Yesterday morning I ran the Alberton City Half Marathon at the Alberton City shopping mall. I live in Alberton, Johannesburg, so this is a local race hosted by a local club and therefore I like to support it every year.
The half marathon started at 6:30 with the 10km, which was also the Central Gauteng Championships, starting at 06:00. This was done so that the 10km runners would not have to compete for space on the road with the half marathon runners. I really liked this idea and I’m sure the 10km runners loved it. Before our 6:30 start the first 10km runners already finished way below 30 minutes…amazing to see! Anette, Roberto and his girlfriend did the 5km fun run which started at 6:45.
It was a chilly morning so most runners waited indoors before walking to the start. The local coffee shops and restaurants failed to cash in on this which was mind boggling to me.
I think it was the coldest morning so far this year and many runners chose to wear more clothes than they’ve done previously this year. I don’t feel cold very easily and opted for my running vest only.
Waiting at the start...
The race started on time and I was off and into a nice stride very quickly. I wasn't planning a fast run and used this as a training run. There were a lot of my friends running and it was a nice social affair right from the start.
Shortly after the start.
The race runs through the suburbs of Alberton and can be seen as a moderate to easy course. My plan was to run around 2:20 and feel good afterwards.
Typical scenery throughout the race.
The photo above really shows a typical South African neighborhood. Lots of trees with high walls lining the pavements.
There were a few testing hills along the way but no serious heart breakers. I felt good although my stomach was complaining about the huge lamb shank I ate the night before. This was a training run so I did not do anything race specific before the run.
Short walk break on the hill.
As always I only found my comfortable pace and rhythm after 7km. I think it was actually closer to 9km this time with the heavy meat making my stomach felt three times bigger than it is.
At some point we ran through a security estate. This is also typical of South African neighborhoods where the people will pay security companies to close of streets and create only one or two entrances into the area. These entrances are then guarded and monitored by the security company. This is then supposed to keep unwanted characters and burglars away from the houses inside.
Entrance to security estate.
Inside the secure area is a normal neighborhood…still with high walls…
I met up with some of my very old running friends at about 15km. They are the runners in red on the photo above. They run for Roodepoort Athletic Club. This was my club form 1994 to 2003. We enjoyed some chatting and jokes and then I settled in just behind them to the end of the race.
Approaching the 18km water point.
With 3km to go I was feeling very good with only my stomach giving me a hard time. I really felt that I could have and maybe should have run a bit faster but I was still happy as I knew I would run close to my goal of 2:20.
2km to go.
The last 2km I sped up a little and I was happy that I was not really tired but just uncomfortable with my stomach. We ran around the outside of the shopping mall towards the finish. I was happy to see Anette waiting for me as I rounded the last corner about 400m from the finish. I was done and happy.
Into the finish area.
I crossed the line in 2:19:29. I couldn’t get much closer to my goal of 2:20. We received a nice medal and t-shirt to take home.
This was a very nice and very well organized race and I thank the organizers for everything. I did exactly what I planned to do even though my stomach felt very heavy during the run.
Next up is a 25.5km run this Saturday with the SlowMag Half Marathon on 15 April. This will be another training run with a target of finishing closer to 2:15.
Have a good week everyone!