Cynthia Holderer and Duriel Hardy are both psyched to run the Berlin Marathon

Buoyed by a 1:04:52 PR at Grandma’s Half Marathon in June, Austin’s Duriel Hardy, a neurologist at Dell Children’s Medical Center, kicked off his marathon training for the BMW Berlin Marathon on July 1 and by early August notched a 22 miler. Berlin boasts the fastest marathon course in the world, and Hardy hopes to duck under 2:18 and get a 2024 Olympic qualifying time. He qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon trials with a 2:18:21 at the California International Marathon in 2019, but the new standard requires a 2:18:00 or better or a 1:03:00 or better in the half marathon.

“Grandma’s was a nice confidence booster. That told me, okay, I can still do this,” said Hardy, who’s coached by New York-based Brendan Martin. “The plan was to have a 12-week build-up for Berlin. The heat has been challenging, to say the least. I’ve definitely improved on my hydration.”

Despite the heat and his full-time physician duties, Hardy has gotten up to some one hundred-mile weeks.

“That’s new territory for me,” he said. “One thing that’s been helpful is a lot of strengthening exercises I’ve kept up with. That’s allowed me to handle mileage better.”

To avoid the heat, Hardy usually runs around 6:00 a.m. “I’ve been getting in a lot of work at marathon pace,” he said. “And I’ll do sets of 1000s or shorter on the track. By throwing in the faster stuff, it allows me to open up and keeps my legs fresh—I’m totally a track guy! The marathon is a challenging distance and there are so many things that are out of your control. I actually don’t have a number in mind for my finishing time. My goal is to always give it everything I have, and if I can do that, I’ll be happy, whether it’s a 2:20 or 2:15.”

Hardy’s not the only Austin runner headed for Berlin. Cynthia Holderer, who posted a 2:56:07 at the Eugene Marathon last May, is psyched and ready. Just this week she knocked out a speedy set of 12 800s at 2:50 each to top off an eight-week marathon build-up that began at the end of July.

“I had a short build back from Eugene in May, so this build-up was on a shorter timeline and my coach’s focus was ‘don’t burn out with this heat’,” said Holderer.

Holderer upped her mileage to more than 80 a week, peaking at an impressive 90. She built four 20-plus mile runs into those weeks, wrapping the build-up with a 22-miler on September 3. In addition to her impressive 10-12 800s for speed-work, she’s also been doing longer mid-week workouts with 9-10 miles of tempo running.

“My goal for Berlin is to break 2:50,” Holderer said.

Upcoming Races: Friday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m., the Zilker Relays, Zilker Park, Austin. Saturday, September 10 at 8:00 a.m., the Gruene 10K/5K at Gruene Hall. Sunday, September 18 at 7:30 a.m., the Livestrong 5K/10K at Auditorium Shores.