Arjen Robben was best known for his blistering swiftness down the wings throughout his soccer career, but the former Bayern Munich star decided to slow the pace down and complete his first marathon this year. Still, the Dutchman managed it in an impressive time of just over three hours and 13 minutes.
Swapping the soccer boots for running shoes is nothing new, and there have been a few former stars that have taken to the streets to churn out 26.2 miles. Which other well-known players set the benchmark for Robben to compete with?
Robben Smashes it in Rotterdam
During his career, Robben was one of the best players in the world. He was known for his astonishing acceleration down the right flank, beating defenders in some of the top leagues in Europe. A common trait of the 38-year-old was to cut in from that side of the pitch and curl in a precise shot with his deadly left foot, and he was a pleasure to watch.
Although retired from the game now, Robben clearly still wants to keep fit and challenge himself at the same time. Switching to marathon running from his traditional football schedule must have been difficult, as it’s a completely different type of exercise. Robben had to increase his stamina and resilience, ensuring not to go too fast over the lengthy course. Still, he managed to post a time considered to be excellent for a non-professional runner.
There must be something about fast soccer players succeeding at marathons because Michael Owen is another well-known speedster who went on to run the long distance alongside his punditry as can be seen on The Mirror. The Englishman spent most of his career at Liverpool, where he was known for his breakneck speed when charging at opposition defenses. He had to slow it down to run the London Marathon in 2014, where he posted a finish time of three hours, 45 minutes, and 43 seconds.
Since Owen left Liverpool in 2004, they have had a lot of ups and downs. However, under German manager Jurgen Klopp, the Merseyside outfit have enjoyed a few successful years. Indeed, at the time of writing, the Reds are at odds of 175 with Betway to win a second Premier League title in three years. New customers can make use of a $250 free bet to stake on this outcome as a welcome bonus if they think there is value to be found here, although there are numerous other offers on the site for existing customers.
Another English striker who was tearing up the Premier League at the same time as Owen with Aston Villa and Manchester United was Dwight Yorke, as covered by The Sun. The Trinidad and Tobago-born star notched 148 goals over his career and helped his country qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever in 2006.
Yorke hung up his soccer boots in 2009, but kept up his fitness levels afterward. He famously ran the London Marathon in 2011 and completed the race in just over three hours and 31 minutes.
Soccer stars generally finish their careers in their mid-30s, and it’s great to see that many of them keep their bodies in prime physical condition. Marathons represent a fantastic challenge for players who have pushed themselves to the limit during their playing days.