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THE REASONS ALL ADD UP, THANK YOU PERTH!

May 26, 2013
The Calm before Blue Thunder is unleashed across this line.

The Calm before Blue Thunder is unleashed across this line.

What a day, what a rush, what a distance, just what a everything (OK that doesn’t make any sense now doesn’t it). This was my first experience in Perth’s Run For A Reason, and after today I hope that it certainly isn’t the last. Not only was the run immensely popular along a challenging route, but for later runs such as the City2Surf I now have at least some idea of what to expect in a mass start situation.

Certainly the pre-race didn’t exactly go according to my plans, but good runners at least will learn to adapt rather than to complain and use the disruption as an excuse. Perth’s CBD has a lack of 24 hour convenience stores compared to capital cities on the east coast, with the only one that I saw open having the owner taking the longest 5 minute break at the worst possible time. So rather than waste time looking for my usual pre-event Gatorade, I had to make do with orange juice from McDonald’s which is far from an ideal fluid to take on board. Then having seemingly forgotten to take a proper bag across with me, I had to use my laptop bag to house my belongings to hand into bag drop. At least the volunteer attendants had no excuse looking for a distinctive feature for I’m certain every other person using the service would have used a more conventional backpack or satchel bag.

Start time was scheduled for the 12km runners at 8AM, which turned out to be true for the seeded runners who completed the course in a fraction over 37 minutes. For a while it seemed the wave I was in was taking 37 minutes just to reach the start line. It had no impact on the time, for the sensors only work once the actual start line has been crossed, but the crowded nature of the pack meant that thoughts of a world-beating time were almost thrown out the window. That said, the slower pace to the opening kilometre may have had a positive impact for the closing stages of the run, my unofficial timing device (the Nike+ app on my iPod Nano) later recorded my kilometre split times were increasingly faster once a longer distance was reached.

The course itself used Perth’s arterial roads including the Northbridge Tunnel, which given this weekend was also the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix (the only Formula 1 circuit incorporating a substantial tunnel in its layout) seemed fitting. It was my intention that the tempo would be increased from this point, and it was at this time that a few gaps appeared in the pack meaning that I could use a little more gas rather than being conservative and trying to find space. Later in the route was a throwback to the school cross-country day with grass sections amongst the route through Burswood Park. Then amongst the final stages was half a lap of the Gloucester Park harness racing track, adding packed gravel as a third surface for the 12km participants. It was here where I probably should have thought about taking the inside channels rather than sweeping around the outside, for the sprint finish died with about 100 metres to the line and all I could do was trot into the finishing area.

Official times are yet to be determined for all except for the podium finishers in each gender division of both 12 and 4 kilometre distances, and won’t be confirmed until Tuesday at the earliest. However as a guide my unofficial timer did record a time of 1:04:22, which will naturally be adjusted given my timer was started before I actually crossed the start line. During the run I actually thought my splits were only going to be good enough for a 1:08:0 run which even though would have been quicker than the initial goal (proof can be found at https://mhjeffrey027running.com/planned-events/ which will eventually be updated, more on that shortly) would not have given total personal satisfaction given the time taken from the previous event on the Gold Coast. The fact that I passed more participants than those that passed me was more frustrating than anything, obviously some overestimated their abilities and simply clogged the course by walking ahead of those looking for decent times. But that is part and parcel of events of this nature, it just isn’t logistically possible to expect such people not to enter in those groups for participation rather than competitiveness is the main objective.

Sadly I did find a negative to the event, although that didn’t happen during the running portion. Most runs thankfully have a section where participants can utilise free massage services, which for someone like me who has a history of calf troubles is a godsend. Unfortunately it seemed that by the time my stint on the massage table commenced, the waiting time was in excess of an hour. Thankfully there was still plenty of time to return to bag drop near the start line to collect my belongings, but other events which admittedly had a third of the participants of this run (just under 30000 made the start line when both 4 and 12 kilometre events are combined) at least reduced waiting times for the sore weekend warriors like me. Maybe it’s an efficiency issue once on the table, for there was no shortage of massage providers willing and able to assist.

So onto the future, and the event will go on stronger than ever with only 363 days remaining until the 2014 version of the event. Hopefully the date fits into my schedule for next year, which will not be determined for a while. After all, there is still 2013 to survive! To that end, it’s a recovery session at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach tomorrow whilst killing time before the red-eye special returning to Brisbane that night. Then provided there are no injuries from the return to the footy paddock next Saturday, it’s onto the 10km event at the local Rocky River Run which is a late addition to the schedule. The fact that I am not working next Sunday means that the weekend slot is free for me to take part, which rather than being used to break personal best times or to set standards will instead be part of my designated training for the City2South which takes place in Brisbane a fortnight later.

 

To donate money for Indigenous Literacy, the organisation that I’m raising money for in the City2South, then please visit http://www.everydayhero.com.au/MHJeffrey027running where I’m looking to raise a modest $200 amount. Any amounts are welcome from anywhere worldwide, so don’t be shy!

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