Andrew Lemoncello: Q&A

Hot from his marathon debut, we caught up with Andrew Lemoncello - the first Briton across the line in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon


Posted: 26 April 2010
by Alice Palmer

We snatched a quick chat with the first British finisher in Sunday's Virgin London Marathon - 27-year-old marathon debutant Andrew Lemoncello.

Firstly, congratulations - to be the first Briton home in your first marathon is an incredible achievement.

Thanks! I'm feeling absolutely fine - my legs aren't sore. That's the annoying thing - I wanted to be sore, knowing that I had run really fast, but it didn't pan out that way.

Q. How did you find the experience of running your first marathon? You were running alone for quite some time - how did that feel?

From mile 10 I was on my own, and I found that very tough. It's easy to start destroying yourself mentally, if you're struggling against the wind and you've got no one cheering you on.

It was good to see such a huge turnout on the course. It was a fantastic experience, and the crowds absolutely gave me a boost. Coming down the last mile or so I was trying to get the crowd going, but I don't think they knew I was British. When they see 'Lemoncello' they probably think I'm Italian! They really picked me up coming down that finish. It was really fun.

Q. How have you found stepping up to the marathon distance?

Running it was fine. There were a couple of bad patches but overall I didn't feel too bad. I'm excited for the next one. If I do the European Marathon Cup (at July's European Athletics Championships) the gaps are tiny rather than the huge five-minute gaps that I was running with yesterday.

I handled the training really well. That was the main part - to stay injury-free. I can recover really well from this, take a shorter break than I'd planned and get back into good shape come the European Championships.

Q. Why did you decide to switch to the marathon? [Lemoncello had a successful track career in American collegiate sports and at the Beijing Olympics]

It was just one of those things that I'd always looked at doing, and I'm not getting any younger! With just over two years until the Olympics, it was perfect timing. It gave me last year to experiment with training, seeing what worked for me and taking all of that into the preparation cycle for this marathon.

I now have time for five or six marathons, where I can really learn what my body responds to. Hopefully I'll have it down to a perfect build-up for the London Olympics.

Q. Now you've left university, who do you train with? What's your coaching set up?

After university, I had the opportunity to move up to Flagstaff with a group coached by Greg McMillan. The whole aim was to be there five years before the Olympics and get my body ready for the distance and ready to perform well. It's been great to really focus on the task.

Q. You've represented Britain at the Beijing Olympics - are you looking forward to London 2012? How's your preparation going?

My coach takes a long-term view and every year the training gets slightly more intense in terms of mileage.

Q. You missed the last Commonwealth Games because of university exams - are you planning to compete in this year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi?

We're not sure yet, even about the European Championships. It was all about getting to London, and now we go back to the drawing board and see what the future holds. I am planning the European Marathon Cup but the Commonwealth Games are only eight or nine weeks afterwards so that could be a very tough double.


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