Gold Coast Airport Marathon - Jordi Dorji
Race Date: July 3rd Results: 2016
6:00 - Grab hire bicycle and step out of my accommodation in Labrador. Watch fellow Flyers Kyle, Rowan and Scott burning the field up in the early stages of the half. Ride to start line at Southport, fingers are freezing. I’m also feeling a hint of tiredness in the legs from a spending a few hours on the bike the day before riding part of the course. Wasn’t the smartest thing to do.
6:50 - Decide to leave it as late as possible to check my bag into the baggage drop area so I can keep my jumper on for longer. By the time I finally decide to line up, the queue is 50m long. Only 20 minutes to go to race start. No time for a warmup jog.
7:05 - Meet fellow Flyers Viktor, Michael, James, Dave, Jerry, Adam, Celia, John (Rich) and Rich (John) on start line. John looks serious, he’s shaved down. He’ll look good in the photos. I’ve chosen the designer stubble look for my first marathon.
7:20, 0km - Gun goes off and I settle in alongside fellow sub 3hr aspirant Viktor and Celia who “just wants to finish” (but finishes in 2:53!). It’s 10 degrees, perfect for running. The first km ticks over at 4:10 but the 3:00 pacers are a bit excited and are pulling away from us. I’m comfortable with this pace but I wonder if I can do 42 of them. We head over the Nerang River and head south along the coastline. Despite the early start, there are already decent crowds all along Surfers Paradise to cheer us on. It helps me along but I don’t want to get too carried away, not just yet. I tuck in behind Viktor and Celia and bang out the 4:10’s. Heart rate good at 140bpm. The pacers are still ahead of us.
12.5km - Damn it, I have to pee. I run up to the portaloos on the side of the road and see a door swing open. Great, I can jump straight into that one. Who should walk out but Steve Moneghetti. “G’day Mona’s” I say, a bit too loudly for bathroom talk. He doesn’t reply and races off. Lucky for him, Mona’s wasn’t taking on his usual 3:00 pacing duties this year. What happens when a pacer wants to go to the toilet?
15km - Turnaround point at Burleigh Heads. Good crowds here as well. The faster Flyers are looking good and we yell encouragements at each other as we cross. The Flyers spirit is strong.
21.1km - I go through the halfway mark in a tick under 1:29. The 3:00 pacers are just ahead of me. No doubt they’re banking time for the back end of the race, but it’s a dangerous strategy for some of us first timers. I feel good though. I’d recently run a half in just over 80min so 89min felt comfortable. Also, I’d been forcing myself to drink at every station. All going to plan. Apart from km13 (4:30), I’d consistently done 4:10’s-4:15’s. Heart rate slowly creeping up but still only 145. As long as I stay under 150, I’ll be fine.
31km - Back to Southport. Big crowds now and there’s a good atmosphere around the start/finish area. The P.A. calls out “White singlet, give us a wave”, and I oblige. I’m trying to take in the crowd support and enjoy the experience. Everything is still going OK but I’m starting to feel hints of tiredness. Also, it’s getting hot and I know there won’t be any shade for the rest of the race. Up ahead I hear 10k Flyers Paul and Anna cheer me on which gives me a boost. Shortly after, my dear wife Jen (who kindly agreed to come on this “holiday” with me) hands me a can of coke and a few more words of encouragement. The coke is fizzy but it’s exactly what I need. Well, half of it anyway, I pour out the other half. I check my watch, I’m still doing 4:15’s but my heart rate is now in the low 150’s. The pacers are still just ahead of me. We pull away from the crowds and I know this is where things are going to get tough. They say a marathon race only starts after 30km. And for the next 6km, we’ll be running away from the finish line which is really tough mentally.
35km - A runner stops on the road just ahead of me and collapses to the ground. His race is over. A bit further ahead I see a couple more stopped on the side of the road, victims of fatigue and cramp. It’s getting hot. I learn later that it is 19 degrees in the shade by this time, more in the sun. I check my watch for my last km pace, 4:15 and feeling OK.
36km - 4:29. Hmm, that’s strange.
37km - 4:28. Hmm (again). The 3:00 balloons are really pulling away from me now.
38km - 4:36…I can’t see the balloons anymore at all.
39km - 4:47. I’m now in real trouble. By now I’m back on 3hr pace overall (the pacers are a couple of minutes fast by now) but I know that my dream of running a sub 3hr marathon is over. I’ve run out of glycogen and hit the wall. Despite having had 4 gels during the race and plenty of sports drink and water, I’m now running on empty. I just can’t turn my legs over anymore. My heart rate drops to 140. System shutting down.
I passed the finish chute just as the elite men were entering the last few hundred metres coming the other way, so I could watch the action live on course. Pretty amazing stuff.
40km - 5:02. For the first time, I physically stop at a drink station for a few seconds. I know the next 2k will be hell. As I start off again, my first few steps are real wobbly but I soon kick into something resembling a regular stride.
This resulted in my slowest kilometre with a 4.45 split.
41km - 5:20. Am I even going to make the finish line? I reach the start of the big crowds back at Southport and draw on their energy to bring me home. I run as close as I can to the fence and rack up the high fives. I can hear Jen shouting “c’mon”.