Hill to Harbour 10km
Race Date: April 3rd Results: 2016
In the lead up to this race my return to form post injury had been long and tedious and despite doing everything right in terms of training, my speed just wasn’t coming back. Initially I intended to participate in this race as a pacer however in the weeks prior I started to see glimpses of my former self returning during training and Parkrun hit outs, so I made the decision to race rather than pace.
I knew it was a good omen on the Saturday prior to the race when I picked up my race bib and saw the numbers 777 (my dream bib!). And of course being the resourceful person I am, myself and fellow Flyer Collen West made use of our contacts behind the race pack pick up desk to suss out our competition and assess our chances of a podium finish.
The rest of my Saturday was spent relaxing on the beach, eating good pre-race food, stretching and using a tennis ball for self-massage, and making sure I was well hydrated for the following morning. I even managed to sleep well that night which normally doesn’t happen to me prior to a race.
Race morning arrived and I woke feeling great! I arrived at the start area and after cheering on fellow running friends at the half marathon turn around I headed over to the oval to warm up. I chatted excitedly with friends during the warm up and finished with some 100m stride outs. Still feeling good!
On the start line the atmospheric buzz was catching! Everyone was excited to be in the presence of former Olympian Steve Moneghetti and Olympic hopeful Vlad Shatrov!!! The conditions for racing were not great however with unusually warm weather for April and a horrible south easterly.
The count down to the start began and I mentally prepared myself for the 800m incline up Memorial Drive. Prior to the race I had decided that I would tackle the hill at 4:30 pace regardless of what the other females in the race around me were doing, and I went up the hill at exactly that pace and still felt great at the top (I should probably thank Murray Melmeth from Hunter Water for that). Macca’s Mob prodigy, 16 year old Hayley Gustard, was ahead of me at the top of the hill but she was still in sight!
I flew down through King Edward Park and settled into a sub 4 min pace. I found my rhythm early and focused on Hayley ahead. She looked like she was slowing!
On the small hill behind Newcastle Beach I realised I was really making some ground on Hayley and managed to pass her just as the hill peaked. I was still feeling great at this point and focused on maintaining my sub 4 min pace.
Next challenge was the breakwall which was not fun with the wind but the turnaround allowed me to assess who was behind me. I was holding a reasonable lead but I wasn’t safe yet with fellow Flyer Colleen West in second spot.
Coming off the breakwall was where the fatigue and dread set in. The last 3km of the course heading up to the Honeysuckle precinct is always a killer and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. As I passed the finish line I heard my former coach Hans Tiller and current coach Paul Murray as well as some of the other Flyers call out words of encouragement. I couldn’t let them down now!
After the roundabout my pace slowed slightly to just over 4 mins and I called out to the girls at the Night Striders drink station to throw some water on me. I was going to hold onto this lead even if it killed me!!! The water helped cool me down a little and I made a deal with myself to just focus on 1 km at a time and before I knew it I was at the Dockyards turn around point and half way through the second last km.
Coming back past the Striders drink station I vaguely remember the girls calling out my name but I couldn’t acknowledge or thank them because my mental capacity was engrossed entirely on getting to that finish line. This part of the race was horrible because I was running directly into a head wind. I tried to use some of the male runners in front of me as wind breaks but it was no good. I somehow managed to stick it out however.
The finish line was now only 400m ahead and I tried my best to focus on my running form in an attempt to fool the spectators I was doing it easy and mask the pain I was feeling. Once I hit the finish shoot I jumped forward into what felt like a sprint however I am sure in reality it didn’t look that way. I could hear people cheering and the race announcer calling out my name!
I crossed the line and was stoked to hear my time of 40:29! Goal of sub 41 mins was well and truly achieved!!! Shortly after however I was sitting on the ground willing my breath to return to normal overwhelmed by the number of people offering their congratulations, I felt like a bit of a celebrity!
Next thing I know NBN is approaching me for a camera interview! Wow I really am a celebrity ha ha! After kindly asking them to come back in 10 minutes to give me more time to recover I gave an awkward interview which they cut most of thank goodness!
Post-race I sought out Vlad Shatrov (1st male) and Steve Moneghetti (3rd male) for some Facebook selfies and also celebrated the success of the other Flyers who had all run well! Most notably Collen West who had finished 3rd behind me, Paul Murray who took out 3rd in the half marathon, and Felicity Gamble and Rob Hungerford who took out first male and female in the 5km! Wow what a day!!!