Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Auckland Quarter Marathon Race Report

46:14, 41st place, 26th place in category

This was way better than my target time (50:00) and so I was really stoked with this result :)


So was too late to enter the half event (it had sold out and there is a limit of 7500 to run over the bridge). This was probably just as well because over a three month period I had worked up to the point of running for an hour remembering to just don't stop.

So I ended up going for the Auckland Quarter Marathon event. The Quarter is apparently not that common and is a total distance of 10.549km.

Most of my training runs were in the vacinity of One Tree Hill (made famous by the U2 song) and has a few hills. In training I was getting close to 5min/kms - in itself an achievement - and was hoping to sneak under 50:00 in the event.

My thinking was two fold:
  • The actual course was quite flat whereas my training had some hills.
  • A race environment would carry me through
These two factors helped in getting a better than expected time.

Race Report

The race itself was scheduled for a 7:00am start on the 28 October. It had rained the night before and the weather was looking a bit iffy but in the end it was quite cool and dry with no wind. We did get a small shower about half way through but nothing major.

The start was hectic - there were probably close to 2000 entries lined up.

Met up with my Irish friend D and his girlfriend J - he was supporting her trying to get under 60:00. After stowing the gear bags we ended up about a third of the way back from the start. The first couple of minutes or so was a matter of ducking and dodging between people walking the event and having lined up at the front. Madness. Passing people is on one hand good for the confidence but on the other hand distracting.

I managed to tag along with a small group of four people to around the half way mark. I was starting to feel the pace at that point (faster than training and my body was wising up to this) and the second half was more about just not stopping and trying to hold the pace as best I could.

It was definitely a positive split run though.

I remember the bloke in the adidas blue shirt zooming past me near the end but had no legs to sprint at this point.

Post race was good. There was complimentary powerade (lesson: the blue "flavour" is passable but the red is to be avoided) and more bananas than I had seen in one place before. Had a chat to Mr. blue shirt who was evidently in an athletics club and a regular runner so didn't feel too bad about being run down at the end. Ate a couple of bananas and waited for D and J to come in. J made it in 57:58 and was very pleased about that so a good day out.

A really enjoyable morning and the atmosphere was great.

On the way home time to reflect I quite like running after all especially having hated it at school. Not so bad if you don't stop before the end.

Just Don't Stop...

I was never very good at running at school - finding it hard work and getting out of breath. Mind you being a bit on the overweight side didn't help.

Fast forward to June this year and the general interest in the 2007 Auckland Marathon event which was going to be held in October. This thing is pretty big a lot of people enter just for the opportunity to run over the Auckland harbour bridge. It is the only time in the year that you can cross the bridge on foot.

I figured why not enter, say the half or the quarter, and see how I go.

That an Irish work colleague entered it the year before and reckoned he did it after no training and a night on the town. Not sure if he carried a pig under his arm but it sounded good :)

It would be a challenge and help shed a few extra kilos. I mentioned this goal on a web forum and got the following advice from a friend who is very much in shape.

"Try running for an hour, it doesn't matter how fast you go, but just don't stop..."

I figured that doesn't sound too hard...