Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sutherland Half Marathon

Today I took part in the cross country Sutherland Half Marathon organised by the Sutherland Athletics Club. It was a fantastic and intimate event held in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney. I haven't been to the National Park before and it was lovely to get out of Sydney for the day.

We were lucky that the predicted rain stayed away, however, the rain during the week made for a pretty wet and muddy course as you can see from Trish's shoe!

I thought the Great Ocean Road marathon was a twee event, but this really was a small local club run. There were no timing chips, you could turn up and register on the day and mugs of tea waiting for you on the finishing line. It had the atmosphere of a village fete and I really liked it!

Despite running three marathon in the last year I've never run a half marathon. The only other two events I've competed in are last years City2Surf and a Nike 10k back in London several years ago.

Since Gold Coast I've done very little running, so wasn't in particularly good shape for this run. However, when I went to watch the finish of this years City2Surf last weekend I was surprised what a large number of 'average' (aka I'd rate my chance against them) looking runners were finished around the 55 minute mark. That's a seriously good time and I don't think hard training schedules had got them there. Mind over matter can be a powerful thing.

So I decided to go out hard in today's run, which isn't my usual tactic, and see how far I could go. The half marathon is along a track in the national park. Although the track is in pretty good shape there were some boggy patches and quite uneven ground in place. It was quite beautiful (reminding me a bit of Gelt Woods) but you had to keep your eyes on the track rather than take in too much scenery.

The majority of runners seemed to be club members and there was lots of encouraging calling out of names. I felt a bit excluded not being part of the 'in' crowd!

I felt pretty good most of the way round, running fairly consistent 4min 30sec kilometers all the way round. Although tough it wasn't impossible and I could probably have gone a bit faster. Around the 3km mark an African running came charging past me. I can only think he missed the start by a few minutes and was now cutting his way through the field.

The course was an out and back loop. When I was still a couple of kilometers from the turn I met the leader flying back towards me. He was streaks ahead of everyone else, I couldn't believe how much of a lead he'd established in such a short race. The African runner was already up to the main pack (although that was quite a long way behind the leader).

As I crossed the finishing line there was a man writing down all of our times and we were given a card containing our finishing position that we took to across to a table where there was a lady writing up the results. All a bit old fashioned!

After seeing Phil, Trish and Jennie cross the finish line it was time to get into some of the refreshments! Burgers were being sold at $3.50 each and then pieces of cake were the phenomenal 60c! In the name of supporting the club I had a lamington, piece of cheesecake, muffin and cup cake. Lovely homemade cakes at ridiculous prices. They should have been charging way more.

Just like at the Gold Coast Marathon there were luck door prizes (everyone who ran the race was entered into a raffle essentially). I won the men's prize which was a voucher for a pair of running shoes. Awesome!

I finished the race in 1hr 34min 16sec, I was 29th overall. The data from my watch is here.

I'll add links to the Sutherland website when the results are published.

Update: results are now on the Sutherland website. They stopped the clock at 1hr 34min 23sec.

1 comment:

  1. Jeez, I'd contemplate running that for the cake table at the end ;-)