Interview: Andrew Lemoncello

Andrew Lemoncello is a Scottish steeplechaser and marathoner.

Whilst competing for Florida State University in the NCAA he made quite a name for himself, smashing the College’s longstanding 3000m Outdoor Steeplechase record by 15 seconds and winning the ACC Indoor 3000m Steeplechase title in 2005. In the 2006 season he managed to continue his record breaking – taking down four college records in Cross Country 8000 m, Indoor 5000 m, Outdoor 5000 m, his own 3000 m Steeplechase  record from 2005 and to top it off the 10,000m!

He competed at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships, as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the steeplechase heats for Team GB. He has also represented Great Britain at the World Half Marathon Championships and the European Cross Country Championships in 2009.

The following year Andrew made his marathon debut at the Virgin London Marathon and was the first European male to finish with a time of 2:13.40. He has since begun to make a name for himself on the International Marathon and Half Marathon circuit.

When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?

I started when I was 12 years old when I first joined my club, Fife AC. It was the highlight of my week, turning up to training and it still is. I’ve always loved pushing my body hard so I was hooked from day one.

If you could run with and/or race anyone, anywhere who would it be and where? Over what distance and on which surface?

I think some of the old Scottish distance runners would have been great to run against (Ian Stewart, Lachie Stewart, Nat Muir, Ian McCafferty etc). I think it would have to be over cross country as it seems like they were all great on that surface. Running over the old world cross country course at Hamilton would be a great place.

Running wise, who do you look up to and who has inspired you?

Liz McColgan has always been a big inspiration for me. She lives quite close to where I grew up and seeing someone local taking on and beating the world’s best was always amazing. She would be at local road races so to be that close to her when I was a kid was really cool for me.

What are your favourite training conditions and are they the same as your favourite racing conditions?

Sunny and calm! Living at 7,000ft, the weather is very changeable but it seems like when there are no weather conditions to battle then that is when I have some great workouts. As someone who’s quite tall, I find it very tough to run in a strong wind but when it comes time to race, it’s the same for everyone so even though I may not like it, I’m not going to worry about it.

What is your fondest memory of running and, conversely, your worst?

My worst memory is from last year’s Fukuoka Marathon where I tore my hamstring tendon. I was in a lot of pain and hobbled to the finish as I told myself that I would never drop out of another marathon again after pulling out with a stitch the year before. This was the first major injury that I suffered so it was tough to deal with.

My fondest memory is a tough one as I have so many great memories from running. I think qualifying for the Olympics at the last possible moment was a great memory as I was able to run well when it really mattered the most.

Where do you see yourself in six years?

Still competing hard! I’ll have hopefully just run the 2018 Commonwealth Games and will be getting ready for a winter marathon.

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