I had a 5 day break between the 10000m and the Half, where I just 'ticked over' in training and lazed about. I saw Deep Water Horizon and The Accountant. Both excellent films. My mate Stuart Moore works for BDO in Perth, one of the main sponsors of the Championship, so we attended the Athletes Party with sponsors tickets. Among others we got to meet Stuart Galloway from Canada, 3rd in the M55 5000m and 1st in the 1500m.
He is retired from work! I can't believe people my age are so well set they are retired at 55! Really nice guy.
So to race day.
Conditions had cooled down from previous day's 33 O C but the wind was blowing a gale for the 6:30am start and the temperature was about 20 O C. The race plan was to win the M55 first and foremost but have a crack at the M50's.
At the 10,000m a Kenyan sat down next to me and we got talking. He told me he was entered wrongly as a M50 but was actually M55 and only doing the Half!!! I asked him what time he expected to run and he said 67mins!!! (3 minutes under the M55 WR !)
I later Googled him and saw a 78min result probably in hot Kenyan conditions on crappy roads - definitely a threat. His name Stephen Kihara.
The Race starts and the strong headwind meant a lead group of Kenyans and others formed, as we hammered along narrow bike or pedestrian Swan River side pathways.
It was a surreal moment where it felt like I was watching an elite big city Marathon TV coverage.
They (the Kenyans) hand signaled the numerous street furniture hazards (bollards or slower moving earlier starting Marathoners).
At about 5km the younger Kenyans and Portuguese M45 Davide Figueiredo gaped our group that comprised the young M45 Dutch guy Patrick Kwist, a tall Czech M35 Vladamir Srb, the M55 Kenyan Stephen Kihara, M50 Pommie Paul Thompson, the M50 Swede Anders Dahl , M50 Aussie Bruce Graham and myself.
The Kenyan looked good, very good as he took turns to lead our group. I was worried. The left glute was painful, the heat was building, I managed a gel at 10km but no water. Our first 5km was run in 16;53, the second 5km wasn't much slower @ 17;11, so 34;04 for 10km (my Garmin lost GPS tracking so I'm giving Paul Thompson's splits).
The course was difficult to navigate as we past more and more Marathoners who had started 20 minutes before us.
Finally we reached the turn around (Bruce Graham and Anders Dahl had been dropped), I was hoping to benefit from what should have been a following wind. However that also meant we would start to heat up. I followed behind the Kenyan and he started to drop off our small group. The 3 gaped us and I was happy to sacrifice possible M50 success as Paul Thompson pushed on. I spent about two km following the slowing Kenyan before I decided to make my break for category victory at about 13km. I kicked in a hard K and dropped the Kenyan!
Then it was basically 'hanging on', hoping I could coast in without too much effort as the pain of the campaign started to bite. I ran the last 8km by myself.
My friend Andy Green had counselled that at some point 'its going to hurt' and his prophetic words rang loudly in my head.
Very happy with 73:42 because I reckon that's pretty good (ranks me 14th best M55 All-time) and in a one off, cooler, less windy race, I think I could still knock a minute off that time.
It was a fantastic experience meeting like minded Masters runners who love doing what I love doing and what a joy to get to the start line and be able to perform to the best of my abilities.
|The early leading pack, Czeck, Dutch, Kenyans, Pom and Aussie.|
|I made only one grab for water = unsuccessful!|
|I carried a gel till 11km|
|Closing in on the finish, "what's my lead on the Kenyan?"|
|The pain of 4 races in 12 days starts to bite and the head wind that we battled on the way out died down on our return (note the limp flag) so the heat was building|
|They said it was flat!|
|The main threat in my Category coincidentally sat next to me 5 days earlier.|
|M50 winner Paul Thompson a New York based Pommie!|
|Bruce Graham unfortunately born just a few months too young to make the M55 nevertheless had a sensational Championship competing in the same events as me|
|Skippy HuRTS squad member Andy Hayden finished 4th M40 behind three Kenyans|