Sunday, 2 May 2010

Canberra Road Running Festival 2010

For many years the Canberra Cross Country Club (ACTCCC)has put on a Marathon in early April and a Half Marathon in about June.  The marathon became embroiled in an ownership dispute with the company that had managed it (in my view, on behalf of the ACTCCC) so was abandoned for this year.

As a replacement the ACTCCC established the Canberra Road Running Festival held on 1 - 2 May 2010.  And an extremely good event it was too.

Day 1
On the first day my involvement was as a volunteer helper for my friend Rob who was managing the two events of the day: a 2km kiddies (<10yrs)  fun run and a more serious open 5km event.

My principal duty was as lead cyclist for the events.  I did point out to him that the last time I did this (for the ABS 8km Fun Run) my bike failed at the 3km marker and I had been overtaken by the lead runner.  However he seemed to think my ability to do as I was told outweighed this history.  I think he was confusing me with someone else but 'problem not belong me' as I had fully disclosed my limitations.

He also asked if I could arrive early and act as a gopher.  This seemed mainly to involve schlepping fencing material here and also there (and occasionally back to here).

I had thought the riding would total to about 11 km (the two races plus some course clearing work).  As the day turned out there were a few other things to be done such as checking that the course was clear(ish) before the start and some contact with marshalls to reopen roads.  It totalled to 25km: excellent training.

In the little kids 2km run one of the little blighters was out of the blocks like a rocket.  I was able to keep ahead of him OK, although a couple of tight turns needed a bit of strategy.  He - Henry Illingworth  -  ended up doing 7 minutes13 seconds - for an under 10!  The second guy  - Max Williams - was only 2 seconds back and the third person was 1st female Keely Small in 7:37.  I wonder if Centrebet are fielding on the 2020 Olympics yet?.  The last one was a tiny 3+ yr old who was getting psyched along by dad so I followed at a crawl.  (It turned out she was normally a more brisk trotter but had face-planted at an early stage so was not feeling totally positive about the event.)

Before the 5km I noticed a guy from Vets who goes like a rocket and told him he'd be disqualified if he passed me. His response was "Don't worry about me, KJ is much faster."  It was suggested that 3 minute kms were likely to be required.  This was a worry, since the 5km course included a couple of ascents on which I dropped to about 3:30 per km.  The tight turns were also more likely to be an issue for me more than KJ.

In the event a strategy of putting in a bit of a gap before the dodgy bits worked well and he didn't catch me.  This was undoubtedly, in part at least, due to the encouragement I got from spectators as I started the second lap. KJ  (Kale Symons) did 15:12 which is excellent for an honest road course.  The 5th km was a tad dodgy as he was lapping the slower runners which meant my lungs got plenty of exercise asking them to clear the course while I pedalled like Marco Pantani going up Alpe D'Huez..

All told lotza fun.

Day 2
This started with a bit of a bang.  It was very foggy as I left home which confused a kangaroo so that it jumped into the side of the car.  Not too much damage to the car and the roo seems to have bounced off: bastard.

I was aiming to do the half-marathon.  As my long runs in the last year were 2x 10km and one 15km I was quite interested to see how I would travel.  My expectation was 2:15 and my hope 2:10.  The course was a tourist delight: see the map for details of the twists and turns.

The weather was, as the patron, Rob De Castella (aka God), said at the start, brilliant.  When I got out of the car it was 3 degrees C and no wind, with a beautiful clear sky.

The second bang of the day was the starters pistol and off we plodded.  I was a tad worried at about 2km as I could still see the balloon carried by my friend Roger who was doing the 4Hr pace group in the marathon (and planning to run about 20 seconds/km faster than I expected to achieve).  I didn't notice the markers for the 1km or 2km points but got to 3km at an average pace of 5:45 - that is faster than I thought I could run for 3km these days, let alone when facing another 18km!

Whatever I kept on going with my speed varying from 6:05 a km (the hill up to Parliament House) to 5:21 for the kilometre coming down from Parliament House.  10km went passed in 57:30 (astonishing) and 15km in 1:27:07 (about 5 minutes faster than the 15km training run I did 2 weeks ago)!

The 15 kilometre mark was followed, about 1,000m later by the 16km marker.  This was followed by a small rumble suggesting that the wheels were getting a bit wobbly.  They pretty much fell off at the 17km mark with a little bit of walking being required here and there.  However as a result of the good early pace I managed to stagger to the finish in 2:06:41 which is within 1 or 2 seconds of exactly 6:00 per kilometre.

As things progressed I had decided that my essential outcome was not to be passed by the leader of the marathon on his final lap.  Although many of the marathoners went past they were still on their first lap - poor sods - and my objective was achieved.  

I conclude with a photo taken just after the 16 km marker.  You just see Parliament House in the background, and it does give a bit of an idea of the Hill from the 4 km marker up to the 5km jobby.

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