Can footballers actually cover the not-so-easy distance of 42.195 km? Well, data shows that they cover an average distance of 10 km per match, break into almost 40 explosive sprints and can easily hit running speeds of over 30 km/hr!
In fact, Arjen Robben recorded the fastest speed on the football field at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio when he made a darting run for the goal at a stunning speed of 37 km/hr in the match where the Netherlands drubbed Spain 5-1. Meanwhile, many others like Gareth Bale, Antonio Valencia, Hector Bellerin and Sadio Mane regularly clock 34-35 kms/hr in league matches these days.
Given these statistics, running a marathon does not seem like an uphill task for most footballers. Sportskeeda thus looks at 5 famous footballers who have run marathons in the years gone by...
#1 Michael Owen
The English international with a record 89 caps and millions of fans spread across the five clubs of Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Stoke City ran his first ever long distance race at the London Marathon in 2014. He finished the race with an impressive timing of 3 hours, 45 minutes and 43 seconds – beating off competition from other celebrities hitting the tarmac alongside him apart from Olympian Mo Farah.
His effort apparently raised over £75,000 for his three chosen charities namely Prostate Cancer UK and local charities (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the scientists of University of Manchester).
#2 Edwin van der Sar
The former Netherlands and former Manchester United great, Van der Sar may not have been as proficient in running long distances over the football field as his outfield colleagues, yet he competed in the New York Marathon in 2011 and finished the course in a credible time of 4 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds. With his run, he raised money for Headway, a UK charity that supports people affected by brain injury.
This was in light of the fact that Edwin's wife Annemarie suffered a brain haemorrhage in December 2009 and though she subsequently recovered, Van der Sar wanted to raise money for families of those affected by brain injury.
#3 Luis Enrique
An Olympic gold medalist with Spain, a three-time La Liga winner as a player, Luis Enrique went on to claim the treble with Barcelona in his first year as a manager. This speaks volumes of the ability of the man. But, something unique that he has to his name is the feat of running marathons and taking part in triathlons.
In the break when he had retired as a player and prior to taking up his managerial duties, Luis ran four marathons; the 2005 New York City Marathon, the Amsterdam Marathon in 2006, the Firenze Marathon in Florence in 2007 and the dessert Moroccan Marathon des Sables in 2008.
#4 Pavel Nedved
The former Czech Republic international who won the Ballon d'Or in 2003 and the Golden Ball for a record six times was particularly lauded for his brilliance on the wings. And well, he put the same skills to some greater use even after retiring when he ran the half and full Prague marathon.
The Juventus legend completed the half-marathon in 2010 clocking 1 hour 49 minutes and 44 seconds. Promoting himself to the full marathon in the same city in 2012, he completed the entire stretch in 3 hours 50 minutes and two seconds.
#5 Dwight Yorke
The former Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney, and Sunderland footballer played in the capacity of a forward during his playing career, a factor that might have boosted his confidence when he completed the London Marathon in 2011, clocking 3 hours 31 minutes and 56 seconds.
"I've always been a decent long-distance runner," Yorke was quoted as saying to The Guardian prior to the event. "I've always been able to run. When they've put on running sessions in football I've always come out on top. The furthest I ever ran before this would have been half a marathon at school, but I wouldn't be here if I had doubts. I'm confident."
And he stood by his words, not only crossing the finish line with a decent timing while also raising money for a charity cause named Vision that works for blind and visually impaired children.