Marathoner Jekaterina Patjuk visited the "Staadionijutud" podcast to discuss the highs and lows of long-distance running and her battle for an Olympic ticket this summer.
Patjuk, who recently celebrated her 38th birthday, is the Estonian record holder in the 3,000 m steeplechase, but she has focused on the marathon distance of 42 km over the last few years. In December, she finished a marathon in Valencia in third-fastest time in Estonian history - 2:34.34.
That result might just be enough to give her a ticket to the Olympic Games set to take place this summer but the Estonian hopes to participate in a run in Copenhagen to get even closer to the Olympic standard of 2:29.30.
"When I started training for marathons, I understood how small Tallinn is," Patjuk said. She tends to run faster than most and even cyclists get in the way at times. "I even had a cyclist praise me once about my speed. I ran past them and understood they were going through it."
Growing up in a Russian-speaking household in Tallinn, Patjuk admits that she mostly trains for herself, but without the people close to her, participating in trainings and competitions would get complicated. Her partner helps her with her tempo trainings by cycling next to her but she has other helpers as well.
"Trainer Harri [Lemberg] takes everything that happens to me lightly. I can cry at times, but he will still say the training was difficult but normal. I think he is used to everything that happens to me. Another person is my mom, who is always asking me how I am doing. She does not know anything about technique or the sport, but when she watches my competitions, she sees if it was easy or hard for me to run. She feels and understands it somehow," Patjuk said, adding that her nieces and nephews are also vocal in support.
The podcast in Estonian is available on Soundcloud.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste