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Athletics: Moen to attack European best 20km record

Last updated 29 days ago | By AFP

FILE Kenya's Betsy Saina celebrates as she places first in the Women's Group during the 42nd edition of the Paris Marathon on April 8, 2018 in Paris. / AFP PHOTO

Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen will continue taking aim at Europe’s distance running records when he attacks the long standing continental one hour mark on home soil in Kristians on August 7.

Moen’s target is the distance of 20,944m set by the Dutch runner Jos Hermens back in 1976, almost 15 years before Moen was born. It has stood the test of time and is the second oldest official European athletics record.

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“I went close to it en route to breaking the European 25,000m record in Oslo last month, I was 241m short when 60 minutes were up. If I am honest, it’s a bit more meaningful to me than the 25,000m so I’m very motivated.

“I’m going to talk to my coach Renato Canova but it’s possible we might modify my tactics a little for this race. However, I will have pacemakers for the first 10-12 kilometres and hopefully they can take me a bit further.
“Then comes the hard part. I know I will probably be running for about 20-25 minutes on my own. It will be tough but Hermens set the record without pacemakers,” he said.

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Despite coming down from altitude for his races, Moen has been putting in the kilometres at around 1800 metres and training around Juvasshytta, just a few kilometres from the ascent to the highest mountain in northern European, Galdhopiggen.

“I have been here for just under a month already and I’ll be here for another month, until just after the record attempt,” added the 29-year-old former European marathon record holder. Moen was the first European to run under two hours six minutes for the classic distance when he won the 2017 Fukuoka Marathon in 2:05:48.

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“I was aiming for the London Marathon in April but when that race got cancelled and overseas travel became complicated because of the Covid-19 situation, I started looking for other targets.”

“Training where I am at the moment is different to when I am at altitude in Kenya or Sestriere (in the Italian Alps) but it is still very enjoyable in so many ways. When I’m out running, I can turn around and see a glacier (the Styggebreen glacier).

However, it can get colder than you might imagine. A few days ago, the temperatures went down to minus two or three (degrees Celsius),” joked Moen.

Moen has an affinity for the Kristiansand Stadium where he will attempt the one hour record. At the same venue in August 2019, he broke the Norwegian 10,000m record in 27:24.78, the third fastest by a European last year.