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Susan Partridge looks ahead to 2016 #ForeverFaster

by Editor
Friday 29th August 2014
Tags  PUMA   |   Susan Partridge   |   Great North Run   |   Millionth finisher   |   Faas 600 v2   |   Start Fitness

Interview: John Levison chats with PUMA ambassador Susan Partridge ahead of the Great North Run on the September 7, 2014

John Levison chats with PUMA ambassador Susan Partridge ahead of the Great North Run on the September 7, 2014

Great Britain's number one ranked female marathon runner Susan Partridge will be lining up in Newcastle on Sunday 7th September, before setting out on the 13.1 mile half marathon route to South Shields in 2014 edition of the Bupa Great North Run.

John Levison spoke to Susan at a Start Fitness event for PUMA's sponsorship of the Great Run Series, about racing as a Scottish athlete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, her plans to go even faster over the marathon and why any thoughts of retirement have been shelved until Rio 2016.

Scotland's Susan Partridge was Great Britain's number one ranked female marathon runner in 2013 (recording a personal best of 2:30:46 when finishing ninth at the Virgin London Marathon). Tenth place in the IAAF World Championships in Moscow followed that, before attentions turned to the chance to race at 'home' in a major championships, courtesy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

How big a deal was it to race in Glasgow as a Scottish athlete? "It was a huge aim of mine. I remember back in 2006 in Melbourne (where Susan finish tenth in the marathon), the bid for Glasgow was taking place and we were handing out leaflets and stickers to help with the promotion, so really it started then. There have been lots of interim goals and opportunities along the way to Glasgow, but it has been the sole aim for this year - to the point where I never really thought or planned anything beyond it!"

Going in to the Games, what were your hopes and targets? "I was thinking that a medal was possible. You don't want to set yourself up for a fall by saying that, but that was my aim. I think it was a realistic aim, but it wasn't to be my day (finishing sixth in 2:32:18). I was satisfied though - I had a good run, it was my second fastest ever marathon, I ran well and put myself in position to race for a medal rather than sit back and try and just go for a time. There is some disappointment at not making that podium, it would have been nice of course, but I don't think I could have done much more on the day."

For an athlete, a major multisport Games is about more than just their event. How was the overall experience for Susan? "It was a once in a lifetime I think. I've lived in Glasgow before and it is a great city, but the Games transformed it - the atmosphere around the city was incredible. I went to the athletics every night to watch friends racing. (Athlete) Village life was great, there were nights out - I think you are invigorated and run on adrenalin. It really was a fun couple of weeks - though like anything, coming back to 'normal' life is hard, it's like the post-holiday blues...!"

Having had no post-Games plans in advance, what lies ahead for Susan Partridge? "Once thing it did do is confirm that I do want to carry on and hopefully run in the Rio 2016 Olympics. I was considering retirement, but I still 100% want to be an athlete, so that is positive. I probably won't run another marathon until Autumn 2015. I've got a few more races to go this year, and then I'm going to have a long rest at the end of 2014. Next summer I plan to race a lot more on the track, 5000m and 10,000m to improve my speed to in turn hopefully improve me as a marathon runner. I definitely have under 2:30 as a marathon goal."

No thoughts that you've peaked yet then? "I don't think so. Glasgow was my second fastest time, and that was in a Championship - and I don't believe the theory that you only have two good marathons in you! I also don't think I've had too many chances to run a fast time - when you get the fitness and course on the same day - and so that will be my aim for next year."

While Susan is still "100% athlete", she does balance that alongside work at Leeds University: "I do research in joint replacements, and have a background in mechanical engineering. There are times when you think that you'd like to be an athlete all the time, but most of the time I really like the balance."

And how is Leeds as a training base? "Sometimes I think Leeds is a bit like Boulder - there are plenty of top runners, athletes and Olympians here! My coach is Steve Jones (British Marathon record holder, based in Boulder), but I train here with Phil Townsend's group at Leeds City. It's a great group, it really keeps you on your toes, I enjoy it and it is a very positive environment. From his own days as a successful runner, Steve also knows the benefits of group training and there are plenty of guys there to push me."

PUMA ambassador Susan Partridge is running the Great North Run on the 7th September. Pick up your PUMA millionth finisher Great North Run t-shirt and Faas 600 v2 from www.StartFitness.co.uk today. #ForeverFaster


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