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Friday, April 9, 2010

Sad to report: Catherine Ndereba has withdrawn from the Boston Marathon

Someone very recently asked me what my biggest disappointment was since beginning to work on WinCatherine: The Story of Wincatherine Nyambura Ndereba and at the time (only days ago) said that not raising the funds more quickly was the biggest disappointment; Until today. Today I can honestly say is the biggest disappointment so far; today is the day I learned that Catherine will not be able to run the Boston Marathon on April 19th. She has an injury to the Piriformis Muscle which connects the sacrum to the upper portion of the femur. (If you look on Wikipedia you’ll see that the muscle almost rests against the tailbone)  She got the word from her doctor that he does not recommend she run Boston; he fears that due to the hilly nature of the Boston course she will aggravate the injury to the point where she may possibly do irreparable damage or face an even longer recovery time. For a 38 year old runner, that just isn’t an option. I just spoke with her doctor and he feels that the recovery should take anywhere from 4-6 weeks and that she will be able to do light running sooner.

I am so disappointed for Catherine; I can only imagine what it is like to train for something for so long only to have to withdraw due to injury. I wanted to meet with Catherine and interview her on camera but she was not ready for that. I wanted to capture her emotions at the time but I will talk to her about it on camera at another time. I know it will be important for me to discuss it with her on camera because I know a lot of athletes out there can relate to having an untimely injury. What she did say is that “it is quite frustrating; when you do a marathon you want to do your best” and she says she has missed a lot of speed work due to the injury. She was hoping to be cleared to run but when she got the news, she and her manager, Lisa, discussed everything and they both agree that it is not worth the risk. This comes as a big surprise as most people know that Catherine rarely is injured badly enough to miss a race. Sure, she’s had minor injuries but nothing that has caused her to withdraw from a major marathon event. She said she hasn’t been able to train properly since March 8th; which was a few weeks before she went to Portugal for the Lisbon Marathon. I know Catherine has a very high tolerance for pain so I wonder if that tolerance allowed her to go on longer than someone without such a high tolerance would have. She has been able to do light runs, but when she tries to speed up she can’t and long runs are out as well. Catherine has always talked openly about listening to her body and that being a crucial part of her success so this was a decision I am sure she did not take lightly!

So just as Catherine will have to adjust her training schedule due to this unexpected event, I will adjust as well. I am experiencing disappointment on a different level because I have been planning to film her in Boston and all the time and preparations that go along with that. But, that is what makes documentary interesting; you have to go with the flow so I am re-grouping and continuing to plan a great week of shooting. I have a lot of good interviews lined up so I’m looking forward to it. The good news is that Catherine may still attend the Boston Marathon and race week as a spectator! 

Catherine really put things into perspective, as she always does. She said: “Boston is every year; always next year”


  1. Wow, I feel so sad for her. Please tell her I'll be praying for her speedy recovery. I had the same piriformis issue three months ago and with some help from my physical therapy, I was never off of running except for a few days and although I still am sore at night, I'm recovered! Please tell Catherine that I'll have her in my heart during that marathon. Perhaps some of her determination, heart and speed can be bestowed on me and that would make me truly HAPPY! I will definitely dedicate my run to her...again, please express my sympathy and give her a big hug from me.

  2. Meg,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes. I will definitely pass them on to Catherine and I know it will warm her heart that you dedicate your run to her! Please get in touch with me at; maybe we can meet up in Boston.

  3. Catherine is a smart woman. It must have been a hard decision when she has so many people counting on her to run. It's a sad time when you decide to pull out of a race after training for months. But sometimes you have to sacrifice the short term for the long term goals.

    I can understand your disappointment Stefani, I admire your honesty. I hope you enjoy Boston. It maybe bittersweet but hopefully you will be caught up in the excitement and get some great contacts and interviews.

  4. Thanks, Carmel! I hope to enjoy Boston and still get all the interviews I need and have planned! You are right in having to sacrifice the short term for the long term!


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