race has a great reputation for fast times and it’s perfect timing for the Flora London marathon (ed note: she competes there on April 23). My goal here is to run fast, then go to London after Berlin so there won’t be a big time adjustment before the marathon.”


What kind of shape are you in?

Deena Kastor: “Good shape. We’ve changed a few things in training this year and have been in the San Francisco Bay area, away from our home in Mammoth Lakes in California. That’s at 8,000 ft (2,500m) altitude and there’s a lot of snow there. My coach Terrence Mahon wanted to refresh our training schedules this year. I’ve been focusing more on quality whereas previously I would be doing 120-mile weeks, but now focusing on tempo runs that are close to race situations and I’m ready for this.This is my favourite distance. I’m excited to be resting up for this.”


Are you aiming for a particular time on Sunday?

Deena Kastor: “I’m hoping to run 1:07 (ed note : the Berlin course record is 1:08:22, set by Kenya’s Joyce Chepchumba in  2000). But I’m making a conscious effort not to focus on time. Last year in Chicago I disintegrated at 8 km when Andrew (husband and physical therapist) shouted to me : “You’re on world record pace!” So the focus is not to be obsessed about times.”


Do you find that too much talk about times is inhibiting?

Deena Kastor: “It creates barriers sometimes. Our idea, by “our”, I mean the team of husband, coach, training partner and myself, is not to get too caught up in it. My brain is not good at math, I don’t want to know (about times), I just want to run.”


Thinking of marathons, the real,- Berlin Marathon is one of the five World Marathon Majors (ed note: Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London and New York). What do you think of this development?

Deena Kastor: “It’s a wonderful meshing of events. Marathons intrigue people, even the laziest couch potato, they attract so many nationalities and body types. To see the five greatest marathons come together is really exciting for the sport.”


Is part of the reason for coming to Berlin that you can take a look at the marathon course?

Deena Kastor: “Absolutely. This is an opportunity of seeing what some of the course is like though I won’t tour the entire marathon course after Sunday’s race. We’re going to London the next day and staying there.”


Do you have particular targets for the Flora London Marathon?

Deena Kastor: Again, I don’t want to be obsessed about pace and splits. I want to battle the other athletes out there. I’ve already accepted that this weekend and London are feats that are going to hurt, that I’ll be pushing the envelope.”


Does that mean you really are in the best shape of your life?

Deena Kastor: “Close to it. But it’s so hard to say definitely after Chicago last year when I was in the best shape of my life and never hurt so bad in winning my first major marathon.”


Do you take notice of opponents in Berlin this Sunday?

Deena Kastor: “I know the fields are always competitive. There are women you know and others that surprise you. Our strategy is trying to go out and ran an aggressive race.”



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