We did it! Pauly and I ran the Great Ocean Road Marathon, Pauly kept me company until the 34km mark then chipped away to the end and waited for me.
The race delivered on so many levels…
We got it all. Warm sunshine and humidity. Rain. A light breeze that turned into a full-on head wind at the 25km mark and then continued to pound right to the very end.
Happy runner voices mixed and mingled together. Running feet thumping and padding up and down that pretty undulating road. The wind in the trees. The ever present crash of the waves as they crested, broke then rushed and bubbled to the shore. The cheers of volunteers and spectators.
The coast line. The road as it wound up and around the hills and bays. A faint line of brightly clothed runners in their colourful gear weaving in and out into the distance. The burnt-out bush from the recent bush fires. The bright green leafy regrowth on our stubborn Australian flora that refuses to give up no matter how harsh the conditions. Black trunks with shiny green leaves – a promise that not even a raging fire can keep those trees from regeneration.
So many! All working hard. All encouraging. At the second last drink stop I went to fill one of my water bottles with orange sport drink from a cup and a volunteer quickly grabbed it and filled it from a jug, smiling at me and encouraging me while she helped. Her gloved fingers were stained orange from all the filling and handing out of cups she’d done that day. I am humbled and grateful to all who volunteered and worked to support us runners.
The first 10kms seemed to whizz by. I ate my gels and jelly beans as per my plan. All was going ok until we hit half way. With the second half the weather turned up a few notches and so did my stomach, I wasn’t feeling too good at all. I got out my mantras and concentrated on the scenery. I had to take my running cap off despite the extra Velcro I’d sewn on for such weather conditions.
But I was half way and I had to keep going. There wasn’t any other option! I chipped away, concentrated on the beautiful scenery, thought of all the people cheering me from all the corners of the world AND I thought of Ally and kept on going!
Soon I was crossing the 42.2km timing mat. I threw my arms in the air and celebrated completing Marathon Number Three.
Then I plodded along to the finish line passing many weary runners in the process and in turn being passed by others. One lady was nearly in tears but she kept on going. Her husband wasn’t in the event but he ran with her for the last two kms encouraging her all the way (he didn’t even have runners on his feet). I saw a young lady who’d being doing so well but had given up and was at a slow walk. We had 1km to go. I tried to buoy her up and told her that she could run one last km. She looked at me with such a desperate look but off she went and soon became a dot in the distance. What I didn’t know at the time was that it wasn’t 1km to go. It was 1.7kms to go! Who moved the finish line?
And that was Marathon Number Three. Not pretty in some ways thanks to a troublesome tummy but in other ways totally breath-taking and beautiful. Out of the three marathons I’ve had the privilege of running THIS is THE pick. Just stunningly beautiful.
44.7kms. The longest I’ve ever run. Head wind, funny tummy and all. I’m proud of myself. I did it! Big enormous thank you to Elly, Anita and Sally, local ladies running on the day. To my beautiful running buddies Louie and Janette – how could I ever do this with you two??? AND to my Pauly, bestest running husband in the whole world.
Marathon time – 42.2kms: 5:05:05
Full Distance time – 44 kms: 5:22:42
Happy running 🙂