Still got it! Retired Bayern Munich and Chelsea star Arjen Robben completes his first ever marathon in 3 hours 14 minutes… but groans that ‘surviving’ the Rotterdam race ‘really wasn’t fun’
- Arjen Robben admitted his first ever marathon was a gruelling test in Rotterdam
- The ex-Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star posted an impressive time
- Champions League winner Robben once became the fastest recorded footballer
- Robben joins the likes of Michel Owen and Dwight Yorke to have run marathons
Former Netherlands winger Arjen Robben showed he still has a taste for speed as the ex-Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich wideman braved the pain barrier to complete the Rotterdam Marathon on Saturday.
The two-time Premier League winner, who was known for the irresistible speed of his dazzling runs during his footballing career, admitted that his first ever attempt at the gruelling feat ‘really wasn’t fun’.
Setting off as one of 11,720 runners, resilient Robben rocketed along at a speed of around 8.7mph for much of the 26.2-mile race, putting him well above average across the field.
Arjen Robben was lightning-quick as a footballer and used some of that speed in a marathon
Competing in Rotterdam, Robben ran at a hugely impressive pace for much of the 26.2 miles
The 38-year-old’s pace dipped noticeably during some of the concluding five miles of the endurance test, only to pick up sharply again during the final section as Robben crossed the finish line in an impressive three hours and 14 minutes.
Asked whether he had enjoyed the experience, Robben told Rijnmond via Goal: ‘Not fun – it really wasn’t fun. I made it, but that’s about it.
‘I often went deep and had to fight often enough, but this was also a real fight. That audience on the side helps you so much. Thanks to everyone for that – that got me through.
‘In the beginning, I was a bit preoccupied with a time – but at a certain point you throw that overboard.
Netherlands icon Robben’s speed dropped in the final section of a race he confessed was hard
The league champion in four countries was taking part in his first edition of the endurance test
‘Then it’s surviving [after] entering my first marathon. Then you notice what something like that does to your body, but I made it.’
Blisteringly pacy Robben clocked the quickest speed ever by a footballer when he was recorded at almost 23mph during his country’s 5-1 mauling of then-holders Spain at the 2014 World Cup.
Finish time: 03:13:56
Pace: 7 minutes 22 seconds per mile
Fastest 5k section: 5 minutes 30 seconds (6:35 per mile)
Gender position: 1,280 out of 9,187
Age position (35-39): 268 out of 1,313
At the time, that put him far ahead of next-nearest speed specialist Theo Walcott, as well as other players in the top ten on record including Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Ramos.
One of Robben’s rivals on the flanks during his time in the Premier League, Kevin Kilbane, posted an almost identical time when he ran the London Marathon in 2013.
Republic of Ireland stalwart Kilbane was playing for Everton and Wigan while Robben was at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2007.
Scotland defender Christian Dailly is said to have posted an even quicker time in the same year, finishing in three hours, six minutes and 26 seconds.
Former Leicester midfielder Muzzy Izzet needed around 16 minutes longer in 2011, when ex-Manchester United hotshot Dwight Yorke took three hours, 31 minutes and 56 seconds before reportedly going on a night out hours later.
Another former United striker, Michael Owen, took a little over three hours and 45 minutes at the London race in 2014, conceding afterwards that his training had been very different to a football career based on power and speed bursts.
Robben won his eighth Bundesliga title with Bayern in 2019 before rejoining Dutch side Groningen, where he had begun his senior career in 2000.
The 96-cap international’s athleticism has clearly not deserted him since his retirement in 2021.