Pichi Richi Marathon 2022

The Pichi Richi Marathon, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022, is a point to point marathon running from Port Augusta to Quorn, through the Pichi Richi Pass. According to South Australia.com, it is considered the most challenging marathon in Australia.

The Pichi Richi Marathon Facebook cover photo – I couldn’t get out of it now!

It’s been 3 years since I’ve done a marathon – my last official marathon distance was the Tower Trail Marathon in June 2019, although I’m not sure where that fits in in marathon terms – although it is a marathon distance, it also has over 1000m elevation so it is probably more like an ultra than a marathon. It also blows my average marathon time way out, so maybe I won’t count that one! My last ‘road’ marathon was earlier in June 2019, the UNI Coastal on the Uni Loop. I have done a few ultras since then but there’s something unique about a marathon!

I had been aware of this event for a number of years and had always intended to run it one day, but it always clashed with the 6/12/24 hour event which had been a part of my annual calendar since 2015. It was usually held 2 weeks before the 6/12/24, so the timing never worked out. 2021 was the ‘last’ running of the 6/12/24 – although it has apparently been re-incarnated, I was officially ‘done’ after last year! So pretty much as soon as that was over, I had Pichi Richi 2022 in my sights.

Considering it had been in my plan for nearly a year, you’d think I would have had ample time to train. And I did, but my training never quite took off. I even had a 20 week plan, starting in February.

The plan was initially disrupted by the ATR Summer Series (2 of the races in the series fell during the early part of my planned marathon programme, and I wanted to be able to run well in the races so I didn’t take the option of doing my scheduled long runs on the Saturday before the Sunday races. Consequently I missed a couple of my early long runs.

I also decided to enter a few half marathons – Clare was part of my original plan but Barossa was not – hence I lost another long run day. No regrets about entering Barossa as it was pretty close to a PB and a good omen for Pichi 4 weeks later!

The other thing that messed up my plan (and probably a lot of other people’s plans too) was the C-word – yep our old friend the ‘Rona! Prior to my positive test I had run 25km and was well on track with my programme. It took 5 weeks to get back up to 25km again (because I was trying to be über-conservative with increasing my mileage) – by that stage I should have been well into the 30s. I had a conversation with fellow runner Tory who has a solid record of going into marathons underprepared, and she assured me that my longest run of 25km would be more than enough, with me having run a number of marathons and ultras before. I was pretty happy with that but I was still keen to get at least one run of 30km in. The week after Barossa, so 3 weeks out from the marathon, I managed to do a solid 30, in not the greatest weather conditions. Saturday was cold with intermittent showers, but Sunday looked a whole lot worse, with likely rain all day and possible storms. I decided to go out on Saturday on my own and run out and back along the river, and was fortunate enough to be joined by regular running buddy Gary for the first 9km of my run. There were only 2 showers, and Sunday’s weather was as bad or worse than predicted, so I was very happy to have got the run done on Saturday!

The plan for the next 3 weeks was to do my normal runs during the week and I’d do 25km the next Sunday, and a social half marathon with one of my running groups 1 week from the marathon. Normally I’d want to run about a half marathon distance the week before a marathon so the timing was perfect!

2 weeks out from the marathon, after a good solid parkrun on Saturday morning, I did my regular BodyBalance class (I’ve been averaging 2 classes a week for the last few months since I’ve had the app to do it at home) and managed to sprain my 2nd toe on my right foot, transitioning from Downward Dog to a lunge – my toe got caught on my yoga mat. Not ideal the day before a 25km run!

Luckily I had plans to run with a few regular running buddies, Veronica and Lachy, who were doing 21km on Sunday. I’m not sure how I would have gone doing that run on my own! I had planned to do a few extra km before the group run started, to make the 25km, but I decided that there was really no need and nothing to be gained from running 25km, so I started with the group. I buddy taped my toes which didn’t seem to do anything. Once I got moving the run went surprisingly well which gave me confidence that even though it would be slow and not super comfortable, I could do a marathon in 2 weeks time! (Thanks to my running buddies for distracting me! Always appreciated!)

Not Happy Jane!

I jokingly suggested that if I could get a local anaesthetic injected into my toe on the morning of the marathon, I’d be all good! Now I just needed to find someone with such skills who was actually going to be at the marathon start – maybe I needed a Plan B! Maybe it would be cold enough at the start that all my toes would be numb anyway?

Someone in the running group said that even if I didn’t run at all again between that day and the marathon 2 weeks later, I wouldn’t lose any fitness. My revised plan was to have a week off, run the half marathon 1 week before the marathon, and then one last run on the Thursday before the marathon.

I asked running friend and podiatrist Nat for some advice on taping, given that the taping I’d used on Sunday had been pretty useless. Nat had a look at my foot and said taping probably wasn’t necessary, and suggested that I should run the marathon in my newest shoes (which I’d only got the day before). In my mind that meant I definitely needed at least one run before the marathon – no way was I going to risk running 42.2km in an untried pair of shoes! I loved that she (and most of my other running friends) didn’t even ask me if I was still going to be running the marathon! They know me too well! Nat did advise me to run 10km on Sunday instead of 21.1km which I reluctantly accepted! 10km on Sunday and about the same on Thursday, that would have to do!

The Sunday run went well – the new shoes felt great! Even though most of the other runners were doing 21.1km, so I didn’t have anyone to run ‘with’, I did stick with some of the 21.1km runners for 6km before turning around, so only had to run 4km on my own. It was probably good practice for Pichi Richi – I was undoubtedly going to be running on my own at least some of the time! I had had thoughts of running. on Tuesday as well as Thursday, but decided not to do anything silly – there was nothing to be gained, and besides my foot was a bit sore after Sunday’s run so I decided to stick with the plan, such as it was!

My last run on Thursday wasn’t awesome, but I got through it unscathed so was good to go! As a last minute added bonus, regular running buddy Amanda, who I’d had dinner with on Wednesday night, had offered a massage appointment with one of her colleagues, Lucy, on Thursday, due to a cancellation.  A pre-race massage wasn’t part of my plan but nothing else had really gone to plan so I thought why not? It had definitely helped me before the 24 hour race and the last 6 hour!

My plan involved driving to Port Augusta on the Friday, staying there Friday night and volunteering at the parkrun Saturday morning, then travelling to Quorn where I’d be staying Saturday and Sunday night. I’d changed my mind several times about where to stay – I’d originally booked an AirBNB in Quorn, then cancelled it and booked the Standpipe Hotel in Port Augusta where the marathon actually starts, then I realised that I’d have to get a bus back to Port Augusta to get my car after the marathon, which I really didn’t want to do, so I went back to Quorn and was able to find a room at Elizabeth House backpackers’ (most other accommodation was already unsurprisingly booked out by then!)

I was originally considering driving home on the Sunday after the marathon but I was told there was a big party on the Sunday night in Quorn so I needed to be there for that, besides who wants to drive 4 hours after having just run a marathon? So I’d booked for 2 nights (thank you to ‘past Jane’ for thinking of me!)

My next priority was finding vegan pizza – my traditional pre-marathon meal is pizza and cider, and it looked like vegan pizza in Quorn might be hard to find – Port Augusta looked to be a better option for dinner! (I had done one marathon without pizza – that was the Tower Trail marathon and I’d had a curry for dinner as there wasn’t anything else vegan on the menu where we went for dinner) Even though I’d be in Quorn by then and would have to backtrack to Port Augusta and back, it would be worth it because the pre-race meal is very important!

Speaking of superstitions, in a similar vein, I’d been at Torrens parkrun a week before the marathon, and I’d found this little pendant in the carpark – it was quite shiny so it caught my eye. I picked it up and saw what was written on it, and thought it was a good omen and something I could carry with me on the run!

A good omen? Hopefully!

On Friday morning I had coffee with some people from the running group, many of whom were Pichi Richi veterans. I’m not sure how the conversation got around to estimated finishing time, but Michael, who has done 20+ Pichi Richis, and knows a few things about it, thought that based on what I thought I might do in a flat marathon (about 3:45, but it’s been over 3 years!), 4:15 sounded about right. I would have been very happy with that! Anything under 4:30 on that course would be great!

En route to Port Augusta on Friday, because the drive up Highway 1 is pretty boring, and also because I was running low on wine, it seemed only logical that I detour via the Clare Valley! A couple of stops later, I was all stocked up and ready to roll!

I knew the accommodation I’d booked, the Majestic Oasis Apartments, was close to the parkrun. Google Maps told me it was a 190m walk! I’d been to Port Augusta parkrun once before so as I drove towards the foreshore I knew straight away where the parkrun was! The accommodation was nice enough, albeit not as fancy as the name suggests, but it was actually a lot closer than Google told me, thanks to a back gate directly to the foreshore! 80 steps from my room, that could be a new record!

View from my accommodation in Port Augusta!

Port Augusta parkrun, which is one of the events I look after as Event Ambassador (which sounds fancy but I really don’t do a lot, they really take care of themselves! Plus I don’t even get a car!), was celebrating its 4th birthday. Pre-injury I’d already put myself down to volunteer, as I figured I’d want to have a rest the day before a marathon! As an added drawcard (apart from the amazing spread of food they put on), Steve Moneghetti, running royalty and Race Ambassador for this year’s Pichi Richi Marathon, was going to be there. It was also a dress-up theme – tutus (because ‘tu’ plus ‘tu’ = 4 and it was their 4th birthday – clever!)

One guy even dressed up as a dinosaur – complete with tutu! While people (OK yes myself included) were lining up to get photos with the dinosaur guy (actual name Richard), Steve Moneghetti arrived, and I was saying it would be pretty awkward if people were more interested in getting photos with the dinosaur guy! Richard ran a very respectable 33 minute parkrun in that costume – I’m still in awe!

With Michelle and Dino Man at parkrun!

I found out that a few of the parkrun team were going to be manning the 36km drink station with the parkrun flags – something to look forward to!

After catching up with the event team, enjoying some of the vegan goodies that event founder and former Event Director John had put on, I had coffee with fellow Event Ambassador Michelle who was doing the half marathon, and her partner David who was one of the official photographers for the event, before making the drive to Quorn, somewhere I’d never been!

What a glorious spot for a run!

Shit got real when I started to see ‘Runners Ahead’ signs – I hadn’t studied the route so I didn’t realise it was the actual road you drive on to get from Port Augusta to Quorn!

Hey, it’s not that far!

I arrived in Quorn around lunchtime and checked in to my accommodation, greeted by my lovely host Kylie. I chose a room near the front door because I was sure I’d get lost trying to find the other room she offered me, especially after a few drinks after the marathon! The hostel is actually the original Quorn Hospital, which then became a nursing home, then a private residence and now a hostel! It’s nearly 100 years old, with private rooms but shared bathrooms – surprisingly the place wasn’t full! The shared bathroom didn’t bother me, especially as my post-race shower wouldn’t be until the afternoon so I was pretty sure people wouldn’t be queued up outside the shower at 2pm! It had a really nice vibe, even though there weren’t any other guests around – it had a lounge, fully equipped kitchen as well as a lovely outdoor area!

Another good omen? Definitely!

After that I went for a wander around the town, everything I needed was within walking distance, except the marathon finish line (well it’s 1.3km away but I certainly didn’t fancy walking there in the dark for a 6:15am bus, let alone then walking back after the marathon!). I went to see the finish line and work out where I was going to park, and I also sussed out the hotel where a large group of other runners was going to have dinner, and the silos where there is a light show on every night – I definitely wanted to see that!

The finish line – I was looking forward to the next time I’d see this!

Somehow I managed to lock myself out of the hostel, leaving my keys in my room – luckily it was a nice day and I had my phone and car keys. Kylie was very accommodating, coming back to let me in (she doesn’t live onsite but not too far away). I then headed back to Port Augusta to get the pizza I’d ordered from The Hut (which I would later discover is along the marathon course!) – it was a gourmet vegetarian pizza without cheese – I could have had vegan cheese but it’s an extra $6, I figured if I wanted something that tasted like cardboard I could always eat the box…

Pizza and wine – a new tradition?

While in Port Augusta I stopped off at the Standpipe, start point for the marathon, to collect my bib. I could have got it on the morning, but since I was in town I thought I might as well.

I didn’t have any cider to go with the pizza, but I had wine and I figured that would do! It was a really nice pizza! I was planning to save some for Future Jane after the marathon but it was too good, so I ate the whole thing! (I’m banging on about the pizza because I’ll probably come back again for this event and I will probably forget what pizza I got and from where!)

I then wandered down to look at the silo light show, worth a look but you probably don’t need to make a night of it, 5-10 minutes is plenty! Across the road was the Austral pub where the rest of the gang was having dinner. A couple of vegetarians in the group had ended up going to the Transcontinental next door as the Austral didn’t have any vegetarian options – sounds like I made the right choice with the pizza!

A few shots of the silos!

As I arrived I was handed a glass of red wine and somehow it never seemed to get empty! I blame Serg for that, he was sitting across from me and kept insisting on topping up my glass, even though I kept insisting I didn’t want any more, because I was running a marathon the next day! (To be fair, it was a tiny glass so I didn’t really have that much wine, but more than I’d planned on!) Most of the others in the group were running or walking in the event but I was the only one out of that lot that was doing the full marathon.

As I left the pub, karaoke had started – I wished I’d been able to stay, I LOVE karaoke, the woman singing at the time was TERRIBLE and I could have done SO much better! But I had more important things to do, namely SLEEP!

I got back to the hostel to find a bunch of people in the lounge so I went to meet them and chat with them for a bit, they were all running the half marathon. One of them started talking about the Point to Pinnacle, having run it last year (I think in relation to Pichi Richi being a pretty tough race!). I was very familiar with Point to Pinnacle, having run it myself in 2018, and I told him that coincidentally I was going to be running the marathon in a Point to Pinnacle T-shirt the next day! (It seemed appropriate to be running a tough marathon in a T-shirt from a tough half marathon, plus I’d had a really good Heysen run last year in it, and given that I was likely to be out in the elements for well over 4 hours with no opportunity to reapply my sunscreen, I’d be better off in a T-shirt than a singlet.)

I had a disturbed sleep – I had had a really good sleep in Port Augusta on Friday night despite the pillow being a bit fat for my liking, so it didn’t matter too much that my sleep on Saturday night wasn’t ideal (I blame Serg and the wine!). I had 3 alarms set, I always do this even though I’ve never not woken up to the first one! I got up at 5am to do my Wordle, Worldle and Heardle, before getting up to have breakfast (granola). The Wordle was RUSTY which I thought was quite appropriate considering I hadn’t done a marathon in 3 years!

I arrived at the oval early, but luckily the bus was already there – it was quite chilly and I didn’t fancy standing out in the cold any longer than I had to! (I’m not sure what the temperature was in Quorn but I do know that at the time the marathon started in Port Augusta the temperature was around 6 degrees but ‘feels like 3.5’.) It seemed to take forever to get from Quorn to Port Augusta (nowhere near as long as it was going to take to get back to Quorn again!) and we arrived with around half an hour to spare. There were only 47 starters in the marathon and only 12 of those were women, so it was a refreshing change to not have to queue for the toilets (and as an added bonus they weren’t portaloos!)

There were a lot of familiar faces there, Michael who’s done about 25 Pichi Richis, David who I later found out had done 11, and Tim and Colin who had done a ridiculous number of marathons. This would be my 10th. Steve Moneghetti fired the starters gun and away we went!

67 Pichi Richi finishes among this lot – Michael 24, David 12, Peter 18 and Colin 13!
Photo: Michael Davies
Right near the start! Photo: Linda Gardiner

Driving from Port Augusta to Quorn twice the previous day, one thing that I hadn’t quite grasped was just how long we’d be running on the highway – 9km in fact! And although there were cops EVERYWHERE, we were still sharing the road with B-doubles – definitely not something I’ve experienced before!

Soooo scenic! Photo: David Fielding

I was running just behind Michael, who is way faster than me and I was a bit worried because I was not fast and I didn’t want to burn myself out early. I ended up staying with him for about 12km after which he took off. There was another guy with us too who I later found out is also called Michael – he had a very dedicated cheer squad following him along the course and every time they’d come out they’d give me a cheer too which was nice! Eventually he got way too far in front of me so I saw less of the crew later in the race but it was much appreciated!

Being a small marathon, I knew I’d be running on my own, and from 12km to about 22km I didn’t see any other runners. The timing of the 21.1km and 10.5km starts (also point to point races, all finishing at the same place) meant that I wouldn’t be seeing too many of those runners/walkers – the half started only an hour after the full, it was unlikely that I’d be at the halfway point inside an hour! However there were still cars on the road, heading towards Quorn (we were on the other side of the road which was closed to all traffic), and every now and then you’d get a beep from one of the cars and occasionally it was someone I knew, which was cool!

Even though the elevation map looks like it’s all uphill until the last few kilometres, it’s actually pretty flat until about 17km. Most of the elevation is actually in the second half, meaning that the half marathon is probably, weirdly, tougher than the full! Just before I reached the half marathon start point (my halfway mark!) there was a motorcycle cop on the side of the road, and I was on a downhill section at that stage, so I jokingly asked him not to book me for speeding. I don’t think he thought it was especially amusing, maybe he didn’t hear me, and maybe I wasn’t the first person to make that joke that day!

It’s practically flat…

The half marathon starts straight uphill! At least we got a nice 17km warmup before we got any hills!

I had decided to keep things really simple this time around. In my early marathons I had used pace bands, with my goal time at every kilometre written on there. However, time wasn’t an issue here so not only did I not have a time goal or pacing plan, I decided not to look at my watch at all. Conveniently I was wearing arm warmers which covered my watch nicely! Just a little comforting vibration every kilometre, that was all I got!

I never use gels, and I don’t really eat during a marathon (I’d previously used lollies, and in the Uni Loop marathon I’d eaten sandwiches because I was using it as a training run for the 24 hour race), but I decided to try something a bit different, Tom and Luke’s salted caramel Snackaballs. They were small and convenient. I’d used them in ultras before but never a marathon. I’d used them for a couple of my long runs this year, and they’re easy to eat while still running. I had 7 of them, I figured around every 5-6km would be enough. I also had a full bottle of Gatorade but I also planned to take advantage of the water stops (every 5km. and then every 3km after 30km). I only had Gatorade for the first 15km and from then on I got water at every stop.

Around 22km David caught me. I ran with him briefly, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see him again – he just floated away like he does, making it look easy! I asked him if he ever walks which he said he does on some of the steeper hills. Not long after this I saw him up ahead walking, so that was when I started walk/running too. I alternated between 8 step walk/8 step run and 8 step walk/16 step run. Never more than 8 steps walking though! I find this works really well because if I walk for too long it’s really hard to get running again!

I had been a bit concerned about how my foot would go on the marathon, but it wasn’t too much of an issue. A lot of the run was uphill, so I wasn’t putting weight on my toes. There was a bit of downhill, especially towards the end, and I did feel it a bit on those sections, but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be!

Just before the 33km drink station, I saw a figure up ahead that I thought looked like Michael but I thought it couldn’t be him, he would be too far in front! But he has a very distinctive running style, I don’t know anyone else who runs like him, so even though it couldn’t be him, it had to be him! I stopped at the drink station for some water. I could see there weren’t any bins up the road like there normally are, and I hate littering, so I just drank at the drink station and left my cup there – at this point I also topped up what was left of my Gatorade with water. I normally drink Gatorade pretty diluted – straight Gatorade is a bit too strong – so even with half Gatorade/half water it still tasted OK!

I caught up with Michael and ran with him for a bit, he said he was going for a PW (turned out he’d injured himself not long before the event which would explain why I was running with him now!) to which I responded I was also going to do a PW! It would definitely be a PW for Pichi Richi (being my first time) but I was also expecting it to be a road marathon PW. (Of course it would also be a Pichi Richi PB!)

Pretty soon I saw a figure up ahead, I recognised him as Kiwi Cricket Guy, I’d seen him at the start and also at other running events. I ran to catch up with him, he’s done a bunch of events in the 1980s style NZ cricket shirt and pants, I can’t even imagine running a marathon dressed like that, it’s hard enough in proper running kit! I think he said he was going to do a 24 hour race in it!

At the 36km mark I saw the parkrun flag and there was John, it was nice to see a familiar face on the drink station, I didn’t know any of the other volunteers along the way, which is not surprising since they would all have been locals, so it was nice to see one!

Around 37km I got a nice surprise, I wasn’t expecting to see too many other runners out there but I had timed my arrival perfectly for the start of the 5km race. There were a bunch of runners lined up for the start, I gave them a cheer as I ran past, fully expecting to be swamped by runners pretty soon (you’d expect 5k runners would be going a bit quicker than 42.2km runners!). Among them was Liz, Michael’s partner, (the two of them had been instrumental in getting Steve Moneghetti to Pichi Richi) and Wonder Woman (I’d say she would be tied with Kiwi Cricket Guy for best dressed – Kiwi Cricket Guy gets extra points for degree of difficulty!).

Not long after this there was an ambulance on the road, a guy had collapsed, I thought he must have been a marathon runner. Police were there as well as someone from St John’s, the ambos were on their way, so they had the situation under control. Not long after this Liz caught up with me, she said she’d seen someone on the side of the road and was worried it was Michael, I said I’d just seen him and it definitely was not him! Hopefully whoever it was is OK!

Love this photo of me with Liz (in the 5km) around the 39km mark. Photo: David Fielding

Liz then took off and I was left to enjoy the last few kilometres, occasionally being passed by another 5km runner, as we approached the outskirts of Quorn (does Quorn even have outskirts?)

Along the way, every kilometre was marked on the road. My watch was a bit out by the end – at first my watch was vibrating pretty much as I passed the markers, but as time went on the markers were further and further away from the spot where my watch went off. It was kind of cool when we were at 12km and I looked across to the other side of the road and saw a road sign that said “Q 30” indicating we were 30km from Quorn. I tried not to focus too much on the Quorn signs after that – especially in the first half! You definitely don’t want to be counting down the kilometres at least until after the halfway mark!

I had been told the last 6km was downhill but there was one more hill around the 39km mark (David apologised when I saw him at the finish, for not telling me about it when we ran together – he had forgotten about it himself!)

When you hit the Quorn sign, there’s still over 1km to go but having recce’d the finish line on Saturday, I was prepared for that. I still had my Gatorade bottle and I didn’t want to run through the finish with it, so, as I couldn’t see a bin anywhere, I decided to drop it on the side of the road just before the finish line, and go back and get it afterwards.

What a great feeling it was to cross that finish line and stop my watch (still never having looked at it), collect my very well-earned medal and a bottle of water. I spoke to a few people briefly but my first priority was going back to get my discarded bottle. I was also pretty keen to get my shoes off but I didn’t think I’d be able to walk very well in the slides I’d left in my car, so I thought it was safer to keep the runners on! Somewhere along the way to finding my bottle, I thought I might have a look at my time. The first thing I saw was the time of day which was 11:25. I was a bit confused by this because we started at 7:30 so that would mean I’d run under 4 hours, how was that even possible? But sure enough, I looked at my run time and it was 3:55 something. Even while writing this I can’t quite believe it!

Back at the finish line my next priority was coffee and food. I was pleased to see sweet potato fries at the coffee van and wow did they taste good!

It was such a perfect day weather-wise, and there were so many friends there to catch up with! Just before they did the presentations, Sue asked me if I was 3rd, I hadn’t considered this possibility but she said that there were only 2 other women ahead of me out of the marathon, and the only women that had passed me along the way were 5km runners, so maybe! I checked the official results and sure enough I’d managed to scrape in to the placings, ‘just’ 12 minutes behind 2nd! That was an added bonus and to make it even more special Steve Moneghetti was doing the presentations! It was my first legitimate podium in a marathon, I’d finished 2nd twice before but in one of those events I was one of two women, and in the other I was one of 3, so literally all I had to do was finish to get a placing. In this case, although it was admittedly a small field, there were 12 women in the race, so I kind of earned this one…

Straight to the pool room!

I was glad Sue hadn’t mentioned my position as I went past. I prefer not to know and just run my own race! I am also glad I didn’t know that 4th place was over 20 minutes behind me. If I’d known that I would definitely have taken my foot off the gas and almost certainly not gone sub-4!

Obligatory photo with the great man! Thanks Lachy for the photo!

As we were about to leave, we saw Peter approaching the finish line. Peter was the one who had been trying to convince me for years to run this event, and was heavily involved in the organisation and promotion. It was great to see him finish (I’m not sure how many Pichi Richis he has done!) and it was great timing too as Michael and Liz were about to take Steve back to Adelaide to catch his flight home – it would have been a shame if he had gone by the time Peter finished! I told Peter thanks for talking me into it, I really enjoyed it and I would definitely be back. I am pretty sure I won’t run the marathon again (unless I’m running it with someone else and probably at a more cruisy pace!) but I am 100% keen to try the half!

A pretty good day out!

Here is a link to the local news coverage of the event – unbeknownst to me I was in the background during Steve Moneghetti’s interview – completely oblivious!

Not my first time photobombing Steve! That’s me in the tiger onesie, Adelaide Marathon 2014! Thanks Nat for this photo!

I drove back to my accommodation and wandered down to IGA to see if I could find any decent vegan food to bring to the night’s celebrations (spoiler alert – I didn’t!) and I quite fancied an ice cream and/or a Coke. Then I saw a lemonade ice block and I thought PERFECT! I sat down on the bench outside the IGA for the first time since I’d finished (over 2 hours since I’d finished) and that would have to have been the best tasting ice block I’ve ever had!

I went back to the hostel for a shower and change of clothes, responded to the multitude of Facebook and Strava messages and then wandered down to the Great Northern Lodge for the party, with a couple of bottles of wine to share, since I couldn’t contribute any food! Marg and Leanne were kind enough to let me have some of their vego sausages and there were heaps of salads there so I didn’t go hungry! And there was ample wine of course! And singing and dancing – such a fun night!

I went ‘home’, got in the front door of the hostel (which was conveniently unlocked, I don’t think it was supposed to be!) only to get to my room and realise I didn’t have my keys! Rather than walk back to the party to get them (who can be bothered doing that after a marathon!) I curled up on the very comfy couch and grabbed a blanket. I’m sure I would have slept better in my bed but probably not much better – I don’t tend to sleep that well after a marathon or ultra! The next morning I did the ‘walk of shame’ back to the lodge to get my keys, then back to the hostel to freshen up and pack, and met the rest of the gang for coffee before we all headed home. I opted to go via Clare rather than the main highway, no wine stops this time but there were a lot of leg stretch stops! And randomly ran into 2 groups of people I knew at the same lunch place in Clare! Great minds!

It was such an awesome weekend, everything about it! The location was beautiful, the people were lovely and personally I had a great run. Special thanks must go to all the organisers and of course volunteers for putting on this brilliant event which I will be talking about for years to come – I do plan to come back and run the half next year (I’m a one marathon a year type of girl and next year is all about Chicago, so I can guarantee no Pichi Richi Marathon for me in 2023)

I have to say, if you’re only ever going to do one marathon, you could definitely do worse! Beautiful scenery, friendly participants/spectators/volunteers, and probably my favourite thing about it, it’s a point to point event – you actually feel like you’re going somewhere, that there is some kind of point to this running thing! It’s a lot like Boston which is another one of my favourites, although Boston is a bit flatter, the field/crowd is a tiny bit bigger and it is marginally harder to get into… but other than that it’s pretty much the same!

Now is the fun part that I remember – that bit where you have to start thinking about what’s next! This has been my focus for the best part of a year, and now it’s done – my next scheduled event (City-Bay) is not until September – what to do until then?

I guess I’ll need to take the next couple of weeks off at least, because, as it turns out… my toe is broken! (I intentionally didn’t get it X-rayed before the marathon, because I’m not sure I could have gone ahead with it if I’d known it was broken before, and I REALLY wanted to do it!)

I’m no radiologist, but even I can see something’s not right here!