I did it! I beat my time, I broke the 4 hour limit. Not by much, but from now on I can say I ran a marathon in under 4 hours! My official time is recorded as 3hrs 56mins 27secs. The clever people at Global-Pix.com took pictures of the event and organised them by runner number, so thanks to the wonders of digital photography work flow you can see me finish. I also took some photos after the event, of my feet. Despite having these shoes for 6 years they have refused to make way for my feet and it is up to my body to adjust, which it isn’t doing very well.

But how was the event you ask? Well let me tell you.

It was hard, very hard, just like a marathon should be really or anyone would be doing it and there wouldn’t be as much satisfaction in completing one. It started at 6:30am in Devonport. Being a Sunday morning I didn’t expect a lot of people to be on the street, but plenty of those who lived along the route were standing in their driveways, some still in their dressing gowns, cheering on a bunch of strangers. I passed my old flat in Takapuna after 7am, at which point I’d been running 5min Kms and ahead of my plan. Peter and Anna were there on the fence to say hi, and then rapidly get back into bed I expect. That was 7km along. We ran across to Northcote and through Northcote point to reach the bridge. It was scheduled to close at 8:30 with any stragglers being driven off the bridge by 9 to allow traffic back on. The weather was perfect, I must have been crossing before 8am, the water was really still, there were only a few clouds and I could see all the way to the Waitakeres in the west. This was the first point I really considered stopping. After there it was all going to be flat anyway so I knew I could finish, the only thing that kept me pushing on was the target of 4 hours. I really, really wanted to beat it, so on I ran, through the marina, around the docks and past the jumping off point for the half marathoners. I’d reached there in only 1hr 45, if I kept up that speed I’d finish in 3hrs 30, and I knew I couldn’t do that. So it was the long straight to St Heliers Bay that broke me. I think I reached 25km or so before I walked. I was not happy but I had to do it, check out the picture of my foot if you think I was taking the easy way out. I ran and walked the rest of the course, watching my watch as my lead ebbed away and I came dangerously close to missing my target. It was in the last few bends before reaching Victoria Park that a man in his sixties, whom I had been nearby for quite a while, saw me slow to a stop. “Come on lad, you’ve come so far, you can make 4 hours”. How could I let him beat me? So I got back to a jog and stayed with him until the finish line came into sight. I got into a sprint and for the last few meters, where I knew there would be a camera person snapping away, I lifted my arms and did my best to look like an all conquering campion. Then I found a spot in the shade and lay down to sleep.

Same time next year? You bet!


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