This was the 4th Adelaide Marathon I’ve been involved with.
In 2014 I was thinking of volunteering, but with a girls’ night the night before, I decided not to commit to anything in case I didn’t make it! Instead I decided to dress up as a tiger and hang out by the zoo cheering on my friends who were running (along with everyone else!) As you do.
In 2015 I had my first experience as a pacer in the half marathon, pacing 2:00, and you can read all about that here.
Then in 2016 I ran the full marathon for the first (and possibly only?) time, trying to get Beck across the line at BQ (Boston Qualifier) pace. You can read all about that adventure here.
In 2017 I was back to pacing the half again. As I have stated in a previous post, I was originally slated to pace my usual 2:00 but after a particularly sluggish 16k Sunday run at slower than 2:00 half marathon pace, I decided to request a change to uncharted territory, 2:15. That was between 6:21 and 6:23 per kilometre.
Before pacing 2:00 (which I have now done 4 times) for the first time, I practised running at this pace in the weeks leading up to the event. This time, I was just winging it!
On the Saturday I went to the event expo at Next Generation to collect my bib and AWESOME event merch, and see if they needed a hand with anything.
I ended up staying until the end and helping shift the gear to the nearby Adelaide Oval for the morning. In the process of breaking down some boxes for recycling, I managed to hit the window with my elbow with great force (fellow volunteer, pacer and board member Gary said the window shook!) and proceeded to walk around the room swearing for the next few minutes – hitting your ‘funny bone’ is anything but, except possibly for everyone else watching!
SARRC staff Cassandra, Lee-Ann and Harry still had a lot of work to go when I left at around 5:40, and would be there many hours before me the following morning. It seemed hardly worthwhile going home!
In the morning Beck picked me up and we arrived at the Oval around 6:30 to help out as needed with bag drop etc, but everything seemed to be in order so we were able to wish the marathoners well (including first timers Maxine, Dana and fellow SARRC board member Veronica, pacers Jim and Coralie, and runner of 3 marathons in 3 months, Peter!) and see them set off.
After the marathon started we had 45 minutes before it was our turn! Time for a quick wardrobe change, toilet stop, bag drop, balloon collection and a few obligatory photos!
It wasn’t too long before we were lined up at the start – I positioned myself between Gary, pacing 2:06 (6 minutes per km) and the 2:30 pacer.
I started my watch on the gun, aiming to cross the finish line in exactly (or just a few seconds under) 2:15. By my calculation that would be exactly 10am.
Unlike my first time pacing, I managed to hit my goal pace of 6:21-6:23 within the first 3km.
I didn’t have many people running with me throughout the 21.1km but one person I did run with for a short while was PK. He was behind me in the above pic, he was ahead of me for a while, and for a little while we ran together and had a nice chat – thanks PK!
The first hint that pacing might be a bit of a guessing game, was when my watch showed 4.8km as I reached the 5km marker. With GPS being notoriously inaccurate, I couldn’t rely 100% on what my watch told me.
One of the great things about this event is that you get to see the other runners quite a few times – both those who are waaaaay ahead, and those who are towards the back of the pack, including regular running/walking buddy Neil, who was the sweeper for the half marathon. We also saw the marathoners, although we mainly just saw the super fast guys and the people who were behind the 4 hour pacers. I didn’t seem to cross paths with the ‘middle of the pack’ people!
Among the ‘super fast guys’ was actually a woman, you may have heard of her, her name is Jess Trengove and she was the ambassador for the event. She was a great person to have out there, as she was so encouraging to everyone and really seemed to be enjoying herself! And afterwards she was more than happy to pose for pics with anyone!
Unlike the previous weekend’s City2Surf, there weren’t a lot of people in crazy costumes – I guess it’s hard enough to run a marathon or half marathon in normal running kit, let alone Batman costumes or the like! I did see one ‘Batwoman’ running the half, and later on at the coffee shop realised it was someone I knew, accomplished triathlete (and Ironman) Karen!
Also dressed up but not running in the event was my Boston buddy Maree, who dressed up as Supergirl and encouraged runners up one of the last little hills in the last few kilometres. She later said she was quite sore and wondered why, given that she hadn’t been in the event – but then realised she had effectively done a hill repeat session! I was running with fellow SARRC board member Megan at this stage, Megan and I had been running much of the second half of the race together, and Maree was great, encouraging Megan. At this point I started running a little bit ahead, partly to pull Megan along but also because I really wanted to come in as close to 2:15 on the finish line clock as I could.
As we passed the Adelaide Oval and the spot where we’d started the race, the 3 hour marathon pacers and their ‘bus’ passed me. Theoretically we should have been finishing at the same time (the marathon having started 45 minutes before the half) – that was when I realised my pacing may have been a little bit off!
I was on my own by this stage, Megan not far behind. And apparently there were a few other runners with their eyes firmly on my red balloon, but it wasn’t until afterwards that I found out that I DID actually have some ‘friends’ following my ‘bus’!
I remember the run up King William Road and then the left turn onto Pennington Tce last year being quite tough – Pennington Tce in particular seemed like quite a steep hill by then! This year was no different – although my legs were a little fresher, it was no less steep!
From Pennington we ran down the driveway into the northern carpark and up to the entrance of the Adelaide Oval where for many years I’d line up at the crack of dawn each day of the Adelaide Test match!
Through the gate I ran, up the ramp and onto the hallowed turf!
And then the most surreal thing happened! Earlier in the day, before we’d started, the Adelaide Marathon promotional video, of which I had been a part, was playing on high rotation on the big screens both outside the gates and inside the Oval. So as I ran onto the oval, I had the very weird experience of seeing my mug, larger than life, on the big screen! Definitely not something that happens every day!
Then I spotted Mick in the grandstand, he took a few pictures with his phone and sent them to me – thanks Mick!
I crossed the finish line in 2:15:21. I was pretty close to hitting my goal time but the problem was that my Garmin showed I’d run 21.3km instead of 21.1, which accounted for my slower than expected time, even though my average pace was 6:20 per kilometre, actually slightly faster than my goal pace of 6:21 – 6:23. It had to be either a GPS error, or me covering more ground than I needed to by trying to high five all of the kids! I know the course was accurately measured! Anyway, hopefully everyone that was trying to stick with me, managed to get under 2:15 despite my little miscalculation!
After getting my BEAUTIFUL medal I met up with a few of my running buddies who had run the 10k and the half (all of my friends in the half had thankfully been WELL ahead of me – none of them had wanted to see me after the start! Even Voula, who had said she’d run with Gary for a bit and then with me, had never made her way back to my bus! (Don’t worry Voula, I won’t take it personally!)
We had time for a quick coffee and wardrobe change before heading back to the finish line to see Max, Dana and Veronica finish their first marathons, and Peter finish his 3rd in 3 months!
As always, there are a LOT of people to thank. Adelaide Marathon is the biggest event of the year for SARRC and it takes many people to make it happen!
In particular I need to give a big shout out to Race Director Ben Hockings who put on another stellar event. I always enjoy running (and/or volunteering at) your events Ben and this one was no exception! Luckily Ben is superhuman and does not require sleep! Because I don’t think he would have got much in race week!
Then there were the SARRC staff, including Cassandra, Lee-Ann and Harry, and Board vice-president Voula who put in a seemingly impossible number of hours on the day and in the weeks leading up, to make this event happen! (There were many others too, but they were the ones I was particularly aware of!)
Then of course there were all of the wonderful volunteers! HUGE thanks to each and every one of you! A particularly tough job was the marshal role, especially those who were in isolated spots and spent many hours standing there directing runners (no doubt many of whom were wearing headphones!) – special mention to Riesje, Ziad and Gary’s wife Joanne.
And of course, well done to all the runners, without whom there would be no event!
What a GREAT day!