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Mclaren Vale Marathon

Yesterday is a day that we won't be forgetting anytime soon! Roughly five months ago we completed the Victor Harbor Half Marathon with an injury that took us a couple of months to recover from. That being said, we rallied the team together to see if anyone would be interested in making the 90 minute trip down the freeway to tackle the Mclaren Vale 5km, 10km, Half Marathon or Marathon. As it turned out, there were just the three of us, Sharmaine (my wife), Kim (our client) and Cam, her partner. My Mum was very generous by offering to take care of our three young ones for the two days so we had an entire weekend to "relax" and focus on ourselves for the first time in 4 1/2 years! Our weekend started on the Saturday morning down at West Beach parkrun, a beautiful course that starts along a path overlooking the coast and then moves to the edge of the

Torrens. The path has just been upgraded and they've done a wonderful job. My wife and I took it easy and completed the course together but not without a little sprint towards the end. A quick stop at a bakery for our second breakfast and we headed straight for Mclaren Vale to take a look the course, grab our race bib and hand in our drink bottles to be placed at five different drink stations along the course. After lunch we hopped back in the car to drive the course. At the time we wished we hadn't but in hindsight it was the best thing that we could've done! There were several sections of long slow climbs and then a couple of steep but short sections, however these were all followed by a generous long slow descent and being a two lap event for the marathon we were keen to sit back on the first lap before coming up with a plan for the second lap. Sunday morning couldn't arrive quickly enough! I woke up at 12, 3 and 4am ready to go, I've never been a good sleeper the night before a match or running event and Saturday was no different. When the alarm finally went off at 5am, I hopped straight into the shower and grabbed my clothes that were already neatly laid out the night before. I made a bottle of Gatorade and sat down to eat three eggs and three slices of toast made by my wife. On completion we were packing up our gear and heading down to Mclaren Vale, a 19km drive. The line up of cars stretched right into town but fortunately for us we just missed the traffic and started our race prep whilst others were frantically trying to sort themselves out. At 7am the gun went off and so did we. The plan was to aim for 4 minutes and 15 seconds for the first lap and hold on for as long as possible. I was joined by 3 others with the same goal of running under three hours and had the pleasure of running with a Frenchman named Eddie for 24km. We chatted about the scenery, our goals, how we felt and our potential plans as the race wore on. I was certain that Eddie was going to run off at some stage but surprised myself when I made a move at the 25km mark as we ran up a long ascent. I ended up making 2 places on that hill and set my sights on the next competitor albeit minutes ahead. Over those next few kilometres I was able to find a new gear, albeit weary of burning out and ruining my race and slowly but surely caught the next runner with 4 kilometres left! At this stage I was just focused on finishing under three hours, I was certain that the next runner was long gone and even if he wasn't, with all of the 10km and 21.1km runners spread across the course it would've been impossible to know any different. I kept pushing the pace and now I was hitting 4 minute and 5 second on each kilometre knowing that the finish line was just around the corner. The support from the crowd yelling out my name (written on my bib) spurred me on even further and I crossed the line in front of family and friends with a time of 2:58.19, a huge pb and a lifetime goal achieved! In amongst it all I took home 6th place and was just 10 seconds from 5th! These events are run so well by paid staff, volunteers and everyone in-between. A huge shoutout to Great Southern Runs for putting on a great event and to my support crew, especially Cam for waiting 40 minutes to hand me my cap on the 2nd lap. I'm not sure what the plan is for the next year but I can absolutely see myself coming back and trying to get onto the podium.


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