Online client ran brilliantly in the Australian Outback Marathon. Read her race report:
The morning of the Australian Outback Marathon was a crisp one. We set out from our hotels to the start line beside the Field of Lights. The fact it was still dark meant we were able to see the lights of the art installation, catch the “blood moon” and then see a beautiful sunrise with some of Uluru in the backdrop. It definitely got everyone in the mood for enjoying our surroundings on the run. The track was mostly sand, gravel and sand dunes but with roughly 8km of actual road. With the weather having been so dry of late it meant the ground was less compact than previous years. In all honesty if I had of known it was so sandy it might have put me off but it was such an extraordinary place to run I’m glad I didn’t know. I started out well, feeling super strong for the first 21km. The track is out and back with a loop added in which ensures you’re able to appreciate the beauty of the land you’re running on and the scenery around you. Although covering the same ground on the way back isn’t always my preference for a run I found it helped in this instance as the other people out on the track where then able to give me some much needed encouragement and inform me I was placing as the third woman.
It wasn’t until the 31km mark when I started to feel the sand really tearing at the quads and filling my runners which was slowing me down. The trail runs scheduled by Sean in training certainly prepared me well for terrain other than roads although road running is still what makes up the majority of my training. I tried to maintain steady breathing, focusing on some positive self-talk and my next steps reminding myself if I could just keep running it will be over quicker. Given I had forgotten to put on suncream before starting and the sun was out in force it was definitely a great motivator but not one I would recommend. As the landscape is so dry and the cloud cover wasn’t constant it was difficult to get enough water on board at each drinks station so I found myself carrying an empty plastic cup 3km from the 36km station to the 39km station (I’m anti-litter). This was where the woman placing fourth passed me when I had to stop for a couple of drinks to get me to the finish line. The fact I knew it was that woman’s sixth time at this event, even if it was her first time venturing from the half-marathon distance, took the sting out of her passing me at that late stage. She knew the track and the surface quite well. She also happens to be an amazing woman and runner, someone who I’d aspire to be like as I continue my running. As I came to the home straight I found myself speeding up a little. Seeing my fiancé, who had won the half-marathon, waiting for me to come in spurred me on for those last 400 metres. I knew I came in as 4th out of the 82 women but was delighted to know I’d come 18th out of 181 runners. It was a great challenge to take on as my 3rd marathon and only my second in the last year. Although not a PB I’m hoping the next road marathon I do will now seem easier by comparison even if the scenery isn’t as unique.