From OCR Champ to the Marathon - with Saysky Athlete Nikolaj Dam
SAYSKY Athlete Nikolaj Dam is from a different planet. He’s not only one of the best OCR runners in the world, but also a national trail champion in Denmark - and now, his eyes are set on an ambitious marathon in Paris on April 3.
“I’m not coming to Paris just for sightseeing. I will do an all-out effort.”
We had a talk with Nikolaj about his sporty background, why the sudden focus on trail running and now a marathon as well, which you can read all about in our interview further down.
LIVE Q&A WITH NIKOLAJ + WIN A 150€ GIFT CARD
Can you guess the finish time of Nikolaj Dam’s marathon? Go to our feed for more info and to take part in the competition on April 2. Nikolaj will also be answering questions throughout the day, as he’s taking over our IG story.
INTERVIEW WITH NIKOLAJ DAM
Could you introduce yourself and your sporty background?
I’m a 32 years old guy living in Copenhagen and I’ve been running and doing endurance sports since I was 13 years old. I started running by doing it all pretty much: road, track, cross country, and stuff such as adventure racing, orienteering and triathlon.
I took up OCR in 2015, where I did well in a couple of OCR races in Denmark. This was also the year of my first OCR World Champs - coming in 5th.
I’m working as a part-time Strength and Conditioning Coach and do online training plans as well for running and strength/fitness/endurance performance.
Recently, you’ve also been focusing a lot on trail running, while also being called up for the national team, right?
The last two years I’ve won gold and silver at the Danish national championship in Trail Running (short and long course). That gave me some motivation to do more international races and this Summer I’m racing the European Mountain running championship in the Classic Up and Down category (18km 1000m vert) as a part of the Danish Running National Team for the first time.
You’re one of the best OCR runners in the world and now you’re going for a marathon – how can this be?
OCR will still be the main focus of the Summer and Fall season of 2022. That’s also where I find a lot of joy in both training and racing. But this year my calendar was planned a bit differently, as I’m making room for a marathon in Paris on April 3.
I’ve wanted to do a flat marathon for a long time and Paris was the best match that didn’t interfere too much with the rest of the season. This project is like a running legacy for me. Marathon has long been one of the most well-known running distances and a very iconic type of race. The racing time and format are also some of the most relatable.
That’s also why I want to prove to myself that I can put in a decent performance that reflects my current running level. Another benefit is that the training is very controlled and it can take my running to the next level.
Has training been alright leading up to your marathon, and did you have to change things around completely?
Since January 2022, I’ve done specific preparations to run a road marathon. The thing that I’ve changed is that I’m a bit more focused and with priority for running between January and March, which means that my OCR and strength training has been in a more of a maintenance state, so as to not interfere too much with the running. So, I’ve really just adjusted the focus in the training and not the overall effort.
What’s the ambition for the race, and was Paris chosen for a specific reason?
I’m not coming to Paris just for sightseeing. I will do an all-out effort to race faster than 2:25hours.
Paris was chosen because I wanted to race a major city marathon, and as early as possible in the Spring. This way I can better recover after the marathon and have some 4-5 weeks to transition to the first OCR races of the season.
List of PR’s and proudest achievements?
- 3000m track: 08:59m
- 5000m track: 15:34m
- 10km road: 31:59m
- Half marathon: 01:10:10h
- Marathon: 02:50:00h (2009)
- 5th OCR World Championship: 2015, 2018
- 7th Spartan Race European Championship 2021
- 1st OCR Team Relay World/European Championship: 2018, 2019
- 5th Spartan Race World Championship 2021
- Gold, Danish Trailrunning Championship long course: 2020
- Silver, Danish Trailrunning Championship short course: 2018, 2021
Keep up with Nikolaj here.