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Date: Sunday, February 23, 2014

From: Tarek

Tarek at Wangaratta


entered the Wangaratta marathon (my first official marathon) as a spur of the moment kind of thing last Sunday after gaining permission from my better half and ended up with a 3rd in the Vet's (40+) for my troubles.

(3:10:something, top 10 finish (6th   I think -results not posted yet))

Ended up being a flat out sprint finish for me as I had to get rid of one of the Brown Brother's team members who decided to take me on in the last 200 metres.

Haven't really been training for a marathon, but have been putting in plenty of slower ultra miles.....distance isn't the   problem, but speed could be.

Drove down Sat after kids sports and quickly knocking up some energy bars (making them is cheaper and easier than buying them, plus you know whats in them....I make a knock-off of Clif bars.).

Accomodation was hard to find at late notice there being other big events on the same weekend. (such as an AFL comp).   I opted for Corowa 50km's away since Rutherglen/Corowa were the nearest towns that the last minute websites had available beds in.

Meant getting up at before 5am to get there in plenty of time. Standing in clumps in the dark with everyone eyeing each other off seemed to the agenda before the start.

The start was also as expected....most taking off faster than they can sustain....I took it easier not knowing what pace I was going to settle into but by 4Km's had settled into a 1:30 half pace and collected two other likely culprits to tag along with.

Can't work out why they keep putting bins next to the watering stations....I hate the littering that goes on in road races and if you just put some sulo bins a couple of hundred meters downstream you can avoid the trash effect once you train runners to carry the cup to it. I ended carrying a cup 7km's past an unbinned watering station just to find an appropriate receptacle.

Wasn't wearing a watch, but could just make out the finish clock as I went past the half way point.....bang on 1:30 so pace was ok.

Had lost my first compatriot at around 13km's and the other around 24km's.

On my own after that.

By km 26 all sustenance was tasting   shit....my energy bars were taking 5km's to get one down, so I switched to their supplied energy drink which tasted even fouler, but   by interleaving with water I could get at least get the taste out of my mouth.

Going got tougher around km 32, but it didn't start affecting pace until km 37. By km 40 it was a slogfest, although switching to full pace sprint without flagging the last 200m didn't seem to be a problem (bowling over little kids coming in on their short course was my main concern)

For those that haven't been to the Wangaratta event, it is a nice course and well organised. The course is pretty flat (mainly a few underpasses etc) but is very picturesque. I could recommend it to anyone at any skill level. It's populartity is also growing.

Due to the loop design and staggered event starts you get to see the runners from the 10k and half marathon events as well which is pretty cool......The 10km's event is a bit of a crowd on the track when you move past (in my case in the contra direction)

Caught up with the rest of the Feral's briefly post event (they all wearing their Feral gear.....I better acquire a shirt this round :), and there should be a group photo floating about. They all appeared to have had pretty good runs as well.

I was a luddite and took no photos myself.

Now I better plan some training.....sub 3:00 looks very doable.