With many of our recent Fast Friday features focusing on our Fast Beyond Fifty (FBF) and Running Through Menopause (RTM) athletes, it’s nice to remember that our younger, slightly less experienced runners are lighting up our forum as well with incredible results and PBs.
This week, Keenan Hunn is that athlete. By “less experienced” I mean no disrespect, I only say that as Keenan has only been running for two years, and boy, does he have some talent?
Keenan hails from the small town of Hillcrest, KZN, in South Africa. A very scenic, yet mountainous area that every year sees thousands of runners battling their way through the streets, either towards Pietermaritzburg or Durban (depending on the route that year) in a “little” race known as the Comrades Marathon.
This was soon to become Keenan’s main goal event…
He started running at the age of 21 (now 23 years old), purely as a hobby and to keep fit and healthy. Soon enough he set his sights on his first half marathon, only 5 months into running I might add, and ran a time of 1 hour 58 minutes.
As a result, he decided that a marathon was his next challenge. He set his sights on the Soweto Marathon in 2019 and started training for it in the hopes to run a Sub 4-hour marathon and qualifying for Comrades. In his own words:
“I’m not going to lie, I battled to commit to the program, battling to wake up in the mornings which I still do to this day.Keenan Hunn
Come race weekend, I still remember seeing Coach Parry and Brad the day before the race at the number collection but was too afraid to go up to them and introduce myself because I knew I hadn’t been good and followed the program haha. Thought they might search my name and look at the schedule.”
Keenan ran the race in a time of 5 hours 10 minutes.
Feeling very disappointed in his time after missing out on the qualifying time of 4:50 for Comrades, he decided to use this as a learning experience and realized the importance of following a structured program.
He set his next goal, stuck to the Sub 4 hour marathon program and just three months later, ran the Hillcrest Marathon in 3 hours 58 minutes, qualifying for his first Comrades.
That is an improvement of over an hour in just over three months. Wow!
As is often the case though with runners new to the sport and being as ambitious as Keenan was, he had his fair share of injuries and was ruled out of running with Plantar Fasciitis for three months.
Having been forced to stay home as a result of COVID, this offered the perfect opportunity to get sufficient rest and really focus on his rehab and strength.
After returning from injury and running at more comfortable paces, Keenan soon realised that he was running well again and sneaking paces under 5min/km at some points.
His goal now is to run a Sub 3 hour marathon. Following the advice of the Coach Parry team, he has started targeting some shorter distances in order to work on improving his speed.
Keenan ran his first race of 2021, earlier in April.
It was a 25km race and here is where the magic happened. He clocked a time for the 25km of 1 hour 38 minutes.
Running through the 15km mark in 56:25 (previous 15km PB was 1 hour 4 minutes), he went on to cross the 21.1km mark in 1 hour 20 minutes, smashing his previous 21.1km PB by 7 minutes (previous 21.1km PB was 1 hour 27 minutes).
After his incredible run he posted this in the success forum on the Coach Parry app:
Keenan attributes his success to the following:
“With the help from Coach Parry and his team, I learnt what worked and didn’t work for me to reach the point I am at today. Listening to CP podcasts and watching their YouTube videos in my free time also helped me improve my running and still does today.
The most important are rest, hydration and nutrition during these marathons as well as preparation and in general. I came to realise I had an underlying talent. My runs and mileage improved every month.”
The goal is still to run that sub 3-hour marathon and Keenan will be attempting that later this year at the Comrades Virtual race.
“I came to realise that if you want something so badly, you can achieve it. It’s even easier if you love running. Fingers crossed!”Keenan Hunn
It has really been exciting being part of your journey Keenan and for the whole Coach Parry team, we wish you all the best for that Sub 3 hour marathon. We can’t wait to hear your feedback…