This was one of the best races I attended in a long time. Everything was good. The organization, water tables, route and even the weather was great. Someone mentioned a few weeks back that this race always reminds us that summer is over and she was absolutely right. It was overcast with the temperature at 15°C (59F) the whole way. Perfect!
I’ve been recovering from flu and decided to take this run very easy. I wanted to have a comfortable run and still feel comfortable at the finish. I estimated that this would give me a time just below 02:30. As I never look at my watch during a run I was pleased to finish in 02:27:24. Everything was perfect all the time and I ran and finished feeling very comfortable.
There was a huge field as many runners wanted to use the marathon to qualify for this year’s Comrades marathon. Although I was feeling good I was still glad to run one lap only. A second lap would have been difficult.
The route was great and fairly easy. I’ve run this race many times before but the last time was in 2004. The race has always been quite easy with a bit of a sting in the tail over the last 5km. I remember some tough times in the last few kilometers especially on the full marathon. I soon realized the route has changed completely, but wasn’t sure what the finish would be like. I held back a bit for those last few kilometers.
The first 9km were mainly downhill. At 9km we entered a golf estate and ran around the golf course and lakes. This was a very pleasant part of the route. As I entered the estate I looked at some of the front runners exiting at the same entrance. When I reached the exit I realized those runners were already 5.5km ahead of me at that point. In fact, the leader of the full marathon just approached the golf estate for the second time as I went through the exit. I love watching these guys run, so effortless!
I missed the 13km marker along the way so I was happy to see 14km when I expected 13. At 16km I was still feeling great and wondered about the last few kilometers. Will this new route still have a sting in the tail? It turned out not. I was glad about this but could have gone a bit faster if I knew how easy the last 2 – 3km was. I was feeling very good and knew I’m finally over the flu…yeah!
I was stopped for traffic twice in the last 1.5km and this cost me at least a minute. I was very surprised when at the first stop Eric Wright pulled up next to me. He was 2nd in a 10 day circuit race that finished a week ago and ran 815km in the 10 days for his second place. He said he was still a bit tired and was just taking it easy. So was I, but I didn’t run 815km a week ago! Some runners are just incredible.
The first runner in the marathon passed me when I was at 20km and I had about 25m to do when the second marathon athlete finished. Johannesburg is at altitude (2000m / 5661ft) and most marathons are won in about 02:20 here. I finished feeling very good and happy that I achieved exactly what I wanted. All in all a great race with a nice medal and t-shirt.
I’ll be on a business presentations course Tuesday and Wednesday with no time to run so I went for a 15.1km run this morning. I was surprised that I didn’t feel yesterday’s half marathon in my legs at all…nothing! I had a great run this morning! This is very good news for me. I’m slowly getting back into high distance form.