Arne Gabius set the third fastest time by a European athlete this season with a 2:09:59 clocking in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday but the German veteran is tempted by a return to the track at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships next summer.
“In Berlin you can run [a marathon] every year. There is one of the largest marathons in the world; it is always a festival for us runners. I find 25 laps inside the Olympic Stadium in front of 40,000 or more people also a great party,” Gabius told Leichtathletik.de after finishing sixth in the Frankfurt Marathon.
“I have some catching up to do after my injury, I have to train my speed. For this I have to do half marathon training and the 10,000m fits in wonderfully, so why not the 10,000m [at the European Championships] and then an autumn marathon?”
Gabius broke the German marathon record in Frankfurt two years ago with a 2:08:33 clocking but the 36-year-old is also very proficient at the shorter distances. He is the fifth fastest German of all-time over 5000m with 13:12.50 - as well as winning a silver medal behind Mo Farah at the 2012 European Championships - and he set his 10,000m PB of 27:43.93 five months before breaking the German marathon record which had stood since 1988.
But since breaking that long-standing mark, Gabius has been sidelined by a succession of injuries and illnesses and hasn’t donned a German vest since the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam where he was forced to drop out of the half marathon with a pelvis injury. He was also forced to miss the Olympic Games due to the same injury before dropping out of the Hannover Marathon in April with an Achilles injury.
Gabius said the pelvis injury flared up again during a high altitude camp in St Moritz in August but the German didn’t miss too much in the way of training in the build-up to the Frankfurt Marathon. Gabius lost contact with the second group after the 25km checkpoint having passed through halfway in a faster than expected 63:49 but the German dug deep into his reserves in his bid for a sub-2:10 clocking in his first marathon finish in two years.
“The last kilometre was ‘do or die,’” he said. “I took a full risk as my hamstrings became very tight around the 30km checkpoint and I feared they would not hold up. Either I would arrive in the Festhalle with a time just under 2:10, or I would limp over the finish line in 2:12. From 30km onwards, it was only my goal to stay under 2:10.”
More information on the 2018 European Championships:
- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.
- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.
- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every 4 years.
- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.
- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.
- 4,500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.
- Potential TV audience of over 1 billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.
- Over half a million spectators expected.