On Saturday morning after my 100th parkrun, I was chatting to Nick Stabler, who told me that a few people were planning to meet at 5 am the next day and run the NewRun half marathon course before the race started at 7am. He invited me along, and I said I’d think about it, but I was secretly thinking ‘no way’. That afternoon, Rich said he had been talking to Nick Marriage, who invited him along to the same run. He was contemplating it. In the end, I conceded that it might actually be good training for The North Face 100 in a few weeks, so we agreed to do it, and set the alarm for 4am. At 2am, I was woken by howling winds and rain. This was not going to be a fun day. By the time the alarm went off at 4, it had eased a little. As this was just a training run, I just had a Powerbar instead of my usual premarathon breakfast. We drove in to the start line, and didn’t have much trouble finding a park at 5am. We found the Nicks, and started our run. After the feedback from last year, the Marathon event was not being run as part of NewRun this year, so we were running our own. Ours was pretty well organised on less than a days notice. At least we started on time. And we had Gatorade. We headed first down towards Crowne Plaza along Honeysuckle, and then up the breakwall. The Turnaround cones were not in place yet, so we had to guess. Richard had to make a stop at the Registration tent too, because he hadn’t even registered for the race yet. Then we headed up through King Edward park and down Memorial drive. At about 6am, still before sunrise, there was a bunch of kids out lining the path in front of Cooks Hill SurfClub, where the 10k race would start later that day. They all cheered the 4 of us, and stuck their hands out for high 5’s. We turned and headed back up Memorial drive, through King Edward Park, and up the breakwall.
We arrived back at the start area just before 7am with only 19.5km clocked, clearly missing a bit of the course. I searched for April, who I had agreed to run with for the race. Last year she had run 2:11 on this course, and today we were going to try to beat it. I found her on the start line moments before the race started. The gun went off, and we headed out of the chute and back up honeysuckle. Soon we were at the first water station. I think I was the only person to have a GU at station 1. This station was organised by Melinda Roberts on behalf of the Night Striders, and they looked absolutely fantastic. I was pleased that we made a turnaround and got to run through it again before heading up the breakwall.
April and I had been holding a good pace, around 5min 50sec kilometres. After the breakwall, it was time to take on the hill. On our way up through the park, we passed Rich on his way down, looking strong.
The water station in the park was manned by the five30 runners, and was almost as good as the Night Striders station, but not quite. April and I made our way down Memorial Drive towards the turnaround, where we were cheered on by another bunch of Night Striders awaiting the start of the 10k. We turned, and headed back up the hill.
In the park we ran through the five30 drink station again, and this time I was tempted by their bowl of red lollies.
As we came out of the Park, we could see the last of the hills. April was running really well, and was on track to run a PB. After the breakwall, we got to run down Honeysuckle and through the Night Striders drink station twice more.
After that, there was only about a kilometre to the finish line. April and I crossed on 2:06:10, a PB for her by more than 5 and a half minutes. I had to go back out on the course to get my final one and a half kilometres, finishing with 42.22 km. Our course was more accurate than last years Newcastle marathon course. We collected our finisher medals, although I was tempted to ask if I could have two!
Congratulations to all who ran on the day, and big thanks in particular to Mel and Matt Roberts for manning the Night Striders tent and organising the drink station. All of your hard work is very much appreciated. All of the results from the weekend can be found HERE.