Hobart Cadbury Marathon
Race Date: January 11th Results: 2015
It may be said that the main attraction of running the Cadbury marathon is the chocolate and while that is a distinct possibility, I also found it to be a well organised, enjoyable event.
While my training for the event had been very positive and in large part injury free, a month or so out from the marathon I hurt my left foot - a minor injury fortunately but one that caused just enough pain that getting through it took some finesse. Trying to run through the discomfort wasn’t working and I became anxious about it quite quickly as I’m sure my good lady wife would attest. It felt like the 5 months work to that point was unravelling despite the assurances of everyone around me that I could get through it and be fit for race day. Once I got in to see my physio (Cassie at Grandstand Sports Injury Clinic, who stuck around 35 needles in my foot that first time) she prescribed rest – nearly a week off actually and since I’d already vastly reduced my mileage to try and cope with the discomfort and avoid creating a bigger injury it led to me essentially being tapered down – two weeks early.
I am gradually coming to grips with the fact that I almost always feel grotty in the days leading into a big race. Both my mood and body just slump – rather than being ready to jump out of my skin I tend to feel tired, moody (my wife will attest to that too) and generally off my game. That had worn off by Saturday evening thankfully and I got to bed feeling good both physically and emotionally, ready to take on my biggest running challenge thus far.
A 6am start makes for an early start at the Cadbury marathon so I was out of bed before 4am and into what is becoming a go-to race routine. I won’t be messing with something that works anytime soon. In terms of conditions I knew Hobart would be cooler than up on the mainland but the conditions were great, perhaps perfect for marathon running - 13 degrees at the start and maybe only 17/18 degrees at the finish. Light wind on the Derwent river as I was crossing the Bowen bridge but on the whole brilliant conditions.
The course is two laps of an out and back, though not quite the same on the second lap – you don’t run all the way back to the factory on the first which is quite fortunate as that is the most significant climb. It’s a rolling course in terms of elevation with nothing too significant but enough there in a couple of spots to take the edge off. The inclines that do exist are generally gradual and long, the kind that sap the legs.
I got off to a good start, feeling spritely but aiming to run an even race at close to my goal pace - banking time in the first half of a marathon is not for me. By the time I had finished the two laps of Cadbury estate which begin the race I had fallen in with a runner who was clearly aiming to run a similar time and we ended up running the first 20km together. We were in 4th and 5th position, often changing places but once I passed him at 20km he did not have another go and at the turnaround, roughly 23km, I was fairly confident he wouldn’t catch me. 3rd place had been quite a way in front for the duration - I had actually commented to the other fellow that I did not think we’d catch him - however at the turnaround I could tell the gap had closed a little and began to wonder if I could actually catch him.
While I concentrated on running evenly and relaxed, that gap did continue to close and when a paramedic at a drinks stations shouted to me that I could catch him it solidified my resolve to do just that. There’s a long, gradual rise up towards the Bowen bridge, which is where I recorded my slowest splits, but by the time I hit the turnaround I was right on top of 3rd place and I passed him shortly after at around the 32km mark. He had clearly been fading and once I had 3rd place I absolutely wanted to keep it so with the expression that a marathon is a 10km race preceded by a 32km warm up in my mind, I made a concerted effort to push onwards. This is clear in my Garmin report as my heart rate lifts from the 170bpm it had been sitting at and continues to rise gradually until the finish.
There was great support out on the course – I had my name on the bib and received cheers and encouragement by name – even from strangers, being called out by name was great. Physically the hardest part of the race was absolutely the climb back up to the factory. It is just steep enough and just long enough to make it hard but I was also passing slower half marathon runners and still feeling good so managed to push hard all the way into the finish line. I knew I had run a time in line with my goal and adding a podium finish to that was brilliant. I was elated. Hobart does not have a big or deep field so there were huge gaps between 1st (2:25:48), 2nd (2:31:48) and myself in 3rd with 2:42:31.
I finished feeling tired (duh!) but in great condition with just a couple of small blisters and the expected muscle soreness. It was great to be greeted by my wife and kids then jump into the VIP area where my $50 ($70 event entry plus $50 VIP) got me complimentary muesli, fruit juice, coke, coffee, a bagel and a massage while I waited for the presentation. Despite being a state capitol, the Cadbury festival is a small event and on top of the cheap basic race entry I thought the VIP entry was WELL worth it. It made for a very pleasant post-race cool down.
When it came time for the presentation I stood proudly on the podium (in my Newcastle Flyers singlet) and happily accepted the $250 prize and a big hamper of Cadburys chocolate. In terms of analysing my performance itself I am also very happy. I ran evenly – by my reckoning the second half was only around 40 seconds slower than the first – and to my goal, with a bit of room for good racing to boot.