It had been a while since I last ran a proper half marathon, I think the last one I did was in 2006? So it was about time to do another. I had been thinking about the Hanmer one for a while, then Twalk was arranged to be the same weekend… It was a tough choice but in the interests of my training for the next month (well that’s my excuse anyway!) I thought it was best to do a hard and fast race rather than a long endurance race. Anyway after a lot of hassling I followed through and stuck with the half and did that instead.
It was a pretty settled morning, I was quite nervous but confident all the same that I could do quite well. I was aiming to win as always but I would have been happy to settle with a top 3 placing. In the start box I eyed up the competition and saw Vajin Armstrong, a previous years winner and a fairly decent runner was here and figured that was the number one spot gone. 1 min before the start I spotted Grant Guise and immediately went over to meet and take my rightful spot in the starting grid alongside him 🙂 There was two laps of the Rugby field before heading out on the main course. The pace at the front was fairly causal to begin with, almost too causal…so I took to the front and ran at the pace I wanted to coming round the bend and out of the field. Since I was in the front I guts it up the hill to begin with weary that I could be cooking the goose before it was even close to dinner, so I slowed to maintain 180bpm on the HR monitor. I really wanted to stay in front right to the top because at least then I could claim one victory for the day.
Once at the top we were quickly met with a bit of downhill, I could hear the feet behind me slapping hard on the ground a little too close behind, so I used gravity to my advantage and made the guys behind me work for 1st it they wanted it. The 5km marker came up so quickly that I was surprised to see it. I was feeling comfortable and in control. The race was mine now to lose and I continued to run with that mentality…much the same as with Avalanche Peak this year.
I stayed in the lead back up the next hill where I wondered where on earth the damn 10km marker was. I used the hill to extend my lead a bit, and the downhill where I could to my advantage. The next section of down hill was the most interesting part of the course and the most technical, and since I’m and Orienteer, I smashed it, extending my lead a little bit further…only thing was once back on the flat I started to get the stitch a bit….I battled with that for a while, slowing down a little bit, calming my breathing and trying to think about something else.
I was waiting in anticipation for the 15km marker which I felt was surely past me now…and in fact the next marker was the 16km one! I allowed myself a little look behind at this point as it was all flat roads to the finish now. I reckoned I had just over a minute lead, then a second look after coming through the fords….which made my legs and shoes feel a bit heavier than normal! I continued to push hard as we joined the 10km runners, having to squeeze past in a few places…mainly past people with their headphones in….but most of them heard me coming as I was beginning to breath quite heavily! The km markers went by pretty quick at this stage and I keep pushing out onto the road past the excited Sumner supporters and into the finish for the Win in 1:13:50. I was about 1:30min in front of Vajin and a little bit further ahead of third.
So pretty happy with my first Half Marathon in 5 or 6 years (new PB) and another big race win, with a pretty decent time for an off road half too 🙂