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It’s not all that uncommon for athletes and weekend warriors alike to show signs of nervousness prior to an event. Looking around the Virgin Lounge in Brisbane probably proves it beyond doubt being surrounded by the North Queensland Cowboys NRL team and the Sunshine Coast Lightning Netball outfit. They are more likely to show nerves about their professional or semi-professional livelihoods hinging on successful outcomes of single matches. For weekend warriors like me at least for one weekend I’m probably going to share their feelings.

This weekend sees the now annual trip to the capital for what in the past has constituted a valuable Comrades training run, being 50km in race conditions. Sadly the race organisers have seen fit to not conduct a 50km event this weekend (with the national title now reverting to my “unicorn”, Gone in 60 Seconds fans will get the reference to what I’m calling the GC50 in November) so I have just under 8km less to travel. But unlike precious years Canberra takes on significance with the pressure on to run a certain time.

As I’m sure readers will know the ability to make the start line for Comrades depends on whether a runner successfully completes a marathon in a time not exceeding 4:49:59. With the later start date for this year’s edition, and with entries opening later than usual (I’ll touch on that a little later), this means that realistically Canberra represents the best opportunity to attain the standard that I’m after. That’s not to say there will be other chances as the window closes on July 12, meaning Gold Coast is another chance. It’s just that running marathons later in the window should be used as training for the race rather than chasing times.

I do have a strategy in place having calculated that an average of 6:50 per kilometre is going to ensure I make the cut by a minute. The hope is to make the half way marker in a time around the 2:10 marker to not only give myself some sort of buffer for the second half which is bound to be painful (the groin issues still exist) but also to prove I can somewhat run within my capabilities. At Wangaratta last month where expectations were practically zero, I felt as though my pace prior to groin issues resurfacing was quicker than desired contributing to my downfall (walked the last 5-6 kilometres both to get back to the start precinct and to ensure a Strava badge was attained, have to get the priorities right!). Like previous years I’m sure to look to judge my pace on Parkes Way, which accounts for close to half of the distance on the course. This year looks to be an improvement weather wise, for although long sleeved garments may need to be used the temperature according to my AccuWeather app is going to be 13 degrees which is substantially bearable compared to 0 degrees and feeling like -2 in 2021.

I did mention earlier that Comrades entries had opened up and I was able to parlay deferral status from 2020 into a start in 2022 without financial cost. There were some dramas on the night of entries opening regarding bookings of course tours for Internationals, meaning that I had to wait until the system was reset before resubmitting the entry without the tour add-on. Other locals who had to pay R1000 or so ($A93, but keep in mind their average monthly wage is ridiculously low compared to what we get on average in Australia) had similar issues, but thanks to a low uptake from runners eligible to enter early (some I guess lost interest, others may be waiting for 2023, a few internationals I assume are too chicken to travel, a couple may be waiting for the substitution window waiting to see if they can get the Q-Time first before committing) there’s actually going to be just over 3500 spots available after Easter for those who want to join in, although Australians would have to pay over $A400 before flights and accommodation to get one of the 15000 “golden tickets”.

First things first though for me, and making it to Canberra is next on the agenda. It’s back to the old style of mixing and matching changing carriers in Brisbane to ensure a reasonable arrival time, even if it means 3 hours in one of my least favourite places to spend 10 minutes in, Sydney Airport. Perhaps the business class upgrade will come in handy!



Back in business for 2022, with some sort of normality associated as events return or return to regular dates. The schedule is going to be relatively packed, especially with football commitments thrown in. Hopefully a future post will give some sort of clarity in what’s coming up.

One thing that hasn’t quite been resolved is groin issues that surfaced last year, which felt reasonable despite a slow time doing the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart in January (perhaps I’ll give a retrospective report in due course), but since footy training has started the groins haven’t felt as good as they did throughout January. It hasn’t been enough to prevent me from training in terms of getting on the road, but at times it’s meant that I haven’t been able to do target times or go as far as I’d have liked. Yet unlike races late last year thus far I’ve been able to manage myself through, and Port Macquarie is the second example of this.

Originally the plan was going to be overly ambitious in terms of travel and transfers. Following a lunchtime finish at work on the Friday, I would intend to fly to Sydney via Brisbane, then have to make a mercy dash from one terminal to another as Virgin Australia don’t fly to Port Macquarie, just to make a Qantas flight scheduled to depart barely an hour after the flight from Brisbane lands. Being Sydney airport rather than say Brisbane or Melbourne where such transfers are easier, this would necessitate a long transit time of about 5-7 minutes, plus going through security again, and given the smaller plane departing Sydney it would also likely mean checking the bag rather than squeezing it onto carry on. In the end it turned out the accommodation booked in Port Macquarie (Ocean Breeze Motel, KA-CHING) was only booked for 2 nights instead of 3, meaning there was not need to rush and panic in Sydney as an airport motel was booked for a good nights sleep. It also gave me plenty of time with a lunchtime Saturday arrival for the good old video preview

As it turned out I did make a slight error in thinking the start line was at the bottom of the hill near the beach (closed for swimming due to ordinary water conditions, part of which attributed to the floods). The start line was actually at the skate park which launched us into a short run before the left hander onto the Breakwall. There were more roads involved in the new course, with the turning point about 800m further up the road for the old half marathon course incorporating a third bridge crossing per lap for both the half and 10km events. About 600m was added in a deviation off another corner on the course, and the car park section early in the lap was more winding than ever in order to get the extra 3km needed to create the course.

Race start was somewhere between confused, rushed, calm, easy and excitement, if all of those emotions can somehow be combined. It may not have been easy given the status as a Buster runner to find a line through the normal 3rd wave half marathoners to get priority access to starting behind the fast class (winner of the half marathon covered it in just over 70 minutes), but perhaps the fact we didn’t have to barge our way through was helpful. Perhaps a little too helpful as it put me off my schedule for the day. With this being a training race for future marathons/Comrades qualifiers, I figured it would be a good idea to try to run 6:30/km which is the aim for Canberra in particular. Before the start I decided to upgrade to 6:20/km just to ensure I wouldn’t be at risk of missing cut off times (which aren’t overly enforced unless the time is so slow or there’s illness/injury they can see). The first 5km I covered in sub 6:00/km pace, which although it provided the fastest 5km time of the year (around 29 minutes) it also meant that I was screwing my race by going so hard so early. Managed to pull it back possibly too far throughout the half marathon leg, perhaps assisted with the extreme humidity on course (it was 95% at race finish, shirts were saturated by the end of each leg even if some of it was via hydration strategy rather than perspiration).

Finished the half marathon leg in a very slow 2:30, which was 15 minutes outside what I envisaged. Yet the day was about to become trickier if not worse. After a rapid change of shirt it was onto the 10km, where the start was rather steady at best and sluggish if honest, there were signs that cramping was trying to take hold. I hadn’t experienced cramping in races for some time, and certainly not in the achilles area on my right leg which semi co-incidentally is the area where my groins had been hurting the most last year (most pain is now in between the legs this time). It got to the stage where I would be able to shuffle about 10-15 steps before feeling the signs of a spasm, meaning it was back to walking before it felt better. The worst came just after the drink station on the course extension where the cramp stopped me in my tracks for a couple of minutes. It wasn’t until I got back to the Breakwall to complete the 3rd circuit (which the 10km event represented) that the cramp seemed to go away and I was able to trot to the finish of the leg amongst those who were about to finish the whole thing. Time was about 20 minutes slower than I thought I would go in that leg, with the cramps basically accounting for much of the deficit.

I was worried about being allowed to continue given cut off times, but an altered course for the 5km to necessitate road re-openings and the starting arch remaining mobilised, plus another male runner being in a similar boat running in a dress for a charitable cause (think it was something to do with female kids in Africa) meant it was a case of plodding on for the final leg. It was always the intention of walking the majority of the leg, much like a number of the Buster runners did. But it was good to be able to at least jog a few sections with no sign of the cramp. Trotted into the finish in a near customary position in the event beating a handful of others home but clocking in at the finish.

What the result proves is that the long road from injury is continuing, and that there’s such a long way to go with heaps of work to do in order to get that qualifying run under the belt. Backing myself in to do so really isn’t a question, with the plan being perhaps to get a run under the belt either Tuesday or Thursday morning without great pace. Perhaps this race will be a launch pad into the next race where the aims will be conservative yet ambitious with the base I have.


Decided to try to capture as much of the weekend’s festivities as I could with the trusty mobile. Glad I actually finally figured out which way to hold it so it doesn’t looked all squashed up, not to mention easier in the edit suite to work with. One of these day’s I’ll just use a Go-Pro or something like that to record rather than feel as though I’m stopping and starting (well not exactly stopping, most of the time during the 10km I am on the move at a reasonable clip) and costing me a little time which for other events will become more important.

After the run I did manage to find time to get into the pool at the apartment block for a half hour wade which actually felt good once the body was used to the cold temperature. Felt a little sorer on the Monday but I should be right to do a little more training on Tuesday. I have only a few weeks to work out a strategy in how to get where I want for the Gold Coast 50, be it chasing a time or just completing the second lap which last year I couldn’t manage. Once again the camera will be out for that one, although it may be just pre and post race only. I certainly won’t have done the kilometres I’d have hoped for but at least this year I’ve managed to get out on the roads for a few kilometres here and there, and if I can manage a similar time for the first 10km in this one, then perhaps I’ll be in for a decent day, well that and staying upright.


This year marked the 9th year since my first ever running event outside of school based carnivals. Partially on a whim, partially because the schedule with work and football worked out positively I was able to enter the 5km event of the 2012 Bridge to Brisbane. So what relevance does this have for 2021? Well it turns out that once again the work schedule was advantageous to me and Covid forced a switch of date from the football season and I was able to run the 10km event for just the second time (the other was in 2013), and perhaps the memories came flooding back. This year’s race run was recorded and a Vlog will come later in the week, with so much editing to be done in the interim.

Back to 2012, and after the footy season ended with me recovering from a calf injury and the team eliminated early, I was able to lodge an entry literally a week before the race itself. The difference this year was that my entry came a fortnight before the run once I knew work wasn’t going to be an obstacle in attending. However this was also a weekend and indeed a day where the Brisbane Lions were playing the Western Bulldogs in what amounted to be a meaningless final game of the 2012 AFL regular season with neither team in contention for finals, so I was able to tag along with the old man and one of the younger siblings along with some other mates of my father that weekend. This however did pose a problem as their mode of transportation on the Saturday involved a 7 hour drive meaning that I would need to find another way to collect the race bib, as like this year there was no race day bib collection. It did facilitate a rather rushed trip down to Brisbane during the week with the only purpose being to obtain my race number.

Unlike most of the other events I’ve done over the years, the start time for the 5km in 2011 was at a comparatively reasonable hour, but the location of accommodation in Kangaroo Point did make transportation a little trickier. Fortunately there were buses that would take me from Wolloongabba bus station (which will soon be an underground train station, that project was started and designed long before Brisbane would become an Olympic City) to the finish precinct at the RNA Showgrounds. From there it was another bus ride to the start line located at Hercules Street Park near Hamilton (the suburb of Brisbane, not the Victorian country town or Canadian or New Zealand provincial city), where it was a long wait. It was during that long wait where I discovered the shorts I was using didn’t have pockets to carry my phone, motel room key or wallet. Yes I was aware there wasn’t a bag drop facility but this was so last minute and so novice that I didn’t think about how I was going to run with those items on board. I thought it would be OK to tuck them into the top of the shorts but the chances of them dropping onto the road and being either trampled on or forgotten about with so many behind me would be too great.

The run itself was largely uneventful, with my only real concern was a re-aggravation of the calf issues. I wouldn’t say it was a flat out sprint although at that stage the legs had substantially fewer kilometres on them and the weight was much lower than it is today. The final time of 27:08 these days would be the time I would be happy with at Parkrun whenever I can get out there, but at the time I had no idea of how fast I would, could or planned to go. It was all about simply finishing more than anything else. It was also by far the highlight of the day for the football later that afternoon was decidedly average and I had an early flight home to get back to work the next day to look forward to as opposed to another 7 hours in a car.

Moving forward to this year, the time was ordinary and the aims were about as simplistic, but that story in video format will come in the coming days as well as an updated schedule for later on.


Going back to the vlog format to chronicle the events of last Sunday, which didn’t go how I had intended or even dreamed of. Thanks to the nurses, doctor and physio in Cairns Hospital for their assistance.

Still hoping to start on the Sunshine Coast in a couple of weeks, although I may consider downgrading to the half marathon owing to the fitness levels. That decision will be made closer to the Saturday before the event.