Running in her first marathon just a week after finishing the tennis season, Caroline Wozniacki clocked an impressive time of 3:26 to finish the New York City Marathon on Sunday. While her stamina on the tennis court has never been questioned, few would have expected such a strong time from the 26-year-old, who was in Singapore just a week ago playing her final WTA match of the season.
How good was Wozniacki's time? Good enough to qualify her for the Boston Marathon, which has a qualifying time of 3:35. Wozniacki said she won't run in Boston next April, but the fact that she bested her goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes without ideal training gave her a reason believe she'll run another marathon one day.
"After 15 kilometers, I was like, 'Oh, I have to do another one.' They said, 'Wait, don't say that yet. There's still a long ways to go.' At 20 miles, 6 miles left, I'm like, 'I'm never running another marathon again.' So I kind of changed my tune but just kept grinding out there."
Wozniacki averaged just under eight minutes per mile and her pace rarely wavered. Of her 29 split times, 21 came in with an average mile time of less than eight minutes. Wozniacki's time was the fastest of any active tennis player at a marathon (it's believed she's the first active player to run one) and bested Amelie Mauresmo's New York City Marathon time of 3:40, which she ran after she retired in 2010. Mauresmo ran the Paris Marathon two years later, posting a time of 3:16.
Wozniacki actually spoke to Mauresmo, now Andy Murray's coach, to get some tips for her big day. "She told me it's so hard, and she said, 'I don't understand how you can do this while you're playing?' She was encouraging me, but at the same time, she was shaking her head a little bit, thought I was a little crazy. I think I beat her time here, didn't I? Wow, so, yeah, I'm proud of that."
Smiling as she crossed the finish line, Wozniacki was greeted by her good buddy Serena Williams, who has been in New York to support her. The two took in a New York Rangers game on Saturday night, where Wozniacki was spotted doing some aggressive carbo-loading:
Wozniacki laughed when asked about her unorthodox pre-race preparations. "Honestly, I think I've done everything you're not supposed to do before a marathon." she said. "I had a Halloween party three days ago and came back at like 4:00 in the morning. Two days ago I chilled a little bit, but I've been really busy. Last night I actually didn't have much of a dinner because I went to the Rangers game, and I just got a little bit [to eat]. You're supposed to load up on carbs, but I didn't really have too much time for that."
Serena was at the finish line, where she gave Wozniacki her marathon medal. She even got the Dane's immediate reaction after the race. Serena Williams, intrepid reporter:
En video slået op af Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) i
Wozniacki told reporters she was incredibly proud of herself after that effort, which was even more impressive considering she had never run more than 13.1 miles before Sunday. Her goal was just to finish the race because anything less would be, as she told reporters in Singapore during the WTA Finals, "embarrassing".
Well Wozniacki did more than finish. She posted an incredible time and has raised over $80,000 for Team For Kids. You can still donate here.
Here are some of the best reaction on Twitter to Wozniacki's run:
Well done to @CaroWozniaki and welcome to the Marathon club.— Paula Radcliffe (@paulajradcliffe) November 2, 2014
And good friend Serena was there at the finish! Put the medal on Caro! pic.twitter.com/gyIk7nHTgN— LaWanda (@lawanda50) November 2, 2014
Congrats to @CaroWozniacki on completing today's NY marathon. We are so proud of you!— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) November 2, 2014