There is something special about local events. They usually start later, and you get to sleep in your own bed witha quick drive to the start. Bliss. Sunday was especially blissful as it was a crystal clear day that started with a minor frost but it cleared quickly.
Another bonus is familiar faces. You see all ages and levels of runners, everyone is relaxed yet excited and ready to run. Due to expressway construction we started 700 metres down the road from the school. The warm up jaunt to the start was nice to catch up with other runners.
The starter noise goes and the front runners take off. Run past the houses and into the country, beautiful flat roads, no traffic, and excellent marshals. The sun starts heating up quickly though and now eagerly anticipating the first water station.
This part is always hard to rein in your pace, no matter how hard I try to slow down it is always 10-20 seconds faster than goal pace. You try and guess who among you is racing to a pace plan, could the young buck surging past you in street shoes know exactly how far 21kms is… 🙂
Perfect long straights in the first part with zero wind and clear conditions but the strange thing about the 5-9km mark you always feel heavy legs, lack of speed and pure un-motivation to keep going. This point the pace is evening out and there isn’t as much passing and surging. We start passing the walkers, and play the game of weaving in and out of their 2-3 side by side.
We get to the second water station at the turn point for the loop and look ahead to slight undulating climb just enough to make the legs feel the slog uphill… battling it up the hill with a young girl I think Graham’s Tuesday hill sessions should really give me a boost even if only psychologically. Coming out of the hills it’s a flat straight and slight breeze if you call it that. Play a bit of fun cat and mouse with other runners, notice the ones with heavy breathing, uneven pace and slowly start to pick them off. Unlike the first few kms where you find people pass you confidently at speed, here you slowly choose your target and achieve a pass with slow tenacity. It is nice roads for the countdown to the finish, until you spot two little tiny hills that are enough to take off the edge off your pace. Grit teeth and persevere.
Last few kms feel both endless on the lungs and legs. You can feel the impending finish line even more than you can see it across the corner. Pick up to a steady tempo and try keep the pace all the way to the finish. Conditions are perfect, lungs and legs can hurt just a little more. Crossing the finish line, right on target, makes for a great day.
Great results by all Hawks. They represented in the Half Marathon well with Tim Stewart and Lance Brew taking a special first and second clean-up, just like those kiwi boys did in Athens 10 years ago today. Tim Stewart just a mere 12 seconds off the course record set two years ago. The top ten was rounded out with a few more Hawks with Sunil coming fourth and Kevin Knowles showing those young bucks how it is done in 1:23. Great first placing by Emily Roughan, in 1:27. Maureen Leonard and Charlie Evans taking out their age placings with a good runs in the early 1:30’s.
Also particularly great runs in the 10km by Ryan Stacey taking out first in a speedy 35:37 and the 5km with Charli Miller first girl doing an amazing 19:21. Top stuff. It was a fantastic course with nice scenery, roads I have never been on before despite being a local. Combined with a well-run event, a personal best, beautiful weather all for a bargain price, I will be back next year.
Report by Sarah Woolerton
Click on photo below to view slideshow. Photos thanks to Tauranga Ramblers.