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July 11, 2015

Sometimes in life you look forward to something so much that you feel disappointment at the end of it all. Often you are underwhelmed by the appearance of iconic figures, other times the experience is diminished for financial reasons. In running, you often can get disappointment by not achieving what you really wanted even though your heart is set on something that in hindsight may have been awfully difficult to achieve.

Sunday 5 July 2015 would be the first time I would have to experience these emotions. As you may have been aware my main aim was to start and finish with the 4 hour train figuring that the pace would be suitable considering the chequered lead in. Unfortunately despite the plan working for a reasonably lengthy period this would not be the case. It turned out to be the SLOWEST Marathon finishing time I had ever done, and I’m certain that I am not going to forget it even though many would send a performance like this to the recycle bin never to be seen or heard from again.

It all started out well enough, I got a decent night’s sleep although a couple more hours may have been handy. It’s not unusual for me to get 5 hours regularly particularly after a longer training session, so I didn’t feel overly worried. After taking on some fluids (a protein drink) and making sure I had everything needed including the gear bag for the dry clothing, it was off to catch the tram known on the Gold Coast as “The G” to the start line (There’s only one place that gets called The G in my book, and a tram on the holiday strip ISN’T that). It was on this tram, where I stood for about 20 minutes, where I saw many of the half marathoners unable to climb aboard because of crowding, My advice to prospective competitors, apart from to book accommodation close to the Broadbeach area where the terminus station is, would be to arrive much earlier than you normally would. Far better to arrive too early than to have to panic just to make it to a start line.

After arriving at Southport, where the start/finish precinct was, I felt very relaxed although I probably needed to sit down more rather than burn up the nervous energy by standing and moving more than I needed. The pre-race planning allowed plenty of time for a toilet stop as well as to get a decent glimpse of the half marathon start which was 80 minutes before the main event was due. After making comment on the dicey habit of some runners having to literally jump the barriers just to make it to the start line, and shortly after the field set off on their journey, it was time for a trouble free warm up, an issue free bag drop, another trip to the loo and the chance to photobomb an interview for the worldwide webcast between a couple of roving reporters and cricket legend Adam Gilchrist…..OK the urge was resisted but I could have done the old “Hi Mum” even if she wouldn’t know where to look to have a look.

So at about 7AM came the time to pick out my position in the start house. Fortunately I was able to find a spot and stick to it for the start without having to make too many movements or where other runners would try to shuffle their way forward just to get a better spot for themselves knowing they would get passed rapidly. After a brief tribute to the late Ron Clarke (running legend and former Mayor of the Gold Coast) which was observed in a superior manner than the State of Origin crowd at the G did, it was time to focus on the road ahead. The usual ceremonies prior to the international event that this has become came and went, and before I knew it, it was 7:20 AM, time to get down to business.


COMING UP IN PART 2: The run itself.



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