Monday, 24 October 2011

Toowoomba half-marathon

Toowoomba half-marathon. 16 October 2011.
This run is for a good cause. The fees go to charity, good enough reason for me to get up early and drive one and one-half hours, to run a half-marathon. The start/finish line of the 30th Annual Toowoomba marathon event was at the USQ grounds. It was a bright sunny morning and ominously warming up to baking temps – in Baker Street.
I got to the race venue early enough. The marathon and ¾ marathon runs started at 0600h and already in full swing when I arrived. A coffee van serving hot drinks enticed me to a cappuccino.

After coffee, I had a little stretch before the start of the half-marathon at 0700h. Some of the marathoners blew past, on about a 40-45 minute first lap.
I don’t know how many entered the races but the finishers and results are listed in the TRR site as follows: Marathon 54, ¾ marathon 12, ½ marathon 89, 10 km run 77, for a total of 232.
There were runners there from South Pine Striders, Moreton Bay Road Runners, Gold Coast Runners Club, other clubs and from many other places around the world, including from the cool country of Mainit.
I can only describe what i went through in the half-marathon. Many other runners described their own races at the coolrunning forum. We started off at 0700h in the half-marathon and 10km runs. After just 2kms i could feel the humidity kick in. The route is all on street pavements or pathways. The choices are either the softer and less safe bitumen or the more shaded but harder concrete paths. Sometimes there is a bit of grass though usually uneven. Most runners alternated between the paths.
The race route comprised between one to four laps of a 10.55km loop incorporating the streets of Toowoomba. I got giddy in Darling Heights, where my sweat flowed like from a bucket. The flaming sun was stinging in Kearney Spring, and I went dry in the mouth in Toowoomba South.

The runners quickly spaced out into their places in the run. Four laps, three, two or one lap. This was the first race where I availed of fluids at all the drinks stops. Thankfully there were four water stations spaced at about 2.5kms. Even then the final few kilometres was a struggle. And instead of being wet with perspiration, I was actually quite dry from the heat and humidity.

From 0735h onward, runners trickled in to the finish line led by the 10km finishers followed by the top finishers in the other races. The 232 finishers would take about four hours, from the first place in the 10km to the last runner in the marathon, to cross the finish line. The race duration though is about 5.5hours from the start to the finish. After I finished, I saw an ambulance attending to a runner just a couple of hundred metres from the finish. I hope all's well with him/her.

Thanks to the Toowoomba Road Runners club for organising this event. And to all the club members, race officials, marshalls, volunteers and everyone else involved. Many of them would have been up and working on the event for much longer than the race duration. Great job all! Great event.
I would like to commend especially the lady volunteer at the water stall on corner of West and Stenner Streets who first of all directed me (before the face) to the registration tables, and then during the race kindly checked on me (I sat down for a couple of minutes to fix my foot pads and laces), and to see that I had sufficient water.

There is indeed a good future for the smaller, cheaper, friendlier provincial marathons in Australia, such as this event.

Toowoomba is a town I like visiting, and I've been visiting here in the last 21 years. This town is like Tabuk, on a plateau  in Kalinga, in my Cordillera homeland in the Philippines. I live in two worlds (the first and third :-)). Who says one can't live in the best of both? A university city, Toowoomba has developed into a regional centre for business and government services.
The city was in the news in January 2011 when a massive flash flood "Inland Tsunami" resulted in deaths and destruction in town, through the Lockyer Valley, and all the way to the east in Brisbane 125 kilometres away. Last year I came here for the flower carnival. I think that was the time of the 2010 ridge-to-ridge half-marathon, which I missed. I also skipped this year's R2R run, so for penance I came for this event, and to run Table Top Mountain.
On the way home I detoured off to Table Top Road to see Table Top Mountain. I was going to run (yeah?) up to the summit but from the roadend, it appeared to be in private property and offlimits. I did not have the time nor energy to find the access to the mountain, so I added another entry to my 2012 resolutions.

1 comment:

  1. Lady GoGo said:
    well done Marto! another great read.. LGG


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