Traralgon Marathon 2018

I had a lovely day at the Traralgon Marathon today, although I’m pretty tired now. It was a beautiful morning for running: about 5 degrees, foggy and still. I hadn’t done the new course on the rail trail and I wasn’t sure it would be all that exciting but it turned out that I liked it much more than the previous course.

I took the early start option for slow runners, 7am, mainly so I could get back to my hotel room for a shower before checking out, but also because you never know how things will turn out. There were about 20 of us who left early. I had decided I would try to start a bit faster than I usually do, of course not super fast, and see if I could hold onto it. Luckily my pacers of choice, Chris G and DS, were there. But Chris was running way too fast for me so I ran alone for the initial kms until DS caught up to me and then I vowed to stay with him. It was very pleasant running along, sometimes chatting and sometimes in silence. He was a tiny bit faster than me but I made myself stay with him; he took a few toilet breaks and I had an opportunity to slow a little until he caught up to me again.

It was perfect conditions. The first kms as we left Traralgon were not all that special but once we turned onto the rail trail we had bucolic scenery, cows, stillness. It was so good to be away from the road, and while the rail trail had long straight stretches there were also enough bends to prevent monotony. The fog was thick in places but the sun was clearly going to burst through at some point. My hands were cold and I didn’t take off my gloves until about 30 km.

At half way we passed Chris, and soon a couple more runners. The race leaders came roaring past not long after (having started an hour after us). I was feeling ok and able to plug on. I intended to push for as long as I could. We ticked off the kilometres (actually there were no race distance markers but the rail trail had a few signs showing the distance to Traralgon). After the 31 km aid station DS was suddenly not with me. I didn’t see him again until after he finished. Now it was up to me to keep up my very reasonable pace. Luckily I ran into the back of the half marathon and I could focus on trying to pass those runners; even though they weren’t in the same race it still helped to have targets.

Then I was back in the urban area and just a bit of parkland to cross to reach the finish. I couldn’t speed up much but I didn’t feel I had slowed either. I was pleased with my 4:10 finish. I was also delighted to find egg sandwiches among the finish line food: my favourite. I grabbed a plateful and went back to my room to shower. I came back to the race venue for the presentations, being fairly sure I would have won my age group. 

I wasn’t wrong - I was the only female in my age group and I got to stand atop the podium. I waved my arms like I’d won the whole race; it was a joke to me really, to make fun of being all alone there. My prize was a copy of the book about the Traralgon Marathon that was written for the fiftieth edition of the race last year, and I immediately looked for the 2004 results to see my third placing. I finished in 3:30 that year. A la recherche du temps perdu.


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