Duzanson adds miles to his athletic resumePOSTED: 05/9/12 2:03 PM
St. Maarten – Steve Duzanson, one of the top long distance runners on the island has competed in eight marathons and completed each one. At the conclusion of his last event in Rotterdam on April 15, he has run the equivalent of the distance between London and Harrogate: 210 miles, close to 338 kilometers.
He was however not happy with the end result of the marathon after completing the course in 03,15,00, he had projected that he could have done it in 03,10,00 or 03,05,00. Still regrouping from the ordeal at his desk, Duzanson said, “It still was not bad because I finished in the top 15 percent.”
The Rotterdam marathon which was sponsored by ABN Amro, attracted well over 10,000 athletes from all over the globe this year, but only 9,000 were able to dare the harsh elements and cross the finish line.
Among the marathons he has competed in are the prestigious Boston marathon, the Atlanta marathon, London and New York, but this was his third time competing in Rotterdam. “Each of those marathons was tough, but I think that the one in Atlanta was my toughest, because they had lots of hills,” Duzanson said.
Ironically, Duzanson who had not competed in a marathon since 2006 did not plan to compete this year in a marathon. “I was encouraged to train with Saro Spadaro who was preparing for Rotterdam and Sam Bashir, who was training for the Boston Marathon,” he pointed out.
But somewhere along the line, Duzanson was bitten by the marathon bug and he was no longer just a training partner, he was getting himself ready for Rotterdam. “My last marathon was in New York and between then and now, I was plagued with a series of injuries and every time I started to train, something would happen.”
It was not a difficult task for Duzanson to make the final decision to compete after a long rest and when the day finally arrived, he was good to go. But he was not alone, Spadaro was also at the start.
“The Rotterdam marathon is one of the fastest in the world, the course is flat but the weather conditions have always been unpredictable,” Duzanson said. According to Duzanson, he was positioned somewhere at the back and when the signal to start was given, it took him quite a long time to reach the actual starting banner.
“There were people in the race that were there to break their personal times with the hope of qualifying for the London Olympics. But once I leave to represent St Maarten abroad, I always do my best and I am always in good shape,” he said.
Duzanson, who became competitive at the age of 12 was critical in the manner in which the officials in Rotterdam, position the runners in the various categories. “What they had was five hour marathon runners positioned ahead of those who could have done it in less time. I don’t think that was right, it only broke your concentration because you had to be careful you did not step on the feet of somebody that was slower while making your way to the front.”
For the first few kilometers, the runners were tightly bunched, but after five kilometers, it was an open affair. “By that time, I was concentrating on pacing myself at the same time I had to avoid injuring myself again and for the first half, I ran very conservatively.”
He admitted that the thought of quitting did cross his mind when the cramps became almost too much. “I guess it was a mind game but with 42 km already covered, I decided to accelerate my pace. In the last 5 kilometers, I was forced to walk and run. I was telling myself that as long as I crossed the line, the pain would subside and my life would return to normal,” he added.
He referred to Spadaro as the ‘Pitbull’ of marathons. “He was fantastic, he did a marathon in London last year in just over 4 hours and he did this one in 3,38,00. From the three runners that competed in marathons recently, he is the best,” Duzanson said.
In terms of future events, Duzanson does not rule out the possibility of Bashir, Spadaro and himself running together, now that they have all been bitten by the marathon bug. “ It’s an extremely tough event, but I would encourage anyone to just start, take time to prepare but once you have competed in one, you would have an incredible feeling of invincibility.