6 October 2015

Hamilton Half Marathon 2015











Disclaimer: In light of my brand new PB for the half marathon, the following race report may be somewhat biased and how could it not be – Fitness Action Charitable Trust and Direct Group Uniforms, you guys rock.

The checklist I’d written up the night before had, #1, be on the road at 6am. Having turned to check the ‘sticky’ garage door had fully closed behind me, I accelerated away. It was 6.40am. Not the best of starts. A traffic free run to the northern side of Hamilton city takes around 1 hour 30. With a 9am start there wasn’t a lot of wriggle room and I still had to find Flagstaff Park and pick up my race pack!

Rummaging through the typical DLE sized promo brochures I searched in vain for a ‘You’re a WINNER’ ticket. Apparently they do exist but I’ve never seen any. The energy bar however looked good and had a bit of weight to it. There were salty chips too and some mineral water. Bid number 19 is officially the lowest number I’ve had. A quick look back revealed my highest was 11689 in Fukuchiyama, Japan. I’m either getting faster or entering smaller events.

Would all competitors with numbers from 1-50 please make their way to the start line”. Locking down the shoe transponder underneath my infamous triple knot takes time. “Now calling 50-100 please”. And up I went. One cheeky local, lodged firmly in a deckchair that had seen better days scoffed at my tardiness before cracking open a soda. Harsh but fair I thought to myself. 

I’d planned to settle into a 4.12/k pace as early as possible. I was confident at being able to hold this through 14k and I looked forward to finishing strong over the last 3k. The key to having a good day was that period between 14-18k. The course on the outskirts of Hamilton city was absolutely beautiful. Roads that were gently winding, newly sealed and quiet with few logging trucks. That said, I hadn’t banked on the seemingly endless rolling hills that began at kilometer 14.

I don’t mind the hills. In fact I’d say they are now one of my strengths but trying to maintain that sub 4.14/k goal pace up and down, up and down takes some doing. Not knowing the course meant I really did start to panic as km after km I saw my hard earned 4.12/k pace fall away. At the 18k mark I’d slowed to 4.15 pace and now well outside a PB time. If only I could find some bloody rhythm! 

With Hamilton city suburbs all of a sudden in sight once again I found the gear I was looking for. Gone were the hills which were now replaced with a welcoming descent. Road gave way to a dusty trail and I all of a sudden felt like I was running on parts of my home track. Man what a course! I was literally flying! Splits of only 4.06, 4.10 and 4.04 to finish would suggest otherwise but why spoil it for me?

A new 31 second and 17 year PB. 1.29.14 and 19/351. 

In every age group the top 3 finishers were to be showered with prizes, rapturous applause and probably selfie requests. This was my day. My moment. I’d finally be able to post a picture of me shaking hands with key sponsors while accepting an envelope like all my other fellow bloggers seem to have done. Should I have prepared a speech? Should I run up to the podium or casually walk up with a swagger? This is it … this is it …

In the 45- 54 age group we have 1st, Chris Myland. 2nd, John Caie and in 3rd … Stefan Wagner”.

Buggar …. time to find a smaller race.

Look what turned up












6 comments:

  1. Congrats Mark and good story! Might I suggest the Bribie Island Fun Run? I placed 3rd outright in that once - took me around 10 years to find a small enough race ;-) I like how you dragged back the PB with that flying finish - great splits there. And a nice turn-up from the postie.

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  2. I just couldn’t do that to you Ewen … push you out of the medals. Nice thought though. Guess I might have to work a little harder and perhaps eat a little less. One day …

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  3. Great post Mark and well done on the PB! I couldn't agree more, a well organized event and great running conditions. That was the last year on that course too, it will change in 2016. I came 4th in my age group - missed out by seconds - I'm finding I learn so much more each race I run. The continuous pursuit of improvement!

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  4. I just checked ... you missed by 10 seconds! I don’t feel so bad now. I'd have demanded a drug test on the girl ahead of you. Your time was superb. Man you've made some gains recently. I'll be looking over my shoulder in Rotorua for sure. We have a great course but not quite a PB one.

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  5. Great to get a PB Mark! They are as rare as hen's teeth! And in a course like that. You'll be able to break that again when you come back to Japan and race on one of our flat and fast courses. Well done old son.

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    1. Thanks mate. I have fond memories of running the Osaka City Half which felt flat and fast. Finished in a football/athletics stadium. Can't remember the name of it. I'll never forget coming down the home stretch and looking up to see myself on the big screen thinking ... I really do have to work on my bloody awful form! Still a work in progress ...

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