Last year, Sutton Atkins was able to celebrate a grandious start in Berlin. Atkins won with a new course record at the 25th Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. From the Berlin standpoint, it is even more pleasing that the talented Brit will be participating for a team from Berlin this year - for the Orthomol Sport Team.
After your course record last year, you probably have set your goals high for the 26th Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON. How has your winter training been going?
Sutton Atkins: I have been injured from 10 July (EM Masters Marathon) until the end of January 2006. I have had physio every week for 7 months. But I have still been able to train and the injury is completely gone now. Apart from that it has been going very well, I have just returned from a winter competition in Portugal. Last year I won this competition, but this year the standard was higher, I got 2nd in the 10,000m but made a tactical error in the half-marathon, so I was 7th overall. But my goal was top 10, so it is ok for February I feel strong and fit, now I just have to wait for it to stop snowing in Denmark to get out on the roads to skate FAST!!! But Orthomol and Vero will be going to Grossetto, Italy training camp in the end of march, so I look forward to get together with my team and train fast.
What is special about the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON for you?
Sutton Atkins: Last year the BERLIN HALF MARATHON was only my 2nd race after having 5 years off from the sport (off from ALL sport actually!!!) so I was very pleased and a little surprised to win it, but now it will remain a special race for me, for that reason. Also, it’s a great race to start the season, a half marathon is perfect at this time of year. It is a very good course, and professionally organised. It also attracts all the top skaters from Germany, so the level of competition is high.
You will be competing for the Berlin team “Orthomol-Sport Team“ in 2006. What were the reasons for the change in teams?
Sutton Atkins: Because I had 5 years off from 1999 – 2004, it meant I didn’t have a team for 2005, so I actually won the BERLIN HALF MARATHON without a sponsor, or a team. Then Team Raps DK offered me a small contract in May 2004. Then I pursued German teams as my performance got better and better through summer 2005. I decided to go with Orthomol Sport because I had the best feeling about the organisation and professional way in which the team is run. Also there is great team spirit in the team. I am getting to know the guys a little, and we will all meet in Grosetto Training Camp followed by the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON 2006. I think it’s going to be a great summer of racing for me to race with Andre and Rico especially.
Are you now living and training in Berlin?
Sutton Atkins: No, I live in Denmark. But I have good contact on email, skype and sms to some of the guys. The Vero forum is also useful to keep updated. I planned to travel to Berlin last week, but we are all too busy people, why aren’t there 104 weekends in a year and 48 hours each day? I hope to see more of the guys as soon as the weather gets better, and maybe some weekends become free. I am sure we have time to develop relationships, team spirit and train/race together well.
In 2006, which races and race series are you planning on participating in? What are your athletic goals for the year?
Sutton Atkins: Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON, of course, Berlin X Race, BERLIN MARATHON. These are important races to me.. And the German Blade Challenge series, it’s the first time i will race the GBC, so we just see how it goes. My goals are to help the team achieve their goals. These will be discussed and defined at our training camp in Italy. My personal goals include winning the Danish Championship again. I was 3 times Danish Champion in 2005, and i think my training partner and I can do even better this year. It will be held on our New 200m Parabolic track, opening in May 2006. But my main goals and focus are with the Orthomol-Sport-Team, Berlin Races and the GBC.