Far Happy Always – Melbourne Marathon 2015

far happy always

If you could talk to the weather gods and order the perfect day for a marathon, Sunday 18 October 2015, Melbourne, Victoria Australia is the day that you’d choose.  Perfect.  Mild with light cloud cover and gentle cooling spring breezes, with lovely full-on sun right at the end – a top of 22°C but with a marathon start of 11°C.  Melbourne Marathon 2015, I did it!

Janette and I at the Expo
Janette and I at the Expo on Friday


What were my goals for Sunday?  To run all the way and to have fun.

I did that.  I ran all the way.  I had fun.  I loved it.

The view from our favourite Southbank restaurant on Friday night
The view from our favourite Southbank restaurant on Friday night
No trip to Melbourne's Southbank is complete without a photo with the bagpipe playing Cookie Monster
No trip to Melbourne’s Southbank is complete without a photo with the bagpipe playing Cookie Monster

The plan was to run all the way to the 22km cutoff point without any drink stops (I had a hydration belt with me).  I did that.  Pauly ran with me to make sure I made it passed the cutoff (just under 2:20:00 with 20 minutes to spare).  A couple of times he got into conversations with fellow runners and together they slowly got in front of me, but he would wait at the next drink stop and then we’d be running together again. Or he’d stop at a drink stop and slowly catch me up.  I was ecstatic with my pace.  Just ecstatic.  Once passed the cutoff time there was no more pressure.

The course was so interesting and unlike Cadbury Marthon where I was running mostly on my own, there were thousands of runners all around me.  Some dressed up. Spider Man with his full mask.  A young chap in a suit and tie.  Ladies in school dresses. A few Wonder Women.  And many runners with Spartan tops that signify they had crossed the finish line from 10 to over 35 Melbourne Marathon events.  One gentleman was 76 years old and proudly running along wearing a 35 year Spartan top – he finished before me.  We wove through Melbourne’s city streets passed the iconic Flinder Street Station, out around Albert Park Lake where the Melbourne Grand Prix is held, along St Kilda’s water front before heading back a slightly different course into the city.

And then The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the MCG or The G as it’s known.  The main site of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games (where Shaz’s Dad had been an Olympian, I thought about him on the day, I was just a humble runner but here I was running a course that would end up where Olympians of true merit had competed).  We head in and run almost a lap with the crowds cheering as if we are indeed Olympians.  The atmosphere super charged.

Louie, Dewey, Huey and Daisy at the start line (the butterflies are just out of view but they are there)
Louie, Dewey, Huey and Daisy at the start line (the butterflies are just out of view but they are there)

How did I feel throughout the race?  Happy, positive, hopeful.  Trusting my training all the way.  There was not one point that I wanted to walk.  I told myself that unless I stopped at a drink stop after the 22km point that I wasn’t to walk.  I remembered Shaz’s words so often.  She urged me to keep running and reminded me that it was harder to start running again after walking.  And as for the lovely Sue and Dave, their smiley faces and their Canadian coloured pom poms popped up all over the course – they were running faster than me.  I heard the cheers of Sam all the way from Hobart!  And Fiona, your messages were just pure treasure to me!!! Thank you all so much!!!

I got beyond those usual kms where I want to give up.  25km came and went.  26 up to 30kms came and went and I was still chipping away.  I was getting a little slower with each 5km split but I was feeling good!  It was the 34th km where it got tough.  I set my resolve, listened to Shaz, saw those Canadian pom poms, heard the cheers of my family and friends and the powerful words of the YouTube Visualisation I’d been watching. My body ached but my mind said You Can Do it.  And I did.  I kept on running.  Going into the dark tunnel and then coming out into the sunshiny MCG and the cheers of the crowds was just so good.  I ran around the red track reserved for the Marathoners and looking up and seeing that the clock hadn’t gone five hours yet.  I couldn’t believe it.

A special thank you and acknowledgment of our wonderful Coach, Coach Craig of The Running Group.  His wisdom and help with our plans was right en pointe!  His encouraging words and texts were just the best.

Pauly ran with me until the 28th km, this was the turn around point along St Kilda Road and from then it was chipping away back to The G. The home run.

I had the best run.  The best long run in all the training I’ve done for both marathons.  I can’t believe it.  I am so grateful.

Pauly went on to run 04:34:07.  I’ll be forever grateful for his help on the day.  He let the chance to run his own marathon go so he could make sure I had a good one.

Janette ran her first marathon.  She exceeded all expectations and did a smoking 04:04:14.  Just amazing!!!

Louise took 17 minutes off her Cadbury Marathon time.  SEVENTEEN minutes!  Louie’s time was 04:08:40!  She kept on going strong despite some knee and foot niggles.  So proud of you Louie!!!

And the Unsporty Woman?  Well she cried at the end.  She couldn’t believe it.  She ran all the way and took 22 minutes off her Cadbury Marathon time coming in 4:50:25.  I am proud of her too.

And according to my watch I ran 43:04kms!


Follow your dreams.  Don’t give up.  Get your mental toughness in order and the sky is the limit.  The visualisation I did for the three weeks prior to the marathon paid huge dividends on the day.  Despite the fact that that little YouTube only went for four minutes, it kept me going for nearly five hours.  Conquering any new distance is just as much about belief and mental training as it is about lacing up the running shoes.  I am proof.

A photo stop on the way back from The G. Melbourne's skyline is in the background
A photo stop on the way back from The G. Melbourne’s skyline is in the background – Janette is on the phone to Coach Craig.

I am so grateful to my beautiful running buddies, Team Huey (Pauly), Louie (Louise), Daisy (Janette) and the ever patient Daffy (Grant).  Grant ran the 10km event and then hung around for ages for the last of the ducks to finish.  It really is all about team work.

To my family, friends and blogging-running buddies – thank you so much.  I still can’t quite believe it.  Thank you is only a word but it comes deep from my heart to you.

If I can do all this so can you!

Happy running 🙂


47 thoughts on “Far Happy Always – Melbourne Marathon 2015

  1. So pleased for you Annie, very well done, you have worked so hard to achieve this and deserve the success. Here’s to the next one. X (So touched by your mention of Dad X)

    1. Thanks Lovely Shaz, we may never have spoken but I heard your words of wisdom clear as a bell. Thank you so much. Tell your Dad he inspired me and I realised how lucky I was to have the opportunity to run in the path of Olympians.

  2. Well done! Absolutely brilliant effort and running the whole way is just fantastic! Truly inspiring stuff. Perfect wrap up to your training. I can’t wait to hear what your next adventure will be.

    1. Thanks Megan 🙂 Our next run will be
      Bruny Island in a relay team in December, that’s going to be seriously fun expect for Paul who is doing the whole things (64kms). So glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Woo hoo – what a wonderful weekend!!!! Great recap (haha, glad Cookie Monster got a mention). You were AWESOME – so, so, so proud of you!!!!!! Maybe there needs to be a follow up blog about the champagne and yummy food we ate following …. mmmmmm, that cheesecake!!!! xxxx

  4. Fantastic! Shaving all of that time from your previous marathon just goes to show how your running is progressing. We’ll done Annie, and the rest of the crew! You guys owned it! We’ll done. What’s next?

    1. Thanks Paul, I’m still amazed! Gold Coast Marathon in July next year is next for me. Paul is doing Bruny Island Ultra in December but the rest of us are running together in a relay team.

  5. So Happy for you Annie! You are so sweet to add a link to us. I was so frustrated when the live results froze up and I couldn’t track you anymore. However it looked like you were off to a great start. Congratulations!!

      1. We saw you at 5km and 10km so knew Pauly was with you. On Facebook someone tagged some photos of you about halfway. Then we waited. Oh and waved the pom poms. 🙂

      2. You are both so awesome! That was our lovely daughter in law Caitlin who just happens to live on the course. A real late night owl who got up early just for us. She made me cry just to see her pretty face. And well those epic pom poms! What can I say? Busiest pom poms in any marathon ever!

  6. congratulations on your finish! Well done, you! Sounds like you had a good run – and that’s the most important part of the experience! Are there any other marathons in your sights?

  7. Annie I am so proud of you!!!! Your post choked me up!!!! I had that very same feeling this past weekend while running my marathon. In fact, I’m still stunned at my time- a PR and a BQ on the same day?!?! I’m overwhelmed. Well done, Lady. You did it. I’m so happy for you. Running is an absolute gift. I’m glad you opened yours. 🙂

    1. Thank you Colby x I’m so proud of you, PR and BQ, you are a running super star. All the training paid off! Running is a gift and I’m glad we both opened ours. I simply can’t wait to read about your Boston training!!!

  8. So awesome! You’re amazing! True story: I had you and Janette all lined up on Saturday to track during your race (I love to track races, special bonus if someone I “know” is actually running). I didn’t realize Louise was running and I couldn’t find Pauly. Later I thought I’d take another shot at finding Pauly to add to tracking and wow, you were already running and about 25k in! I totally had forgotten the time difference from Melbourne to the US :-/ I did find Pauly and I noticed that Pauly’s splits were the same as yours and I did shed a tear!! What a sweet husband you have 🙂 Congratulations on an awesome marathon! You’re such an inspiration. I gotta check out that visualization…

    1. Aww you are the sweet one! I’m so amazed that you would do that, that is so lovely of you Cynthia, thank you. I’m a little overwhelmed and having a little tear too – thanks for your friendship and support. Do check out the visualistaion, it so did the trick for me. The video goes for about six minutes, but only four is the visualisation thing. It kept me going for nearly 5 hours! In it Robyn gets us to imagine passing someone, I changed that to making the 22km mark before the cutoff time. Thanks so much Cynthia, you have made my day!!!! I can’t believe that through blogging I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many of life’s true angels.

  9. So fabulous!!! Way to go. Glad to see you had such an improvement and felt great about the run. I love that you have such a supportive group of marathoners you get to train with. Congrats to them as well. Now time to rest and plan out your next race!

  10. Hi Anie, I can’t believe I missed this post! I loved reading it, I loved how much it came through that you were really enjoying it and felt strong, but then why wouldn’t you? You had done all the hard work and prep😀 The course looks lovely, running along by the waterfront and you look great holding your medal- still fresh looking, not a hair out of place!! Congratulations on your achievement, and by achievement I don’t just mean the race itself, but all the consistent training. Special congratulations for knocking 22minutes off your marathon PB – that’s almost a minute per mile! Well done! You are a star🌟✨💫

    1. Thank you so much Julie, this is all just so lovely to read (wiping away a tear). Thanks for your confidence. I still can’t quite believe how good it was. After marathon number 1 I was truly apprehensive about it all, but the mental toughness training coupled with the wonderful weather on the day just made it all come together. Thanks so much for your lovely uplifting words xxx

  11. At stromlo I met a woman who had just done Melbourne. She said she came across a bunch of people doing high knees in the middle of the marathon to cure the cramps.

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