08 November 2016

World Masters Athletics Championships Perth Half Marathon M55 1st 73:42

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!

Immensely proud

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


TokyoRacer said...

Excellent! Well done.

Glory said...

It was a somewhat reflective and introspective David McSweeney who greeted the gathered masses and world press at Hamilton Wharf this morning as his ship the SS Glasgow docked from Perth seemingly reenacting the return of some Spainish treasure galleon homeward bound from the new world and richly laden with a booty of gold . What a journey it's been as well from the filth and squalor of a Glasgow slum to beginning a new life in a prosperous new land . Who could ever forget that first Minnippi world age graded challenge triumph which catapulted the GL to world attention and stardom so beginning his emergence as the Garmin Lama , who like some Botticellian Venus emerged from the ocean of anonymity in a pearl encrusted chariot . It was the Garmin Lama who first tapped into the groundswell of existential discontent around the globe to carve out a niche for himself as the people's champion giving a voice to their modest age graded talents . Not long after that benign smile looked down on us from the streets of Bombai as the international face of Garmin , Great Britain exited (brexited?) the Europaen Union . It's a poorly kept secret that the Scotsmen's recent visit to the USA was to meet with and offer advice to Donald Trump who's made no secret of his admiration for the GL who , like himself , is a self made man beholding not to the established elites and old running world orders . Where once world master's meets were little more than reunions and the plaything of Cambridge, Oxford and Yale old boys ( the so called Green/Trees tea set ) suddenly a new broom swept clean those dusty corridors of privileged and pompous prestige . The GL through his breath taking performances has given voice to the masses . Democracy par running excellence ! And just who are these GL supporters ? What is their demographic ? For the most part they are those older runners unable to cope with a rapidly changing new running world order where fun runs with exorbitant entry fees for rich elites have given way to park runs free for all to attend . Rust Bucketed old white men and over 40s women are more than likely to have a GL doll somewhere proudly displayed at home next to their Confederate or Eureka Stockade flags . A GL supporter will have trouble working an upmarket Garmin that's for sure . Gadgetry befuddles them . Most are semi literate . They make a pathetic sight at races as they fumble for their satellite connection before being knocked senseless and trampled underfoot by the new world order running masses . Time has passed and waved them goodbye . Like barnacles they cling to the rocks of times long past . These are the people who gather to cheer their hero home like today . Many camped out overnight to just get a glimpse of their hero . They live out their frustrated and pathetic lives through the GL's performances . The establishment said he had no hope of victory in Perth just as they did with Trump . But they hadn't counted on the voices of the disenfranchised and dispossessed wiling their hero on . In the end it wasn't even close . It was more than a landslide . It was a gold rush . What now for the GL ? Will he weep like some Alexander frustrated that no new worlds are beckoning for conquest ? The GL has an uncanny habit of reinventing himself . He feels intuitively the pulse of running humanity and like some ministering aerobic Angel is there to sooth and meet its needs . Many tout him to be Trump's new Secretary of State but being a Scottish national ( he describes himself as a world citizen ) this could rule him out but only in the short term . More than likely he will take a well earned break and do what he does best which is just simply being himself . A modest megastar super hero who provides inspiration and hope for millions world wide . Oh Flower of Scotland when will we ever see this man's like again ?