The Westlink M7 Blacktown Marathon

A few weeks ago, I won my first race. A 52.5km race in the Hunter Valley. Despite the distance, my legs felt pretty good. 4 days after that run, I had to go to Runlab and do a 3km time trial. I surprised myself by running a time that was only 2 seconds off a PB. Satisfied that I must have recovered reasonably well, I went home and registered for the Westlink M7 Blacktown Marathon in 3 days’ time.

3 marathons in 3 weeks. Somehow, I had roped Helen into doing it with me. It was an early start. 3am alarm. I picked up Helen, and we headed to Sydney.

We drove to the finish line, and then jumped on a shuttle bus to the start. We had about 40 minutes to wait until the gun went off. I was pleased to see there was an indoor area where we could wait, out of the cold. As we were last-minute entrants, we picked up our race packs here. A powerbar and a caffeine shot later, it was time to shuffle outside to the start area.

Ready yo go!
Ready to go!

It was quite a small field, 177 entrants, and many of the regular offenders were in attendance. These are the people who I am starting to see at event after event. Some of them have nearly 200 marathons to their name. 3 marathons in 3 weeks would be a monthly occurrence for these guys.

There was a baggage truck parked by the start line, so we could stay warm right up until the last minute. The race started on time, and Helen and I were away on our 42.2km journey.

The first 10-20km were quite cruisy. We ran along, averaging 5:15 pace. It took us a long time to catch the 3hour 45minute pacer, who must have gone out hard.

If I didn’t have Helen to chat to it might have been a boring course. It ran along the bike path next to the freeway. There were not a lot of spectators. But it was serviced well, with 11 aid stations, and lots of volunteers. Every aid station had water, Gatorade and a portaloo, and a few of the stations even had Gu.

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Something happened with around 10km to go. We picked up the pace. I’m not sure if we just wanted the race to be over, or we realised we were not too far behind the leaders, or a combination of both. We threw in a few sub-5 minute k’s, and came home with a time of 3:36:34, and a negative split to boot. (1:48:43 for the first half of the race, and 1:47:51 for the second half) although we got the same time, I got 1st place in my age category, and Helen got second in hers. (ahhh… The benefits of being in a younger/less competitive age category!)

Finishers!
Finishers!

All up, I thought it was a very well run event, good value, the course has definite PB potential with a few hills but nothing major, and good prize money on offer for the winners.

I look forward to doing it again next year!

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