Home > Running > Melbourne Marathon – 2:33:26

Melbourne Marathon – 2:33:26

The last time I ran a road marathon was in 2006, when I set my PB of 2:41 on a humid day in Sydney. I’m not sure why it has taken so long to run another one; I guess partly because I never felt fit enough to do it justice, and I wasn’t keen to smash myself just to shave a minute or two off a soft PB. Then after running a solid half-marathon PB last month (and plenty of endurance training for Mount Solitary before that) I finally felt ready to have another go. Melbourne is a good option: fast course, plenty of runners between 2:30-2:45, generally cool. My target was 77-78 mins at halfway to give myself a chance of 2:35 or thereabouts, and pretty confident of sub-2:40 even if I faded in the second half.

I flew down to Melbourne on Saturday morning. After queuing for hours to pick up my race pack (thousands in the line) I headed to my hotel and had a very luxurious afternoon nap. This is the way to prepare for a race – get away from the kids, clear your head and be as lazy as possible the day before. Lucky I got some rest during the day because I had a terrible night’s sleep, waking up several times with a splitting headache (carb-load sugar hit?) and lots of noise from the street below. After a couple of Weetbix in the hotel room I jogged the 2km down to the start, dropped my gear and warmed up. Had a chat with a few HuRTS runners on the start line: Mike Race looking keen as mustard, Ray Whareham looking super-relaxed as always and poor Macca told me he’d spent half the week in bed with a virus.

The race started at 7am and I quickly settled into a good group that included Macca, the first 2 women and few others. The pace was right on target for me at a comfortable 3:41 per km and I was able to relax and position myself for maximum exposure to the TV cameras alongside the leading women (Lauren Shelley and Jane Fardell). We covered the 1st 10k in 36:50 and the second 10km in 36:42 with some great support from Bartles at various points on the course. I went through halfway in 77:34 (27th), right in the middle of my target range. I felt good enough to break away from the group to chase down 2 red singlets ahead. I kept gradually increasing the pace to see what I could sustain, eventually reaching 3:31 per km between 30-35 km where I passed 7 fading runners. I slowed up on the small climb into the botanic gardens before catching two more at around 36k, one of whom ran with me for 2k before dropping. From there it was just a case of hanging on – must have looked pretty ragged when I last saw Bartles & co. at about 40km, but I picked it up again heading into the MCG for a final lap in that spectacular stadium. I couldn’t quite believe the time on the clock and stopped doubled over laughing! I think the St. Johns ambulance people thought there was something wrong with me. 2:33:26 and 17th place.

MCG finish

I’m happy with just about every aspect of the race. The taper and carb load worked well (needed 2 gels in the race), weather conditions just right, great fast course and some good company for the first half. I ran a 1:42 negative split so I’m left wondering whether I could have run a quicker first half. On reflection, I don’t think it would have gained me much overall. Running the first half in a group and a little bit slower saved me a lot of mental and physical energy for the back half, and I’m coming around to the view that a negative split is the optimum strategy for marathons. These are my 5k splits:

Other great runs and big PBs on the day from Ray Whareham (2:36) and Mike Race (2:49), Richard Palmer (2:48 PB?) while Macca battled through the remnants of his illness for a very respectable 2:39.

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  1. 2012-10-16 at 8:28 am

    A fantastic run Tony and well deserved. Time to reap the benefits of this rich seam of form. Onwards and upwards to Kepler!

  2. 2012-10-16 at 2:35 pm

    Great run Tony. Tom will be green with envy. Good luck taking on Tucks at Kepler, one of you guys needs to win it this year for the Aussies. I am a bit worried that Anna Frost may take the overall win this year though.

  3. 2012-10-18 at 11:33 am

    No disrespect to Anna who is world class on the mountains, but I’m pretty confident that Fats and Tucks will be done and dusted before Anna comes in. Brilliant running Tony, it may only be 20 seconds but you’ve given me a reason to train up for marathon again next year! You’ll smash Kepler in this form.

  1. 2012-10-16 at 2:25 pm
  2. 2013-01-01 at 12:43 am

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