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October 12, 2018

It’s that time of year again, two weeks after the Grand Final the streets of Melbourne become the playground/battlefield for those going the whole 42km for the 41st year. Sure there are more prestigious races around the world, there are races worth more financially and get more exposure in this country, but nothing will come close to beating what is my hometown event which is the longest major marathon in Australia.

Unlike last year where my entire training was derailed by persistent calf injuries, training was going fantastically this year until a slight mishap before the Twlight Bay run 3 weeks ago. Sometimes when you’re looking out for something and concentrating hard to avoid one hazard, another comes sneaking up to bite you. Tripping on an elevated part of a footpath when you’re just about halfway through a long training run isn’t ideal, particularly when the scars on the right knee are still visible if not healed. The one consolation from that tumble was that structurally nothing appears to be damaged, and I’m still able to run effectively. The 1:57 half at the Twilight Bay run (Click here for the pre race video) was a confidence booster, and could have been even better if not for a slight stumble over a speed bump inside the last 3km just before the last drink station.

This year is the 6th time I’ll be towing the start line for Melbourne which is some sense of accomplishment. Never did I think that I would be doing this once when I started running these types of events in 2012, yet I probably would be lost without making the pilgrimage every October. The course has had slight alterations through those 6 years, notably finishing outside the MCG in the year that I recorded my one (and to this day, only) sub 4 hour marathon in 2014. This year the big concern revolves around construction work around the 35km marker, and based on some photos I saw the road marathon may have some trail elements thrown in, unless a last minute change to the course is thrust upon us (which I hope can be avoided).

Race planning remains the same as what I had planned early in September (Details about a third of the way down this page), although last night’s Comrades announcements have put a little extra pressure on nailing a time. Instead of a sub 5 hour marathon being the qualifying marker, the time to get in for South Africa in June next year is now a sub 4:50, which to be honest was easier than I and many others thought it may have been (some suggested 4 hours, I was more worried about a reduction to 4:30 or a Boston style elimination where the slowest Q times miss out). At least I can stick to the plan knowing that a sub 4:20 run will still get me into the F troop in Durban instead of the G group. Knowing that I have a second chance just 14 days later in Auckland will relax any nerves, if not give me an excuse if things don’t go my way.

Pleasingly it looks as though the weather will be playing ball this year. Early forecasts of a wet Sunday have given way to fine conditions, if not a little warm with the maximum temperature scheduled to be in the mid 20’s. It won’t really have that much of an effect on my hydration plan, in that the first drink station I’ll be looking for will be the one approaching the athletics stadium on Albert Park, taking every second stop until the second personal drink station. Naturally I’ll be sipping on something prior to the start to make sure I’m fuelled up as much as I can be without needing a toilet break which has cost me time in at least 3 events in the last 12 months (twice at Melbourne last year, 2 stops at the Canberra Ultra and a long 10 minute stop at Port Macquarie). The wind should be manageable so long as I’m with a group, even if there’s not likely to be a repeat of the 2016 conditions that made getting a time almost impossible (I reckon it cost me 10 minutes).

The plan for tomorrow will depend a little on what time I wake up. Hopefully I’ll be awake about 6:30 in time to get a tram to Parkville to do their parkrun, just to get some excess energy out of the system and to keep up the record of having one officially recorded time at the parkruns I’ve done in the past (PROOF IF REQUIRED). I should be at the MCG for bib collection about 9AM after a brief stop to pick up 2 bottles of Lucozade for my personal drinks. Then I’ll get a bite to eat and maybe put on a few bets before chilling in the afternoon. Last meal should be around 5PM (a pizza), and hopefully I’ll be asleep around 10PM with alarms set from 3:30 in the morning.

I guess that’s all for now, if you’re at the start line on Sunday look out for the usual zinc on the nose hanging around the 4:00 pace runners.

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