Interview: David Kennedy January 2019
Welcome to the first of our series of interviews with real runners from Hungary. This month we have David Kennedy, teacher and expat living in Budapest. Also, he has the honor of being the fastest marathon runner in the RCHU Strava group!
Hi everyone! My name is David Kennedy, I am 30 years old and I am a fitness addict! I have been living in Budapest for two years now and love the city. Before moving to Budapest I lived in Kuala Lumpur for three years and I am originally from Gateshead, UK. Running is by far my favourite form of exercise and I have been lucky enough to compete in marathons, ultramarathons and triathlons all around the world. I am currently working at an International School in Budapest as a Chemistry and Science teacher and have been teaching for eight years.
What has been your proudest running moment?
My proudest running moment was completing the Brussels Marathon in 2 hours and 57 minutes. The Brussels Marathon was my fifth attempt at breaking the 3 hour barrier and it was fantastic to finally get through this milestone.
Do you take part in races? Which has been your favourite in Hungary?
Yes, I try to include as many races in my calendar as possible. I find this is a good way to keep motivated and keep track of fitness levels. My favourite races in Hungary have been the punishing Pilis Trail Half Marathon and the Budapest City 30km although I have competed in many of the races around Budapest and have enjoyed them all! I would like to get involved in other races around Hungary.
Where is your favourite place to train?
I enjoy running the commute to and from work because it is a great way to start the day and de-stress at the end of the day. Exercising the commute is also a very time efficient way to get the miles in. The route of my commute takes me through the city from Oktogon up Istenhegyi Ut towards Normafa. Other than this I enjoy the community feel to running at Margit island and the tranquility of Normafa.
What makes Budapest/ Hungary such a great place for runners?
Budapest is an excellent place for running because it has such a variety of routes and scenery to offer! One minute you could be in the calm of Városliget, then in the hustle-bustle of the city. Or you could be running along the Danube, then in the forest or in the Buda Hills. There are also lots of cycle/ running paths around the city which makes it safe and easy to get lots of miles in. I am a big fan of Margit Island!
Why do you run?
I run for enjoyment and competition. I always have a target race in mind when training and try to stay focused on my plan (to try and justify training in the Hungarian winter). I am naturally very competitive and am always trying to beat my personal best times.
How does running make you feel?
I enjoy the freedom of running and how easy it is to do wherever you are. Running is the best way to explore new places and experience things you would otherwise miss.
Have you ever had any running setbacks? How did you overcome them?
A couple of years ago I broke my little toe (manly injury…) and it was an absolute nightmare! I had never realised how much balance and technique relied on the little toe. During this time I moved my focus to upper body exercise and did lots of arm cycle work and weights.
How would you improve things for runners in Hungary/ Budapest?
Budapest is well set up for runners but I would like to see a regular weekly ParkRun style event set up. Maybe around Margit Island. It would also be great if there were a website written in English which has information about all of the races around Budapest/ Hungary... :-)
Do you have any running mantras?
‘Winter miles equal summer smiles’ (for the cold winter months).
‘Suicide pace is the only pace’ (for races).
What are your top running tips?
Listen to your body and build fitness up slowly. Lots of people who try to get into running are put off when improvements are not seen immediately. It takes a lot of time to build strength up and only when that has been done will you see big improvements in time. It is also important to build up miles slowly to avoid injury.
What is worse to run in; heavy wind or heavy rain?
Definitely heavy rain!
Thank you David! You can follow him on Strava by clicking his name to the left.