Michał Kwiatkowski and Freddy Ovett complete New York Marathon

Pros swap cycling for running during racing off-season

Clock12:15, Monday 6th November 2023
Michał Kwiatkowski can add a marathon to his list of palmarès

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Michał Kwiatkowski can add a marathon to his list of palmarès

Whilst most professional cyclists use their short off-season to take a break from riding and training, others take the opportunity to take up new challenges and chase other sporting goals.

This weekend, Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) and gravel privateer Freddy Ovett were firmly in the latter camp, with both completing the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Cross-training with running is not an uncommon pursuit, as several pros would attest, but an official marathon is something relatively few complete.

Read more: Cycling, running or the gym: what’s the best 30-minute workout?

Former world champion and Tour de France stage winner Kwiatkowski undertook the world’s largest marathon with his wife Agata, ticking off what he called a bucket list run.

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Time-wise, the Pole didn’t quite follow in the footsteps of his fellow Ineos-supported athlete and unofficial marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, setting a time of 4:11:34.

Among the other 51,000 finishers in New York was another cyclist, Freddy Ovett. A name that doesn’t look out of place on a running race results sheet, Ovett is the son of British middle distance runner Steve Ovett, and started out his sporting career as a runner.

Since taking up cycling, Ovett has ridden for the development teams of BMC and Israel-Premier Tech, but has most recently turned his focus to gravel, racing in 2023 as a supported privateer.

With his background in running, it’s perhaps no surprise that Ovett set a very respectable time in the New York Marathon, finishing the 26.2-mile effort in 2:37:18, beating the 2:45:29 benchmark set in his last marathon in Berlin in 2022.

“That was wild,” was how Ovett described his day in an Instagram story sharing his time.

Ovett’s run had indeed drawn the attention of the aforementioned Eliud Kipchoge, with the Kenyan commenting on Ovett’s Instagram account before the race.

“Happy to see you in New York,” he wrote. “I wish you a great run on Sunday. Show the world the cyclists can run marathon too.”

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