curiously interested wrote:
So which narrative is the real Rob Young?
(1) The champion triathlete who was also going to climb the three highest peaks in the UK and bike between them and finish with a long run of undetermined distance (as this 2004 article claims)? (Did he actually do this?)
(2) The 5K recreational runner who became an instant marathoner on a whim with no training after watching the London Marathon in 2014 and then ran his first 10 marathons in 7 days, including his first 3 progressively faster in the first 30 hours of that stretch? (as his book claims)
I'm still trying to reconcile his book with data that's been uncovered.
I want to give Rob a fair shake. I reread the opening section of his book again. Even though he clearly claims to never have run a marathon until April 14-15 when he suddenly ran 3 (and then 7 more that week), he does acknowledge his cycling and triathlete background, and the line I did not remember and had overlooked was that he admits that his fitness had been dormant for 7 years. Here's the quote over 2 paragraphs:
". . . I was just a 31-year-old office worker who hadn't run his first marathon yet.
Though that's not strictly true. I had been in the Army in my twenties and I was always the one who could march the furthest and the quickest with a heavy pack. Then I was a pro cyclist for a while and represented Britain as a junior triathlete, so I knew I had some sporting ability and a talent for endurance. That kind of thing doesn't just disappear -- even if it had been lying dormant in me for the last seven years. . . ."
So he does admit to being rather inactive from 2007-14 and acknowledge his past endurance training as a cyclist and triathlete. This helps reconcile the two narratives that seemed mutually exclusive.
I still think it's crazy to think that as a 21:xx 5K runner, he suddenly on a whim and without training ran his first marathon in 4:07, then nine hours later ran his second one 40 minutes faster in 3:28, and then seven hours later on less than fours sleep ran his third ever in the even faster time of 3:19. The times should deteriorate, not progress. Also, in his mapmyrun data, he labeled his 4:07:31 marathon as "AFTERNOON 2ND MARATHON IN A [DAY]." So it sounds like in the book he possibly rearranged his first two marathons so that maybe his first was 3:28 and then his second that same day was 4:07 if his mapmyrun data is correct. I can't see what his time was for his third marathon was in mapmyrun.
And also, the detailed description of the course in the book does not match the mapmyrun data he posted, and the location of his friend Eva and his GF/partner Joanna to verify these initial marathons would not be possible based on his mapmyrun data. In the book he claims to have run a four-loop course in Richmond Park, but the mapmyrun data has him going from Twickenham, then three-quarters of the way around Richmond Park, and then out towards London and finishing in Regent's Park 11 miles from his start.
But I want to give Rob a fair shake that he does acknowledge a seven-year hiatus as an endurance athlete before he allegedly took up marathoning. That helps with his backstory.