This is another of those events that we’ve been looking to do for the last couple of years. Being “reasonably fit” this year in our attempt to run 100km in February 2015, Gerry entered us for the Wairarapa Country Marathon as buildup towards our main goal. Being well aware that I haven’t remotely recovered from the 32km trail run of the previous week, we were entered and was going to push through. Neither of us are ill or injured and we need the mileage, so with no excuses we drove through on the Saturday afternoon.
Despite both being feverish and not feeling well from colds, Johann and Nettie met us at the campsite where we stayed and treated us to a fantastic carbo-loading pasta and salad. I couldn’t stop feeding my face and ended up eating so much I was carbo-loaded for a whole week!
It was only a month or so ago after we entered that I realised the course is a double lapper. The full marathon therefore meant you do the 21.1km event twice. I have done an out-and-back marathon previously which in effect also boils down to covering the same section of road twice. But with an out-and-back you go in the opposite direction the second time, plus you get to see all the other participants. We had non of that social business out here.
At the start of this event, I counted 36 participants (according to the race results we were 48). Starting right at the back, we knew exactly where we were in the field. Within the first few kilometres we had three runners behind us and couldn’t see any of the runners ahead of us. The field quickly spread out and apart from the water tables every approximately 5kms, we didn’t see any other participants. It turned out to be a rather lonely run in the countryside. Beautiful countryside, I might add.
I would have thought that with four distance options for both runners and walkers, making it 8 events in total (5, 10, 21.1 and 42.2km) all going along the same road, you are bound to run into other participants. But somehow, at the pace we were going, we only managed to pass about 5 walkers towards the second half of the second lap. We were a bit too slow to catch the start of the 21km runners, so they were also ahead if us, and too fast for the start of the 10km runners which ended up behind us.
Admittedly that turned out to be the feature of this event for me. If you don’t mind a lonesome zen-like run in the beautiful quiet countryside doing the same route twice, then this is the marathon for you. Having water tables was a bonus for us, as we otherwise might as well have run 42.2km on our own at home, as we were completely on our own anyway.
The weather could not have been more perfect and we finished in 4:42. I ended up being the third female in my age category, receiving a two-in-one pillow/blanket prize from Katmandu. And I was also the lucky winner of a Asics tog-bag. So no complaints there. 🙂 Altogether a nice outing. I’m glad we made the effort. It’s a real pity not more runners participate in these events.