© Copyright – 2019 – Athletics Illustrated
Charlotte Purdue from Windsor, Berkshire, located west of London, is the third-fastest English marathon runner behind Mara Yamauchi and former world record holder Paula Radcliffe.
The 28-year-old’s personal best over the distance is 2:25:38, which she set at the 2019 London Marathon. She will run in London in 2020 as the event will act as the British Olympic trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Sunday, Purdue demonstrated fitness by winning the Sanyo Ladies Half-Marathon in Okayama, Japan in a new personal best of 1:08:45, which according to her coach Nic Bideau suggests current 2:22 or 2:23 marathon potential.
After a series of injuries, Purdue was looking for a change towards 2014-2015. She continues to live in England while visiting Melbourne during the winter for the warmer training. Her English club is the Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletics Club.
“When she started with me during the first year, we were just focused on keeping her healthy and to get in a good base,” said Bideau. “The marathon was always the plan. And I figured it would take until 2020 to know how good she can be. She seems to be capable of 2:22 – 2.23 range from work she has done during the last six months. But [of course] she still has to actually do it.”
Bideau is an Australian coach who maintains a camp in Teddington, UK on the west side of London.
He is the Director of the Melbourne International Track Club. He coaches many international-level athletes and is married to one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes Sonia O’Sullivan, who competed mainly in middle-distance track and the 5000m event to great success.
Purdue had tremendous success as a junior and youth cross-country runner, earning at least seven medals during the European Cross Country Championships. She would like to get back to cross-country one day.
Asked if Purdue is a tough athlete, he replied, “super tough”.
5,000m -15:23.40 – 2010
10,000m – 32:03.55 – 2012
Half-Marathon – 1:08:45 – 2019
Marathon – 2:25:38 – 2019
Christopher Kelsall: Congratulations on the win at the Sanyo Ladies Half-Marathon in Okayama, Japan. What were your expectations going in?
Charlotte Purdue: I knew I was in good shape from training, so I expected to run well. I wanted to win the race and that was my main goal – I was not too focused on running a particular time.
CK: Can you take me through the race?
CP: The Japanese girls went off fast, so I just sat in until about 7K to go and then we went up a hill and I found myself in the lead. I pushed on from there and managed to get a good lead.
CK: It appears that you moved up in distance after your 2012 foot injury. Was the cause of the injury the impetus for you to move up?
CP: I have always preferred the longer distances, so when I kept getting injured from the track training I was doing it made sense for me to move up to the marathon earlier than planned. I prefer the training and can tolerate higher volumes of mileage.
CK: What does a typical training week look like for you? What volume of mileage do you get up to? I suppose it varies depending on the time of year.
CP: I run about 110 miles per week and 120 during marathon training. I usually do 2-3 interval sessions per week and one long run. The rest of the days are easy recovery days.
CK: If you are doing three interval sessions per week, what sort of quality work were you doing that got you injured?
CP: My training with my previous coach was a lot more intense – the easy run days were pretty fast and the sessions were a lot harder.
CK: How did you settle on Nic Bideau as a coach?
CP: I first met Nic at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and when I was looking to change coaches I saw the results that his athletes were getting and thought it would be a great fit. His group goes over to the UK every summer to train.
CK: What precipitated the move to Australia?
CP: I don’t actually live in Australia. Nic lives over here and my training group is based here. I come over every year in the British winter to escape the cold and train with my group. It’s a great place to be.
CK: You were quite prolific in cross-country culminating in a very solid 14th place at Worlds in 2011. Is cross-country still an event for you or are you sticking to the roads exclusively?
CP: No, I’d love to go back to the cross-country one day. It is just about finding the right time and fitting it in my schedule.
CK: You came out quite vocal against Sebastian Coe for allowing the 2019 World Athletics Marathon to take place in Doha in near 40-degree heat. Can you describe what you saw and experienced on those roads?
CP: Yes – the conditions were dangerous and the whole organisation of the women’s marathon was shocking. It’s not something that I would like to be a part of again, it was very uninspiring.
CK: How do you feel about the International Olympic Committee moving the marathon and race-walk event 800K north of Tokyo to Sapporo?
CP: I think it’s a good idea. Having the athlete’s interests at heart – the move will be much better for a good competition, as the conditions will be a little better than Tokyo. Japan knows how to put on a good road race so I am sure they will provide a great atmosphere and venue.
CK: Your London performance (2:25:38) that got you into Doha, was a significant personal best by four minutes and makes you the third-fastest English runner all-time, which is saying something considering Mara Yamauchi and Paula Radcliffe’s times. In London 2019, when the pacemaker did not start, what were you thinking?
CP: I just had to quickly decide a new race plan and stick with it. I knew I was in good shape so in my mind, I wanted to run 2:25 – I set off at that pace and ran my own race.
CK: Did you buy a Louis Vuitton bag to reward yourself?
CP: Ha-ha no I haven’t yet!!
CK: Switching gears, considering the Russian debacle and the spate of positive tests coming out of Kenya – one-per-week in 2019 – Do you get the sense that the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit are catching up with doping?
CP: Yes – it’s great to see so much progress being made!
CK: What are your 2020 goals?
CP: My main goal for 2020 is to make the Olympic team. I want to run well at the London Marathon which is our trials. Outside of running, I run a coaching company with my partner – Purdue Performance – so I’d like to grow this as much as possible and help others achieve their goals.