Morocco-born US marathon runner Khalid Khannouchi's comeback story is inspiring. After a five-year injury layoff, the former world record holder is determined to make a mark at 39. The four-time Chicago Marathon winner was the first to break the 2hr 6min barrier. The New York-based runner still holds the US record of 2:05:38, set at the 2002 London Marathon. Speaking to HT, the brand ambassador of this year's Delhi Half Marathon said marathon builds character. Excerpts:
What's the reason for your comeback?
I have the motivation to train and believe there are a lot of opportunities for me to compete again.
You weren't successful in the 2001 World Championships?
I got selected for the Worlds but when I reached Canada, I hurt my knee and the inflammation forced me to quit.
When do you expect to run a marathon again?
I am not pushing myself as I am recovering from foot surgery. If I am ready for the US trials in January, I will compete.
When do you think someone will run a marathon in two hours?
It is difficult, but the way young marathoners are performing these days, you never know.
What keeps you busy?
When not running, I cross-train. I do pool running and cycling. It's harder than regular running but it's the only way to stay fit and cope with the disappointment of being injured. When I am training hard, I run, eat and sleep.