Amélie & Kimiko: Marathon Women
Published December 06, 2010 12:00
It has been one full season now since Amélie Mauresmo retired, but she has kept herself busy in the tennis community. She attended Roland Garros and the US Open, tried her hand at TV commentating, and even dabbled in coaching, helping fellow French player Michael Llodra in the grass court season.
But the 31-year-old also hasn't abandoned her own athletic pursuits.
On November 7, the 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion accomplished another major sporting feat - running the New York City marathon. She did so for the Sport For Life foundation, a Swiss based group dedicated to promoting awareness about the benefits of sports and supporting young athletes. Mauresmo has been an ambassador for them since November 2009.
The Saint-Germain-en-Laye native showed she hasn't lost any of the athletic abilities that led her to 25 career titles, finishing the race with a time of 3:40:20.
"I did the marathon because of a bet with Xavier Moreau, my former trainer," she told French website Sport.fr after the race. "I said if I had to do one, it would be New York. I trained hard for two months with Xavier. I did it in three hours and 40 minutes. I was happy - I was aiming for less than four hours. As a player I was always going for the win - this was another challenge for me to prove myself."
She doesn't know if she's going to run another marathon anytime soon, but she isn't going to sit back now and spend her retirement resting. Rather, Mauresmo says she always wants to try new activities that push her as an athlete.
"What interests me is testing myself with individual challenges, training for them and keeping in shape," she said. "This time it was a marathon, next time might be something different. Variety is important."
Three other former tennis players also raced in New York, all from the men's tour - Yannick Noah, who Mauresmo watched win the 1983 Roland Garros title as a child, Justin Gimelstob and Jonathan Stark. They all completed the race in respectable times, but finished at least 20 minutes behind the Frenchwoman.
Mauresmo is not the only WTA player to have participated in a marathon - Kimiko Date-Krumm also ran the 26 mile, 385 yard-long race while she was retired, completing the 2004 London marathon. The 40-year-old, who made a triumphant return to the WTA in 2009, lists the marathon as one of the reasons she has been able to continue playing tennis at such a high level.
"When I was young I ate healthy food, not so much junk food," Date-Krumm told Reuters after her quarterfinal match at the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in November. "I didn't drink, for example, Coca Cola, no Sprite. My mother said it was too much sugar. At that time water wasn't popular in Japan... so I drank only tea and I didn't eat so many fat things.
"Although everybody is doing many exercises and every day going to the gym more than me, I think Asians have a lucky body. The DNA is different, and especially my body is different. I did the London marathon. I ran it in 2004 in three hours, 27 minutes and 47 seconds! So now I have a lot of stamina."