Irina Mikitenko

Running success is a family matter

Family MikitenkoFamily plays an important role to the success of Irina Mikitenko. While her parents have no running background, it is a much different story with her husband’s family: Irina Mikitenko’s father in law Leonid won the 10,000 m bronze medal at the European Championships in 1966. He had personal bests of 13:36.4 and 28:12.4 minutes at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Leonid Mikitenko used to train his son Alexander in Alma-Ata. He has a personal best in the 5,000 m of 13:39,95 from 1994. After Irina and Alexander met at the sport, the father also took over as Irina’s coach. Already then the group sometimes went for high altitude training to nearby Kyrgyzstan. Irina Mikitenko travelled back there in early 2008 to prepare for the London Marathon. Her father in law had arranged this training camp. And while the two and a half year-old daughter Vanessa stayed with her parents in law, her 14 year-old son was accommodated at her parents near Freigericht, Germany.

The coordination of family life and extensive training is not always easy. Often Irina Mikitenko has to rely on the help from her family, because her coach and husband Alexander is fully employed as a metal worker with shifts. „I am used to run training sessions alone – especially in the mornings“, says Irina Mikitenko. And the family helps out when its needed. During her built-up to the London Marathon there was flu all around in the kindergarden. Irina Mikitenko’s 14 year-old son offered help and looked after his sister so that his mother could train. Irina Mikitenko didn’t want to take the risk of an infection and kept her daughter at home. Her mother, who often accompanies her to training camps to look after little Vanessa, was ill at that time herself. The running family company Mikitenko is running well.