Antoine Daubigny (left) and Craig Holmes (right). HNH will be supporting Antoine for the New York Marathon.
HNH Corporate Finance Analyst Antoine Daubigny has gained a coveted starting-place in the 2019 New York Marathon.
Daubigny is understandably excited at gaining entry to one of the world’s six major marathon events, alongside Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin and Chicago.
We sat down with the 25-year-old to understand more about the entry process, who he is fundraising for, why he enjoys running marathons and what his plan is preparing for the big day.
What’s the entry process into the New York Marathon?
To enter the New York marathon is really hard. Many people around the world want to run this marathon. So, they conduct a random draw from all of the entries. I wasn’t selected from the random draw, which was no big surprise. That led me to choose the option of running for a charity and thankfully that’s how I was given my chance.
On their website, you select your charity of choice and as long as you agree to fund-raise a certain amount, they guarantee you an entry to the event. Even if you get picked in the random draw, you can still run for charity, so that was always my plan. Now I just have to raise more money than I may have otherwise, but that’s for the best anyway. I need to raise £3000 minimum and I’ve currently raised 14% of that.
Who are you fundraising for?
My charity is Imerman Angels. They help people going through cancer by connecting them with cancer survivors so they can share experiences. If you’re lucky you might have friends and family around you to help you through your treatment. Sometimes, people don’t have the words to support you because they don’t know what you’re going through. Imerman Angels connects you with someone who knows what you’re experiencing and can better understand your feelings. It’s something that means a lot to me, so it’s a nice fit.
I’m really grateful that I’m a healthy 25-year-old fully able to do a lot of sport. I can do whatever I like and live the life I want. I’d like to give back because I don’t think you can take without being prepared to give something.
What events have you done in the past?
I have run the Connemara marathon in Galway, the Toulouse marathon and I did the half marathon in Paris.
Antoine rests after a training run in Belfast ahead of the 2019 New York Marathon.
So, you enjoy running, then?
People say 42 kilometres is a lot and it is but when you get running you start to enjoy it. When I was 18, I had to stop playing football because of study. I found I couldn’t go from being so busy with sports to doing nothing. So, running was the only option for me because of how flexible it is. You go out for a run and you come back whenever you want.
I enjoy pushing myself. Running 42 km means you have a lot of time to yourself to think about your life. I really enjoy that.
The atmosphere is also great. The New York marathon atmosphere is going to be amazing. Apparently there will be 2.5 million people cheering us all on, on the day. When they see your name on your bib, they will say ‘Come on/allez Antoine,’ which is really nice.
How did you start running?
The first time I entered a marathon, I was bored at school and started thinking about what I could do. When I got home that day, I went through a list of marathons and picked Galway. I traveled 1000 km to run the event on the Sunday and flew home to attend class the next day.
What’s your plan building up to New York?
In the first week of May I’m going to run the Belfast marathon but my training for New York will start in July.
In New York I want to get a really good time because I have a lot of time to prepare. For New York it’s going to be a 16-week programme. I will be doing four training sessions per week. There will be one or two long sessions, maybe like the odd half marathon distance and some will be speed sessions. That will help me to work on my pace, how I recover from being out of breath and my second wind.
What time are you aiming for?
I really want to get a good time because this event means a lot to me. I’d like to follow through with four training sessions a week.
My training is all about setting me up to run the marathon in 3:00 or 3:15. That would be the ideal but you never know what can happen on the day. You can feel really great or you could have a cold or something, or an Achilles problem like I’ve had in the past. So, at this stage I’m not targeting a specific time, I’m just focused on enjoying the event!
Antoine Daubigny during a training run in Belfast for the 2019 New York Marathon.
What advice have you taken?
I’ve been in touch with experienced runners for further advice. I’ve read a lot of comments online from people who have run the event in the past, which is really useful; ‘Be careful of this and that,’ ‘Don’t get too excited because of the crowd.’ ‘Make sure you don’t let the adrenaline of the crowd impact your plan for the race.’ You don’t want to run too fast too early and then realise you still have another 40 km to run! I’ve picked up a lot of tips online. I’ve been watching videos of runners on YouTube who’ve been wearing a GoPro, which has been good to get an idea of the parkour (course layout).
Do you have any injuries at the moment?
My last marathon in Toulouse was in October 2017 and I gave my Achilles a full 12 months to heal – no sport or running. Now, I’m doing a lot of exercises at the gym to strengthen them. That was something I haven’t done in the past, which probably comes down to a lack of awareness during my preparation but you learn that the hard way.
My preparation for this is going to be better than the past. It’s not only doing a lot of running but it’s about the food you eat and the lifestyle you live too. I’ve never done yoga or much stretching but it’s certainly something I’m interested in putting more time into.
You can support Antoine’s fundraising effort here.