This past Sunday saw me being collected by Alan at 4.15am. The race was a good 45 minute drive away and we know from previous experience that parking can be a nightmare. Fortunately we got there early enough to bet parking a block away from the start. There were still cars arriving at 5:45 and parked cars extended 2km from the venue.
We were also early enough to get to the Porta-Loos before the queues got too long.
The Run Walk For Life tent was up with the fantastic trailer which was stocked with tea, coffee, juice and biscuits. I am still surprised by the number of people that drink coffee before a run. (I have had a horrid winter run which I attribute to drinking coffee to warm up before the race).
We made our way to a very crowded starting area, past the fantastic Scottish Bank, who were playing again at the 15km watering point.
There were apparently 9000 people who lined up for the half and full marathon. This would explain why the start line seemed to move further forward and spread out onto the pavements.
I started running with Karen and Sharon but had lost them by the first watering point. The start was so congested that I took 9:22 minutes to do the first km. The “path” was clear by about 5km which took me 35 minutes and I knew I was going to have to push to finish in my goal time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.
The weather was cool, slightly overcast and humid. It is a very well organised race, the watering tables are well stocked and the Scottish Band at 15km was welcome encouragement. The route is also scattered with cranes supplied by the title sponsor and they are interesting diversions to look at.
I met up with Stan and ran with him for a while. The last km, Shawn caught up with me and pushed me sub-6 minutes to finish in a time of 2:12. The finish shutes were long and crowded with people pushing to get their goodie bags and coke in the tent. I really hope they come up with an alternative to make the finish a little smoother. (It was noted on another forum that the finish lines extended past the official finish line, so what time did the runner really complete the race?)
I’m a little disappointed by not making my goal, but I do accept that although’ the course is a good one for a PB, you can’t start way down the back and expect to make up the lost time.
After Norman finished his 21km walk in under 3 hours, we climbed into his car to go see our club mates who were doing the marathon. We drove past Chris quite near the end – he finished in 4:06. Karen was looking good at the 33km mark and I ran with Val for her last 4kms. I was so impressed that having spent a month in Vietnam over December/January and doing no running, she finished her marathon in under 4:30. Karen had a fantastic finish in under 4:45. I am so proud of both of them and am truly inspired by their achievements.
We all received a pre-entry goodie bag containing a long-sleeve t-shirt and an A4 diary in a draw string bag.