Thomas Alsgaard will skip the 2011 New York City Marathon on Sunday, despite traveling to the U.S. to run in the race.
The Norwegian Olympic champion has been struggling with leg pain after ratcheting up his running hours this summer in anticipation of the marathon, and he was forced to cut short a training run in Central Park on Friday.
“I’ve been away from running too long, I guess,” he said in an interview. “Starting too hard—suddenly, I got a lot of problems. I tried to run yesterday. I tried to go for two hours, but after 1:30 I just couldn’t run any more. I had to walk home.”
Alsgaard’s American visit won’t be a total wash—skipping the race has given him time to see more of the city. He said he’s been eating some good food, and spent Saturday visiting some wine shops, where he said he bought “a lot of wine.”
But rather than suiting up and heading to the marathon start in Staten Island on Sunday morning, Alsgaard will be on the sidelines, watching as his wife, Rønnaug Schei Alsgaard, aims to finish the race in three-and-a-half hours.
Schei Alsgaard is herself a former skier, but after the birth of the couple’s daughter, Alsgaard said that his wife hasn’t had much time for exercise.
“I take all the free time for training myself, so she trains maybe two times a week,” he said.
Still, Alsgaard added, he’s “excited” to see what Schei Alsgaard can do, because she has a “talent for running.”
While his wife pounds the pavement, Alsgaard said he will probably put himself to work, feeding another one of his friends who’s competing.
He’ll return to his native Norway on Tuesday, where he’s gearing up for another ski season managing his marathon squad, Team United Bakeries, calling races for the Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK, and entering the occasional competition himself.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.