In 2015, I missed out on participating in the winery running festival, as I was away for a work conference. This was especially disappointing, as I had run the ultramarathon in 2014, and it had been my first ever first place.
Having recently moved to Sydney, I jumped at the opportunity to road trip back to Newcastle, and run the Hunter Valley marathon. Rich and I drove up the night before, and stayed at Mum and Dad’s.
In 2016, the Winery Running Festival was held on Sunday, 24th July. In usual fashion, Rich and I registered on the morning of the race. And in usual Hunter Valley Marathon style, it was completely cold and miserable on race day.
I bravely ditched my jacket at the start line, throwing it over the fence instead of starting the race off with it and ditching it out on the course when I warmed up. The race started promptly at 7:00am. For the Marathon, we would be running 2 laps of the half marathon course. I noticed that Rich hung back behind me on the start line, allowing me to cross a few seconds before him. Kelly Healey started off the race with us too.
This marathon course is far from flat, but there is only one hill that really bothers me: the ‘Audrey Wilkinson’ hill, located about 4km in. The first time up Audrey was not too bad. Running back down the other side was fun.
The first 20-30 km seem like a bit of a blur. I was running alongside Rich. For parts of the race, I struggled to keep up with him. Other parts, particularly towards the end, I think the opposite was true.
We finished together in 3 hours 41 minutes. Mum and Dad were there to cheer us on.
The atmosphere at the finish line this year was less than overwhelming, and the weather was not improving. We didn’t stick around too long, instead opting to head back to Maitland and warm up with a bowl of chicken soup.
Marathon #46 Complete!