Nienke Brinkman Crushed a 2:22 within the 2022 Rotterdam Marathon … and Will Preserve Crushing the Trails

A 2:22 marathon after solely two years of operating — it’s the stuff of legend, virtually too ridiculous to be plausible. However that’s largely what The Netherlands’ Nienke Brinkman did on the April 10, 2022, Rotterdam Marathon, and he or she did it after a yr of racing on trails too.

Try iRunFar’s information story on Nienke’s 2:22:51 run at Rotterdam.

“Effectively, yeah, operating as a sport began for me through the COVID-19 pandemic, so I assume it’s three years, not two now,” Brinkman shortly clarified. “However I used to be all the time taking part in subject hockey, so it’s not that I didn’t run.”

Nienke Brinkman of The Netherlands takes second on the 2022 NN Rotterdam Marathon. Photograph: Professional Photographs/Sipa USA by way of AP Pictures

The 28-year-old provides higher historical past, “I might have liked to have performed on the highest degree, however I used to be simply on the second group. There’s the best league after which there’s the nationwide group, they usually’ll play Germany, India, Argentina. There’s not so many nations, it’s not that acquainted.”

Depend me among the many subject hockey unfamiliar, and so I press on how a lot operating may be concerned, whether or not in a sport or in any other case. “I’d heat up earlier than the match, earlier than coaching, however that’s 10 minutes round a pitch, just a few train to make the muscle tissue unfastened. After which as soon as every week coaching for operating, I don’t know, approach, however subject hockey is rather more explosive, numerous sprints.”

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Nienke Brinkman grew up taking part in subject hockey. Photograph courtesy of Nienke Brinkman.

In 2019, Brinkman moved to Zurich, Switzerland, for a Ph.D. program in geophysics and misplaced one aggressive sporting group whereas gaining one other. “I attempted subject hockey [in Switzerland], however the degree was not the extent I used to be in search of. I felt like I did nothing, and I like sports activities, I like to return again drained.” She turned to biking, going to the health club, and operating.

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She educated with mates towards the 2020 Amsterdam Marathon. It was canceled courtesy of COVID-19 and Brinkman as a substitute did a marathon-distance run with mates. She ran 2:39. “That was and not using a coach, and never very structured, and I noticed there’s greater than this [within my potential],” Brinkman mentioned of the early discovery.

Swiss triathlete Benjamin Ueltschi began teaching her. She gained the Zermatt Marathon in 2021 and — in the true benchmark for path operating elite, was a daily chief or almost so throughout final yr’s Golden Path World Sequence in Europe. Brinkman was second on the 2021 Sierre-Zinal, for example. She subsequent leveled it once more then, operating 2:26 on the December 2021 Valencia Marathon.

“I’d come from the path season, race after race, and was mentally drained, so switching to roads was very nice, an excellent transition. It was good to focus a block on the roads and the preparation went very well,” she mentioned, smiling that she overachieved versus her sub-2:30 Valencia purpose.

“I needed to get the European [Athletics] Championships Marathon restrict, however I additionally obtained the World [Athletics] Championships Marathon restrict, shocked myself.”

Caught up, I flip Brinkman again to her Rotterdam Marathon success. She’s now competing for Netherlands-based however internationally aggressive NN Working Workforce and benefited from a four-week coaching cycle in Iten, Kenya.

“100 and 80 kilometers per week,” Brinkman mentioned of her typical coaching quantity, and we each attempt to do the fast math to miles. It’s about 112 miles. “Typically I’ll do two runs per day, however it’s largely one in depth session, intervals, observe, hill repetitions.”

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Nienke Brinkman excels on the street and off the street. Photograph: Lars Gebraad

At Rotterdam, she locked into Dutch nationwide file tempo early, behind two male pacers — one dropped at 25k and the opposite at 32k — and ran a freakin’ detrimental cut up: 71:52 by midway, after which 70:59 for the half marathon coming residence.

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Brinkman was ecstatic and shortly draped within the Dutch nationwide flag under her big smile. Her voice nonetheless sparkles on the achievement. The previous file had stood since 2003.

It’s taken some time, however I’m lastly able to ask the query I actually wish to know, and what many of the iRunFar group in all probability desires to know too. After a world-class marathon efficiency, will she return to the paths? I anticipate a solution, however Brinkman surprises me.

“I plan to go to the Golden Path World Sequence [again]. Zegama [Marathon] earlier than the 2 U.S. races,” she answered with out pause, and now I smile. She cuts me off to say: “And I’m additionally doing the European [Athletics] Championships [Marathon].”

Zegama is Might 29, 2022, in Spain. The European Athletics Championships Marathon is August 15, in Munich, Germany. The Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado is September 17, and the Flagstaff Sky Peaks race is September 25 in Arizona. Wow, Brinkman’s going for it, and I’m nonetheless enthusiastic about it myself hours after interviewing her.

I understand that Brinkman will then miss the July 18 World Athletics Championships Marathon in Eugene, Oregon.

“Can’t do each, only one month away,” Brinkman shrugs it off whereas additionally pointing to her path plans. “And touring, a lot much less touring [with the European Athletics Championships Marathon]. I nonetheless have a job, and I’ve an opportunity for a excessive rating at that race. And I believe the circumstances in Munich may very well be like Paris 2024, which is de facto my purpose.”

I didn’t ask, however affirm it shortly after we end talking — in fact, the 2024 Summer time Olympics are in Paris, France, and so Brinkman’s making large targets.

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Brinkman plans to race trails and roads on the highest degree then, not less than this yr.

“My base coaching for street and path is identical. Even after I’m racing trails, I put in observe classes. I’ll simply be just a little extra trail-specific then, and the opposite approach round earlier than roads. I don’t lose one or the opposite. On the finish of a street cycle, I’ll skip the hill classes, but when I’m going to path, I’ll do extra hill repetitions than the opposite in depth stuff,” she defined of the makes-sense coaching.

Brinkman’s enthusiastic about all of it, however speaks calmly, whilst I gush about her spectacular racing and daring schedule. “I’m actually wanting ahead to the U.S. races, for all three [trail races] I’m actually excited. They’re all new,” she beamed.

“I by no means had it in my thoughts that I might cease racing trails. I actually wish to mix [trails and roads], particularly this yr. I strongly consider that may assist me.”

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Nienke Brinkman coaching. Photograph: Lars Gebraad