Sunday, 18 March 2012

Weston Creek Half-marathon

I have previously mentioned that I am intending to run the Melbourne Marathon in October 2012.  I have thus started a training programme, based on the model employed in New York 2006 and for the Melbourne marathon 2007.  A key feature of this is doing some half-marathon distance runs at a fair pace - using races where possible.

The Weston Creek Half is the first of these races.  It is organised by the Weston Creek Athletics Club and raises money for two charities, of which I am familiar with Hartley Lifecare who provide support for disabled folk so give them a plug here.  The entry fee was a very reasonable $35: I shall return to race fees, and where they seem to go, towards the end of this post.

After a very soggy previous day, the 18th of March appeared to be fine when I got up at 5:15 and looked at the sky.  I headed off at 5:15 still in darkness and being very alert for wildlife.  I only saw one kangaroo on the way in, and that stayed a good distance from my car.

The race had two starts and I decided that as I wasn't really sure how I was going to go, not having run this far for about 3 years, I would go in the early start to avoid a mass bike ride that might muck up the event later in the day.  (Why the ACT Government permits two large events which used, in part, the same area to occur on the same day is beyond me.  A great example of their incompetence.)

Rather than go through a metre x metre description of the event I will note the performance indicators that were important to me:
  1. I averaged well under 6 minutes per kilometre for the whole event;
  2. I didn't walk at all (even without my mate Rob to act as official abuser when a walk looked likely); and
  3. No kilometre took more than 6 minutes (I am not worried about the slower last 100m - I have have mis-hit the stop button by a couple of seconds).
 Here is a chart which illustrates most of that.

My overall time was 2:00:30 (or as the late Floggo would describe it - 1:59:90).  Looking at the details there were a couple of spots where I obviously forgot about what I was doing but what the heck.  A very well organised event .

Returning to the matter of entry fees.  I was thinking of running the Canberra Half-marathon which is part of the Running Festival.  When I last did this, in 2010, the race was organised by the ACT Cross Country Club and I think the entry fee was $35 or close thereto.  The ACT Cross Country Club no longer exists and the newly formed Canberra YMCA Running Club has entered an arrangement with the Canberra Times organisation (Fairfax media) who own the name Canberra Marathon to maintain the history of an April marathon in the national capital within a Running Festival which now also includes a half-marathon .  The entry fee for the Half is now $72: while they would have extra costs (compared to the Weston Creek Half but not compared to the 2010 event, which also used closed roads) as it is a road event rather than bike paths, I suspect  a good chunk of the extra fees goes to pay the Fairfax employees who administer aspects of the event (or the Fairfax shareholders who leech on the profits).  The same applies to the Sydney Half - also managed by Fairfax - for which the entrance fee is a mindboggling $95.

The Running Festival website includes the sentence "Australian Running Festival aims to raise much needed funds for charity. Last year the event raised more than $80,000 for charities across the country and you can help us raise even more in 2012."  I believe that this refers to the actions of runners getting sponsorship and not that any of the entry fee goes to a charity.

Lets hear it for Fairfax: I suggest to interpret 'it' you listen to Homer Simpson after a chewy burrito..

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