Our training had paid off, we were better prepared and had the advantage of being in our home town with our support crew nearby and knowing the course really well. And I'm pleased to say I ran better and finished in 5:07:25 knowing I had given it my all.
We checked into the Sofitel on Saturday afternoon so we could easily access the startline at Rod Laver Arena and not have to worry about parking or getting up super early. We had a delicious early meal at Gazi and finished our carb loading week in style. We didn't see George Columbaris but ate his yummy souvlaki and chips with feta and dips and bread and a little wine.
|not the souvlaki from the fish & chip shop|
Of course we had to have dessert and coffee and then an early turn in.
Sunday morning saw us at the start line at 6:20 and amongst the 6,000 starters we were able to catch up with some people from the training group and other members of MCR.
|sunrise over the G, pre marathon excitement|
|start line selfie|
I ran along the course feeling pretty good despite the windy conditions, the mood in the beginning was upbeat as I settled into my race pace. We ran past familiar landmarks; Flinders St station, St Kilda Rd, Albert Park Lake and onto Beaconsfield Parade. I passed the half marathon mark within the cut off time and plodded along with the wind in my face and then into my back.
The wind meant I ditched my cap, tucking it into my flip belt for most of the race.
|getting tougher by the km|
I battled on wanting to get a sub 5 hour time but it wasn't going to be this time. As I rounded the last turn and entered the MCG I gave it one last spurt past the 3k walkers and across the line.
|those 2 in green behind me are Spartans - have done 10+ consecutive Melb maras|
After crossing the line you go down the players chute to get your medal, the lovely volunteer made me feel like a champion as she presented me with the medal. I met up with the girls who had finished before me and we fell into each others arms and had a little cry. It was an emotional moment. Running Buddy had done so well busting out a great time of 4:47 and poor Mel had her knee give out the 36 km mark and had to walk the last bit, she had had a great race up until that injury flared and finished in 4:57. We ended up 10 minutes apart.
Second marathon done. I remember while running the first one that I wouldn't run more than a half again but this one was better in some regards and not in others. The support from MCR this time was invaluable, feeling part of the group was very buoying. The volunteers are always awesome and now I have seen both sides of the Melbourne Marathon. The support along the course was good but not quite up to the standard of the Gold Coast, which was phenomenal. Finishing in the MCG is good but it is difficult to get to your supporters and then you're out of the ground.
I felt like I couldn't have done any better on the day, there is probably improvements to be made and we'll examine those before...the next one.