Irina Mikitenko

| 26.04.2010 | „I am still hungry for success in the marathon“

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A day after having to drop out of the Virgin London Marathon because of an injury Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview in London:

How was the situation before you dropped out of the race at 18 k?

Irina Mikitenko: „My head and my heart told me to carry on. But I had to accept that it was simply not possible today. It is very sad and disappointing, because I knew that looking back at my training I would have been able to run in the leading group.”

How do you feel now and how is your injury?

Irina Mikitenko: „Life goes on and to lose is part of the sport. If you want to be an exceptional athlete you also have to show that you can come back after conceeding defeat. Regarding my injury right now the muscles still hurt. But I hope that I can start training soon again.”

Some weeks ago you already had a problem with your shin of your left leg. You then opted not to run Paderborn’s Easter Race because you did not want to take a risk. Is this now the same injury?

Irina Mikitenko: „The pain now is at a different position of my left leg. But it might be a result of the first problem. In the past few weeks training was going well. But for precautionary reasons I only trained on the track and in the woods and not on roads.”

For the first time in a marathon you did not finish. Is this a major setback in the final part of your career?

Irina Mikitenko: „Of course I am sad. But I know that this is not the end of my career and it is not a decisive setback. I am still hungry for success in the marathon.”

What are your plans now?

Irina Mikitenko: „As soon as possible I will begin with my training for the 10,000 metres. This is the event I want to run at the European Championships. After that an autumn marathon will follow. I want to come back with a good race and I am already in a mood of looking very forward to my next marathon. The London Olympic marathon in 2012 still stands as my distant goal.”


| 25.04.2010 | Muscle problem forces Irina to drop out in London

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Marathon number six was an unlucky one for Irina Mikitenko. Having entered the race as the defending champion the runner of TV Wattenscheid did not manage to finish for the first time in her marathon career. But she was in good company: Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru, who as well was the defending champion, dropped out too. For the Kenyan it had been his sixth marathon and his first ,Did not finish’ as well.
Already after 18 kilometres the Virgin London Marathon 2010 had come to an end for Irina Mikitenko. The 37 year-old, who had been going for a hat trick in London (a feat which was only achieved twice so far in the history of the event by Dionicio Ceron and Katrin Dörre-Heinig) gave up because of a muscle problem. “I am very disappointed, but something like this can happen in a marathon,” said Irina Mikitenko, who developed the problem in the lower shin and upper ankle early in the race. Because of the rain during the first part of the race roads turned slippery which added to the problem. It got so bad that Irina Mikitenko had to stop at 15 k. “I then tried running at a slower pace, but it was not possible,” said the defending champion, who had been the favourite with the British bookmakers.

“Psychologically this hurts more than physically,” said Irina Mikitenko after dropping out of the race. During her first five marathons she had never finished below second place. In 2008 and 2009 she was the fastest marathon runner in the world. Irina Mikitenko took two London Marathon crowns plus the German record when winning the Berlin Marathon in 2008 in 2:19:19.

While Irina Mikitenko left the course and walked to the nearby athletes’ hotel at Tower Bridge Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede (2:05:19) and Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova (2:22:00) won the Virgin London Marathon. At the best quality marathon race of the year a record number of 36,946 runners started. 162,000 athletes had applied for a bib number!


| 22.04.2010 | Irina Mikitenko: “London is like a World Championship”

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Irina Mikitenko will run Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon as the defending champion once again. After winning the world’s number one city marathon in 2008 and 2009 the 37 year-old German record holder (2:19:19 in Berlin 2008) will go for a ,hat trick’. Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview.

You have run three road races so far in London and have won all of them. Besides two marathon titles you also took the ,London 10,000’ in 2008. What are your feelings when you return to the city?

Irina Mikitenko: I really like London. The organisation of these races is perfect and I have always performed well there. So I am looking forward to come back to London. But at the same time there is a feeling of tension: How will the weather be, how strong are my opponents and how will the race develop?  Every marathon is different – there is always something happening, which you simply could not have predicted.

What is your goal at the Virgin London Marathon?

Irina Mikitenko: Of course I would like to win again. I believe that if you don’t have this goal you should not even go to the start. I always want to win. But of course there are a lot of factors playing a part in such a race. The Virgin London Marathon boosts the best elite field of all city marathons each year. It is like a World Championship. Even if you run very well in such an event it may happen that it is not enough to win.

Is it an advantage to prepare for a race which you know well?

Irina Mikitenko: On the one hand side of course it is good if you already know an event you go to. For example it is possible to adjust your marathon training to the course. But on the other hand, as I said, you never know how it goes.

How was your training, how is the form?

Irina Mikitenko: The training was partly not easy because of all the snow in winter. A large number of European runners had these problems. We had to improvise quite a bit, but my performances in training have not suffered. All in all the training went well and the form is fine.

You have again trained in Kyrgystan in March. Were there any signs of unrest already when you were there?

Irina Mikitenko: No, we have trained near to the border of Kazachstan and we did not see anything. I am in contact with athletes who are training there now and they tell me that it is all quiet there. Generally I always think about where to go best for a training camp. Some time ago we also went to Kenya, but there was unrest as well. The safest place is probably St. Moritz in Switzerland, but at present they still have a lot of snow. I hope it has all melted once we go there for training in early summer.

So far you have run five marathons. Of these you won three and finished second twice. Does the success give you some sovereignty?

Irina Mikitenko: I have some experience now as a marathon runner. Because of this I may be able to react quicker and better in certain situations during the race. I don’t feel more souvereign but reagarding London may be I feel a bit more confident. Because of my experience here I know for example the set-up of the drink stations and which parts of the course are likely to be windy.

Is there more respect from your opponents – do you feel this?

Irina Mikitenko: Yes, I realised this already last year in London, because none of the other runners wanted to take the lead. But I don’t see this as an advantage. It would be much easier if I could attack from behind as I did two years ago in London. Anyway, I have to concentrate on myself and not on the others. Above all you have to have respect for the distance in a marathon.

Who are your strongest opponents?

Irina Mikitenko: It is not easy to say, because only very few of them had races recently. So I am a bit in the dark concerning this. Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova should be strong. And the younger Ethiopian runners could do very well. Just recently 22 year-old Atsede Bayisa took the Paris Marathon with 2:22:04. Also you never know in what kind of form the Chinese are. And there are a number of runners in the field, who have run more marathons than I have. They have plenty of experience. So there is very strong opposition – but this is what you expect, when you come to the Virgin London Marathon.

In the past two years the winners of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series were those who won in London. Do you think Sunday’s race could be pre-decisive and do you look at the WMM points table?

Irina Mikitenko: You can not expect that the London winners will also be the WMM champions. There are three races coming in autumn and a lot can happen. Of course I know my standing in the series and that I am five points ahead. But otherwise I don’t care about the WMM Series at this stage. It is all about the Virgin London Marathon now. If I run well in London I will get the points automatically.

Will you stick with your plan of running the 10,000 metres at the European Championships in Barcelona this summer?

Irina Mikitenko: Yes, for a long time we have planned to run the 10,000 metres there. This will not change.