Perth Marathon 2017

I did this marathon before my trip to Colorado but I only just got around to writing about it.

I've always had a soft spot for the Perth Marathon and this year I particularly enjoyed the race. I've run the marathon through several course changes and in very varied weather.

I first ran this marathon in 2002. I was running a marathon in every capital city in Australia and this was the last capital city I did. I ran the Alice Springs Marathon two months later, to do a marathon in the Northern Territory for the sake of completeness, but there was (and is) no marathon in Darwin. Shame about that, Darwin people. But I might not like the heat.

Then I had a big hiatus from WA before returning in 2009 for this race. The marathon took place on the most beautiful sunny day. I reckoned that marathon had the best weather I have ever had for a marathon. Oops, I forgot to mention that we had a wet day for the 2002 marathon, wet and windy. It was not Perth's day to showcase the city. The folks at the marathon registration told me that the weather is often like this in Perth in winter so I was somewhat consoled. But I have to say that in most of my more recent winter time visits to the West the weather has been great.

I think the marathon course was the same in 2002 and 2009, and also when I returned in 2011. In 2011 I set myself the task of running a marathon each weekend for ten successive weekends and Perth was weekend number six. I'm not proud of my finishing time that year but I had tiredness as an excuse. 

I had a problem getting home to Melbourne after the marathon as that was the time when planes couldn't fly on a proper schedule because of a Chilean volcano spewing too much ash into the atmosphere. I was worried about getting home to Melbourne and then on to South Australia for the next race in my series, and I spent an unexpected extra day in the West.

In 2014 I was back again, to run on a different course. This was a double out and back, not my favourite design of route because I don't like arriving at the finish only to be told I have to do the same thing over again before I can put my feet up and drink beer. But the race turned out well for me. I ran with Chris Gamble who had driven to Perth from Canberra to run his 101st marathon.

And so to this year. This marathon came at the tail end of a heavy training block where I had run over 100 kilometres every week for six weeks with only two rest days and several ultras at the weekends. In order to make up my week's mileage on Perth Marathon weekend I even ran three kilometres from my hotel to the start line. Believe me, I never do that. I would call it poor planning.

The course was new this year; it was one loop as it had been years ago but the loop was different at the western end, taking us out towards the university and then turning into Matilda Bay. The day looked like it was going to be warm, and I worried about that as I'm not good in the heat, but during the marathon I never gave the temperature a single thought. I took the first part slowly; well, actually I take everything slowly these days of course, but comfortably. So when I got to twenty kilometres I was able to tell myself that I felt better than I usually did on my twenty kilometre runs at home.

As the race was by the Swan River pretty much all the way it was scenic and mostly flat, except for the bridges we had to climb onto. There were increasing numbers of walkers and sightseers about  and who could blame them: marathon runners are a great sight. Even lots of cyclists came out to show us how slow we were.

The thing about my day was that I felt good. I looked around, I drank plenty and I was happy. The crowd support was better than I remembered. When I got to the last five kilometres I realised I had something left in the tank and I managed to pick up the pace. That always feels nice at the end of a race. 

My younger daughter had come to Perth with me and I was so far ahead of my anticipated finish time that I thought she would miss my finish. But I was delighted to see her as I approached the finish chute. She clearly ignores instructions. She was with a Perth friend who had never been to a marathon finish before so he probably learned something that day. Mainly about how much runners eat after a marathon. He also learned how willing they can be to sit in an air conditioned car after a race and be driven back to their hotel.

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