Christchurch is well known for producing great running conditions for their marathon. This time wasn’t one of them. In atrocious conditions running was tough, and stories of hypothermia and the inability of fingers and hands to function were the rule, not the exception. We had Martin Ferry (2.54) and Sue Hunter (3.56) doing the marathon, and Grace Ritchie (1.22), Sandra Jensen (1.49) the half. Paul Ritchie was doing the 10k, as well as 2018 Hawk and now Canterbury University runner Olivia Ritchie (3.03) also lining up in the full.
Christchurch Half report
By Sandra Jensen
I would seem that I am destined to run rainy half marathons on Queens Birthday weekend. Last year was the Mount Joggers half which was near torrential but I ran a nice time and had fun. By comparison that same event this year was cool but clear blue skies. Why didn’t I do that one again? Because I was doing the Christchurch marathon half instead.
I signed up last year and had not trained at all. Sure I’d run a marathon in that time (badly) and a lot of running in general including pacing a few halves but I hadn’t actually gone out to do a good time for a half in a long time. I’m a chronic under-trainer. I am too busy hence the now swearing off all marathons. I have better things to do.
Christchurch was wet when we arrived and cold. The flooding in the region was still evident as we landed. We checked into race rego and went to find our hotel. The google map lady with the bad pronunciation kept taking us the long way but we found the “Rendezvous” chosen because of the seedy name and settled in.
I had decided that with my lack of training I would hang with the 1 hr 50 pacers but in the end I never saw them, instead keeping ahead of them the whole race. Race day though was cold and wet and cold and a little bit more cold. I probably wore more clothing than I had ever for any race and none was removed during the run. My legs went numb and I worried about chaffing mainly because I couldn’t feel it if it was happening so feared and longed for a hot shower after the finish.
The 19th km was my slowest, the legs were dead. the last 2 km weren’t so bad but it was almost a km from when you caught site of the finish line and that was a very very long km. The legs could not sprint, and I was numb, cold and very wet. Why I reached for a cold drink at the finish is beyond me.
I finished in 1 hr 49 mins and 25 seconds. By no means my fastest half but given the conditions and lack of training, I’m happy. Sue Hunter managed her sub 4 hr and my husband Mark produced a cold beer for her husband Steve who completed his first half in under 2 hrs. I’ve never seen such a happy face after a beer.
Christchurch marathon would be not a bad run in slightly better conditions as it’s predominantly flat (go figure) and it’s also hard to not contemplate how scarred the city still is.
I reckon we will be back for that one.