France’s Bouabdellah Tahri is Ready For His Marathon Debut Just Four Months After Running A 3:49 Mile Equivalent

“The most important thing for me is not the time. It is the battle.”

November 1, 2013

It’s not everyday that a guy makes his marathon debut less than four months after running a lifetime 3:32.73 1500 pb. For those of you not good with the 1500/mile conversion, that’s equivalent to a 3:49.5 mile.

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But that’s exactly what is going to happen on Sunday when France’s 34-year old Bouabdellah Tahri, who is best known for winning a bronze at the 2009 Worlds in the steeple, makes his marathon debut at the 2013 New York City Marathon.

We asked Tahri, how that was possible and he explained that this year his plan at Worlds was to run the 10,000. As a result, the Nike sponsored athlete went to Eugene to run in the 10,000 at the Prefontaine Classic where he ran with the leaders before falling after twisting his ankle around the 6k mark. Without a 10,000 qualifying time, he said his plan then was to run the 5000 at Worlds.

Bouabdellah Tahri prior to the 3013 ING New York City Marathon Bouabdellah Tahri prior to the 3013 ING New York City Marathon

However, after the 13:11.13 guy ran a disappointing 13:17.42 on July 4th in Lausanne, his coach insisted he run a 1500 just two days later. The result was a surprising 3:33.89 pr (Previous pb of 3:34.85). Tahri improved that to 3:32.73 in Monaco and thought if he ran the 1500 at Worlds, if he made the final, he could do some damage as he thought his strength would shine in the final and that he could maybe “do something” in it as the middle distance based runners wouldn’t be very sharp in their third race.

However, at Worlds, as Tahri said, “You need to be lucky” and he wasn’t as he got put in the slower first semi and didn’t make the final.

What Are Tahri’s Goals For Sunday?

Tahri talked confidently about what he could accomplish on Sunday.

“If I am here, I believe I am ready to run fast. I believe I am ready,” said Tahri.”I am not afraid, because I like to run a lot of miles.”

While not afraid, Tahri wasn’t totally brazen and definitely respects the marathon.

“In the marathon, you need to be humble,” added the Frenchman.

When asked how much he runs, Tahri said he runs between 200 and 210 km per week (124 to 130 miles) but “the most important thing is I don’t want to lose my speed” so he continues to do some fast workouts in practice.

When asked for a time goal on Sunday, we loved Tahri’s repsonse.

“The most important thing for me is not the time. It is the battle,” said Tahri. “I said (earlier) you need to be humble in the marathon, but when I prepare for something, I believe I am ready.”

Looking ahead to the future, Tahri said he hopes to run one marathon each year.

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