“It’s all my fault,” says Javier Rigau, albeit not very seriously, about the fact that Apax will be sending five runners to Athens on Sunday.
Rigau is one of the firm’s long-distance specialists, with a string of Marathons to his name, and a recent 19-hour finish in a 100 kilometre endurance race in Mallorca to boot. When Apax boss Martin Halusa told him about the Marathon of Marathons earlier this year, he didn’t take long to get behind the idea. “I thought, what a great cause, and what a great opportunity for people from Apax to bond around a goal that goes beyond what we’re trying to achieve as professionals.
Ruth Tompkins and Javier Rigau will be two
Banging the drum internally, it didn’t take long for Rigau to inspire several of his colleagues: Fiona Cooper, Ruth Tompkins, Frank Ehmer and Dimitri Rodionov all signed up and have been training doggedly all summer. Another colleague, Jennifer Gray, was also on board, but an injury has forced her to pull out recently.
The others haven’t had any such bad luck, and have been pressing on with a “healthy dose of stubbornness”, as Ruth Tompkins notes. “When the alarm goes at five in the morning, there is that part of you that wants to stay in bed. But you don’t.”
Tompkins says the Marathon of Marathons is a “big thing in the firm”, with a lot of people taking a keen interest: “People talk about it in the lift and in the deli, and we’ve had a lot of amazingly generous donations to our fundraising from so many colleagues.” Over €25,000 has been pledged already, with the Apax Foundation giving £2,500 per runner.
On Race Day, the five are unlikely to run in formation. Rigau has his eyes on a finish as close to the three hour mark as possible. Tompkins, a Marathon novice, is aiming to finish, and looking forward to a challenge she says “is going beyond what I would have thought I’d ever take on.”
Rigau has plenty of experience to draw on, but he too is firmly focused on what ultimately matters. “It’s all about finishing, for all of us,” he says. “The pressure is definitely on.”