Not only myself in Canberra enjoyed a perfect race day resulting in a new PB but also my friend Francois in South Africa had a great race thanks to his guide Co van den Raad from the Irene Club running the Wally Hayward Marathon in a new PB, beating his old time by 11 minutes!
Well done, guys and thank Co for your help guiding Francois. The Wally Hayward Marathon is one of the bigger races in South Africa and well positioned for that last test race before the Comrades end of the month
Myself, Trent (Marathon Man) and Doug went down to Canberra to have our last big race test before heading to South Africa. The 50 km Ultra is an ideal race with great support and crew along the way. A cold, 3 degrees
awaited us at the start and light fog hovered over the lake when we started at 7am. Doug and I started at the end of the field and within 3 km I found my race rhythm and started heading off – a slow 57min for the first 10km around all the public buildings and capital hill before we head off over the bridge to the city. Slowly my fingers warmed up and I started to feel more comfortable. I ran with a new bum bag / bottle holder to test as I feel I need to have some back up for The Comrades, as those races notoriously run out of drinks before the last, slower runners pass through. As the course is an out and back course and 2 loops one always gets a good idea where one is in the race and I could see Marathon Man, who races of like stung by a bee, slowing down. I figured I will get him on the 2nd loop and sure enough at km 25 I overtook him. I felt good all the way to km 40 when the first time I started struggling a bit and I was glad the route came back into the leave area with big trees give much needed shade as the sun now became hot.
Running the first time into the Manuka Oval finishing the Marathon in 3.48hrs I had to continue around the oval and out again to add the missing 8km for the ultra distance. That was the hardest, leaving the finish again running out on a bike path full of walkers, strollers and cyclist – not too comfortable and also badly marked last stretch of the race. Nevertheless I return on my second wind and sprinted into the Oval a second time overtaking 2 more competitors on the last 20m to finish in a new PB of 4hrs33min for 50 km.