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November 19, 2013

I know you may think this year has gone rather quickly much like any other year when you realise that November has come and more than half gone and Christmas is around the corner. I tend to think much differently though, for 2013 has been a long hard grind that has gone at a steady pace. All the commitments have been completed as far as organised running events are concerned for this year, and it’s a case of looking forward to next year, as well as thinking about other priorities until Auld Lang Syne’s final chords ring through the initial stages of 2014.

So how did this year conclude from a running perspective? You could say I’ve now completed the 14km triple crown, with the City2Sea in Melbourne comprising the final leg. It’s a shame that this clashed with other events that I have supported in the past (Run Geelong) and events that I would like to tackle in the future (Point to Pinnacle in Hobart), for I’m sure there would be more than 13000 total participants. I say total because the major difference between this event and its equivalents in Brisbane (City2South) and Sydney (City2Surf) is that a 5km run was offered as an alternative for the first time. Whilst many would find this a challenge in itself, it would not have been worth travelling from the north just to go on a 5km run when I could do this at a local park any time I want, heck this afternoon providing the weather is fine that’s just what I may do.

It may have seemed the course had a ring of familiarity to it, and apart from a section here and there and the finish chute the course was covered during the Melbourne Marathon just over 6 weeks ago. Knowing where to go is a big advantage for out-of-town runners, for they know when to increase the tempo or where potential trouble spots are. It also means that no time is wasted before the run as reconnaissance is not necessary. Given the flat nature of the course a fast time was expected and a fast time was what was achieved.

Typically it was a cool morning in Melbourne meaning the skins top was worn in a run for the first time in ages and I had to wait a little longer to utilise baggage drop so the legs could remain warm under the track pants. Fortunately the Arts Centre toilets were open and available for use (the Arts Centre providing the backdrop for the start line) so there was less time exposed to the cooler weather this time around. It all seemed rather quiet at the start line as well, much quieter than most other events I participated in. Perhaps it was just who was surrounding me being quiet in their nature, maybe there really was nervous tension, either way it was a different feeling at the starting area to many other runs.

Admittedly I did feel a little sluggish during the run itself, perhaps attributed to the lower training volumes that I undertook. With no real plan in place to run any sort of time (or any goals set for that matter) it was a case of finding a pack to stick with and judging my pace of them. I would make some ground at the water stations on course, as I tended not to use all of them to refuel. I felt that stopping to slug a splash of water would have halted my momentum too greatly, so I only took on fluids where Gatorade was available, although consumption on the run proved to be a challenge in itself.

It seemed as though the course felt a lot shorter than the advertised 14km distance, for my pedometer came up with a 12.5km figure for distance covered (for the record I’ve since discovered the 5km run was measured at 5.4km with some coming up with distances of 5.7-5.9). That said the time realistically corresponded with the clock at the finish line for once, probably because I was placed in the faster Red Group that started at the same time behind the elite competitors as opposed to the Green and Blue groups for slower runners that I was in for the other 14km events. The fastest time of the day for the able-bodied athletes was just a shade over 42 minutes. My time was a reasonably slick (even though it didn’t feel this way) 1:06.38 which was approximately 10 minutes faster than City2South, and 7 minutes quicker than City2Sea. I always temper this distance PB though with the fact that this course had little to no elevation as opposed to the other events which had reasonably substantial inclines to negotiate.


This event was the season final for me if you consider a season spanning a calendar year. This week will not quite see R&R, but rather C&R followed by ICKET at the Gabba, a yearly ritual instituted over recent years. Footy training commences the next week, so fitness levels I’m sure won’t be dropping any time soon, especially with a month’s worth of heavy parcel sorting to come afterwards. Planning for next year is ongoing, but initial thoughts will see me tackle 4 marathons of which 3 are locked into the schedule (Canberra in April as part of the Australian Running Festival, Gold Coast in July and a return appearance at Melbourne in October). The other will be either in Perth or Sydney depending on football commitments, with Perth’s being run on the last Sunday in August (August 31) and Sydney a fortnight later. Plus there are half marathons and perhaps returns to the 14km events which I now see as minimum distance for what I want to achieve.

For now, stay safe and remember the 9 dirty words of Christmas shopping, which of course are BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED, ACCESSORIES SOLD SEPARATELY and SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. Avoid these and Christmas will be as it should be, a stress free enjoyable time of the year. separate



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