For the last 2 years, I have ran this race as the 3 hour 45 minute pacer, and had a great time. This year, I decided that I wanted to target running a PB at this race, so when the option came out to pace it months in advance, I reluctantly decided to pass. Then, I never got around to actually doing the training, so by the time race day rolled around… I wished that I was pacing…
We flew up on the Friday night, and were greeted at the Airport by my friend Becky, who had recently moved to the Gold Coast. Becky and Fab took us out for a delicious steak dinner at Sanctuary Cove. The boys opted to cook their own steaks on a hot rock at the table, but if I wanted to cook my own steak I would have stayed at home.
On Saturday we went to the expo to collect our race bibs, shopped until we dropped and ate until we could eat no more. Then, Becky dropped me off at the house I’d be staying at for the next few nights… a big crew of people had come up to Celebrate Ange Clarke’s 40th, and they had rented a big house so we could all stay together.
On race morning, Sunday 3rd July, it took a couple of carloads to get us all to the tram that we would catch to the start line. By the time we got off the tram, I had nearly lost everyone. Some of us managed to regroup by the bag drop. Soon enough, it was time to head to the start line.
I wished I had my pacing balloons. Instead, I was on my own. I felt compelled to try to run a fast time, even though I hadn’t trained for it.
The gun went off. The crowd began to shuffle forward. I shuffled with them. For the first 8km, I was averaging 4:30 pace, which was way too fast for the lack of training I had done for this race. I knew it would not be too long before I started to fade.
I learned what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the pacing group, as the 3:15 pacer and his minions swallowed me up and spat me out the other side again. It really put it into perspective, how frustrating a pace group can be if you are not part of it and just trying to run your own race, and all of a sudden you are swamped by a big swarm of runners who are collectively moving faster than you. It’s not nice, but at a race like the gold coast I’m not sure how it can be avoided, because the streets are quite narrow, and the crowds are large. Finding some clear road to run on is virtually impossible.
At around 15km, I made the first turnaround. I then proceeded to run back past the people who were following. I searched the crowd for familiar faces, and found quite a few. I saw the 3:20 pacer behind me, and vowed to stay in front of him for as long as I could.
At the 20km mark, I was still on track for a PB. I knew the 3:20 pacer must have been close to me, because I could hear the crowd yelling, “Go three twenties!”
New goal: Stay in front of the 3:20 pacer until halfway.
I did. I crossed the halfway timing mat, and literally got 2 steps further before the 3:20 pace group swallowed me up and spat me out the other side.
New goal: Don’t let the next pace group catch me.
By now I was averaging 4:45 pace, but knew I wouldn’t hold it until the end.
At around the 30km mark you run past the start/finish line, and then run another 6km north before turning around and coming back to the finish. A few km later I passed Becky and Fab who had come out to cheer.
I felt like I was running to Brisbane, but finally the turn for home came at last.
By now I was running close to 5 minute pace, but there was not far to go. The 3:20 pacer was long gone, but the 3:30 pacer was well behind and I was confident that I would beat him home.
The finishing chute seems to go forever, but finally I could see the finish line. I crossed in 3:23, which was not a PB, but better than the time I deserved given the time I had put in, so I had to be happy with that.
Soon afterwards, Rick crossed, in what was his 200th marathon.
I waited around the for as long as I could, waiting for familiar faces to join me on the right side of the finish line. It was so nice to be a part of the party for all of the girls who had just run their first marathons. The party tonight would be significant.
This is how we party…
More impressive than running a marathon? partying in high heels afterwards!