June 26, 2022

A 2:22 marathon after solely two years of working — it’s the stuff of legend, nearly too ridiculous to be plausible. However that’s largely what The Netherlands’ Nienke Brinkman did on the April 10, 2022, Rotterdam Marathon, and she or he did it after a 12 months of racing on trails too.

Take a look at iRunFar’s information story on Nienke’s 2:22:51 run at Rotterdam.

“Effectively, yeah, working as a sport began for me in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I suppose it’s three years, not two now,” Brinkman rapidly clarified. “However I used to be all the time taking part in discipline hockey, so it’s not that I didn’t run.”

Nienke Brinkman of The Netherlands takes second on the 2022 NN Rotterdam Marathon. Picture: Professional Photographs/Sipa USA through AP Pictures

The 28-year-old provides better historical past, “I’d have beloved to have performed on the highest degree, however I used to be simply on the second crew. There’s the best league after which there’s the nationwide crew, and so they’ll play Germany, India, Argentina. There’s not so many international locations, it’s not that acquainted.”

Depend me among the many discipline hockey unfamiliar, and so I press on how a lot working is likely to be concerned, whether or not in a sport or in any other case. “I’d heat up earlier than the match, earlier than coaching, however that’s 10 minutes round a pitch, just a few train to make the muscle tissues unfastened. After which as soon as every week coaching for working, I don’t know, approach, however discipline hockey is rather more explosive, a number of sprints.”

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Nienke Brinkman grew up taking part in discipline hockey. Picture courtesy of Nienke Brinkman.

In 2019, Brinkman moved to Zurich, Switzerland, for a Ph.D. program in geophysics and misplaced one aggressive sporting neighborhood whereas gaining one other. “I attempted discipline hockey [in Switzerland], however the degree was not the extent I used to be searching for. I felt like I did nothing, and I like sports activities, I like to come back again drained.” She turned to biking, going to the fitness center, and working.

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She educated with buddies towards the 2020 Amsterdam Marathon. It was canceled courtesy of COVID-19 and Brinkman as an alternative did a marathon-distance run with buddies. She ran 2:39. “That was and not using a coach, and never very structured, and I noticed there’s greater than this [within my potential],” Brinkman stated of the early discovery.

Swiss triathlete Benjamin Ueltschi began teaching her. She received the Zermatt Marathon in 2021 and — in the actual benchmark for path working elite, was an everyday chief or almost so throughout final 12 months’s Golden Path World Collection in Europe. Brinkman was second on the 2021 Sierre-Zinal, for example. She subsequent leveled it once more then, working 2:26 on the December 2021 Valencia Marathon.

“I’d come from the path season, race after race, and was mentally drained, so switching to roads was very nice, a great transition. It was good to focus a block on the roads and the preparation went rather well,” she stated, smiling that she overachieved versus her sub-2:30 Valencia purpose.

“I needed to get the European [Athletics] Championships Marathon restrict, however I additionally acquired the World [Athletics] Championships Marathon restrict, shocked myself.”

Caught up, I flip Brinkman again to her Rotterdam Marathon success. She’s now competing for Netherlands-based however internationally aggressive NN Operating Workforce and benefited from a four-week coaching cycle in Iten, Kenya.

“100 and 80 kilometers per week,” Brinkman stated of her typical coaching quantity, and we each attempt to do the fast math to miles. It’s about 112 miles. “Generally I’ll do two runs per day, but it surely’s principally one in depth session, intervals, monitor, hill repetitions.”

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Nienke Brinkman excels on the street and off the street. Picture: Lars Gebraad

At Rotterdam, she locked into Dutch nationwide document tempo early, behind two male pacers — one dropped at 25k and the opposite at 32k — and ran a freakin’ detrimental cut up: 71:52 by midway, after which 70:59 for the half marathon coming house.

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Brinkman was ecstatic and rapidly draped within the Dutch nationwide flag beneath her large smile. Her voice nonetheless sparkles on the achievement. The previous document had stood since 2003.

It’s taken some time, however I’m lastly able to ask the query I actually wish to know, and what many of the iRunFar neighborhood most likely desires to know too. After a world-class marathon efficiency, will she return to the paths? I anticipate a solution, however Brinkman surprises me.

“I plan to go to the Golden Path World Collection [again]. Zegama [Marathon] earlier than the 2 U.S. races,” she answered with out pause, and now I smile. She cuts me off to say: “And I’m additionally doing the European [Athletics] Championships [Marathon].”

Zegama is Could 29, 2022, in Spain. The European Athletics Championships Marathon is August 15, in Munich, Germany. The Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado is September 17, and the Flagstaff Sky Peaks race is September 25 in Arizona. Wow, Brinkman’s going for it, and I’m nonetheless enthusiastic about it myself hours after interviewing her.

I notice that Brinkman will then miss the July 18 World Athletics Championships Marathon in Eugene, Oregon.

“Can’t do each, only one month away,” Brinkman shrugs it off whereas additionally pointing to her path plans. “And touring, a lot much less touring [with the European Athletics Championships Marathon]. I nonetheless have a job, and I’ve an opportunity for a excessive rating at that race. And I believe the circumstances in Munich could possibly be like Paris 2024, which is de facto my purpose.”

I didn’t ask, however verify it rapidly after we end talking — in fact, the 2024 Summer season Olympics are in Paris, France, and so Brinkman’s making massive targets.

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Brinkman plans to race trails and roads on the highest degree then, a minimum of this 12 months.

“My base coaching for street and path is identical. Even once I’m racing trails, I put in monitor periods. I’ll simply be just a little extra trail-specific then, and the opposite approach round earlier than roads. I don’t lose one or the opposite. On the finish of a street cycle, I’ll skip the hill periods, but when I’m going to path, I’ll do extra hill repetitions than the opposite in depth stuff,” she defined of the makes-sense coaching.

Brinkman’s enthusiastic about all of it, however speaks calmly, at the same time as I gush about her spectacular racing and daring schedule. “I’m actually trying ahead to the U.S. races, for all three [trail races] I’m actually excited. They’re all new,” she beamed.

“I by no means had it in my thoughts that I’d cease racing trails. I actually wish to mix [trails and roads], particularly this 12 months. I strongly imagine that may assist me.”

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Nienke Brinkman coaching. Picture: Lars Gebraad