Just days after the women’s tennis season ends, former world number Caroline Wozniacki will do what no other active professional athlete has done before: run the New York City Marathon.
The Danish tennis player announced her decision to run the New York Marathon in the weeks following her break up with fiancé Rory McIlroy. The pair had planned to get married in November before McIlroy ended their relationship. Now instead of walking down the aisle, come November 2nd, Wozniacki is hoping she’ll be ready to finish the New York Marathon – even if it means crawling over the finish line.
Wozniacki will be running for Team for Kids, a charity that raises funds for running programs for kids who have limited access to regular physical activity. In an interview with CNN’s Open Court, the tennis player revealed that while running the New York Marathon has always been on her bucket list, the chance to run for Team for Kids gave her the extra incentive to run.
She said: ‘I’m trying to get kids into sports and breaking their boundaries and aiming for goals that are maybe outside their comfort zones. So I thought I’d be a great inspiration if I did something that was outside mine.’
Wozniacki is not first professional athlete or indeed the first tennis player to run a marathon. In fact, just this year former tennis player and 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli completed 3 marathons in 7 days.
However, what makes Wozniacki’s feat impressive is that she’s the first to do so while still keeping up with a full, and often gruelling, tennis schedule. Wozniacki has had to juggle tennis matches with clocking up as many training miles as she can. She’s remained determined , even pushing her to go for a 15.5KM run following a 3 and half hour long tennis match.
While training has been tough, Wozniacki as admitted that she’s enjoyed it, ‘I love running, I feel free and I get to clear my mind. It’s the best feeling.’
The good news for Wozniacki that her hard work is paying of as she recently completed an 18.62km run in just 1 hour and 26 minutes. If she runs at this pace during the New York Marathon, it is possible that she will finish her first ever marathon in less than 4 hours.
But a good time is not the objective for Wozniacki, she is just looking forward to the crowd support and the experience and more importantly, finishing the race.
She added: ‘Once I finish, once I get through the finish line, I’m going to be so relieved. It’s going to be such a huge achievement for me.’