Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Queensland Half Marathon 2011

The Queensland Half Marathon is held each year at the Doomben Racecourse (est. 1933). The 2011 race was held on the 5th of June with all the runners experiencing an exciting 'grandstand' finish in front of the stands overlooking the racing tracks of Brisbane's oldest racecourse. The events included the Half Marathon (21.1 km), the Doomben 10,000 (10 km), 5km fun run and the Doomben Cup (2.5 km walk).

After the race. A faded and jaded half-marathoner.
The recommended training regime is to run three times a week and to run 90% of the target race time prior. Furthermore, the training should be built up over a period of up to 12 weeks. Well in the previous week I ran 13.3km in the 2011 Australian Mountain Running Championships, jogged about 6km with the Bunyaville trailrunners on Wednesday, and another 2km on my own on Friday. That’s a total distance of 21.3 km logged for the week, to complete my training for my first official half-marathon. I also ran the 'cliff2cliff' in March, an attempt at a fun run – a training run. But that was about 10 weeks ago, so all the training boxes are ticked.

I was hoping to better my time in the cliff2cliff of 2:19, which I did. I took a massive 10% off that time to finish in 2:06. These times would look world-class in a marathon.

The race started at 0700h with two wheelchair athletes at the front.

From the back I could spot the balloons of the pace runners, but could not find one for 2:10.

So I positioned myself behind the 2:00 group.

How does one describe a half-marathon? Or two hours and six minutes (2:06) of it? It was an ordeal that I kept hoping would end. But I was in the middle of nowhere racing in the streets. I thought that the longer I keep going, the nearer I will get to the finish line in the grandstand of Doomben racecourse, and nearer to the refuge of my car parked close by. We traced out the first half of the route, taking in an overpass which was okay going down from its crest, but a bit of a struggle going up.

I managed to keep the 2:00 group in sight, but as we looped around for the second lap, I slowly dropped off to wage a lonesome battle against myself. I nearly quit a couple of times but the sight of a couple of octogenarians proudly racing on shamed me somewhat. So i struggled on. After the race I did some sole searching and discovered a cut and bleeding toe, and some blisters on my feet, but at the time all I could feel was the constant jarring on the heels.
At the finish, I felt immense relief.

I looked around the grandstand and experienced a sense of achievement. I have been to Doomben racecourse before. And I don’t mean the 2010 Doomben 10000.

In recent years, I did some work for the Brisbane Turf Club for the design and subsequent renovation of the Doomben racecourse. During part of that period, I used to work with this fellow who punted a bit on horse races, but always came out losing money. I shared a secret with him about making money every time I came here to Doomben races. He was keen to know my secret, so I advised him that I only went to Doomben - to work.  That’s a surefire way of always making money at the racecourse :). I have never lost yet at the Doomben races, well until last year, and this year.
After the race, I checked in my chip, grabbed a bottle of water, a medal and a towel – souvenirs from the race, and then gingerly made my way out.

Feeling sore, I queued up for a massage.
A small expo of sporting products was being held as part of the race event and I checked out the range of running gear on offer. My old shoes look tired and re-tyred so I purchased a pair of brand new runners. Then I joined the crowd at the presentations to applaud the winners.

It was inspirational to see kids and the young septuagenarians and older, receiving their medals.

Umberto Greco won the 5km 80+ age group. He's my people's choice for runner of the year. I think he's related to the writer Umberto Italiano er Eco.

I believe that's R Hogan celebrating his 75th by winning the 10km 70-75 age group in 48 minutes.
That’s a faster pace than any distance I ever ran, including the first 400m of the UP Ikot, my first ever (aborted) run nearly 30 years ago.
The winner of the half-marathon is K Bisamo from PNG. He was 'only' twice as fast as me.

That old pair of shoes and accompanying bib, finished near the back of the race.

Click here for the official 2011 race results.

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