ONEHUNGA HALF MARATON – was my test run for the Auckland Marathon. And it went great. I was nervous heading into it. I’ve changed my diet, I had a cold and I was feeling slow. But God is good and everything came together. I finished in 1:31:58, which is a personal best for me, and for the runners, there was a 90second negative split, meaning the second half was faster than the first, which is how you run the ideal race.
As we head off from the start, confusion reigned, and some people went one way up the bridge and others another, there were no course markings or marshals. It was raining and there was a little wind. As always there is a lot of jockeying for position in the openning KM, and you have to be disciplined to just run your own race, and not be sucked into speeding up when a group goes, or slowing down when they run out of puff. 6km in, things were settling down, we were running into a little head wind. I remarked to the guy beside me that I caught that the wind wasn’t that bad was it. But he huffed: “Feels pretty hard to me.” Well at least it’s not like Metservice predicted I countered, and I moved up over the next 2k to the person in front of me. We joked around a bit, and wondered whether we should have trail shoes, or flippers! There was so many streams across the path; and the race blurb mentioned nothing about river crossings 🙂 It was about this point that someone started running the opposite way with the 10km turn around flag! Man, I’d be pissed if I was running the 10k and ended up running too far.
We go past the first aide station, I decide not to take a drink, which is a good thing, as no one is holding out any drinks, and you can’t get to the tables for the volunteers standing in front; sigh.
The organisation this year was really bad. We then came to the railway over bridge, so I quickly downed a gel because at the bottom is the aide station. But no, there was no aide station; sigh; another thing gone wrong. We keep running and eventually come to the turn around, this year in a slightly longer position, and an aide station. They hand me a drink, looks like water, yah, I can get the gel taste out of my mouth. Yuk, its something gross, … not water.
The guy I’m running with drops the pace a bit, so I pass him and see how he’ll handle it. He doesn’t follow. We get back to that first aide station and I take a drink this time. Shortly after this, I get passed by the person I passed. I could hear him gaining and he blasts past. I increase my pace from 4:34 to 4:12 to keep up with him and ride his wake, about 1 metre back. Close enough he knows I’m there, but without being pushy. We pass two others, and keep on at 4:12/km. This is much faster than I thought I’d be running, but it’s comfortable as long as I remember to swing my arms. We then cross the old Onehunga bridge and get a bit confused as to where to go, as there are no marshals and someone on a bike directs us onto the road, but the briefing say stay on the pavement; we move onto the road. We then work our way out to the final turn around side by side, with me just a little behind him. At the turn around he says: “Just 5k to go, time to block everything out.” … “Yep I reply, anyone can run 5k.” I take my opportunity and run as hard as I can.