I searched with all my might to pinpoint the start line. I reckon it had to have been nearly 300m away. My race number read C11207. I had one pinned on the front of my t-shirt and another on my back. How the hell was I seeded in C group I thought to myself!
To make matters worse I felt like I’d been mistakenly teleported into a live pantomime. The chatter and nervous laughter was relentless in this block which only added to my frustration. Clip-on drink bottles and hydration packs were another foreboding sight but what nearly tipped me over the edge were the selfie sticks which began popping up as the starter announced there was less than a minute to go.
I felt really good leading into this race. Over the past couple of weeks, I’d hit all of my training goals. I’d shed a couple of kilograms too. At 74 I felt I was at my optimal race weight. The course was fast and flat. There wasn't a breath of wind either. In my sights, a PB of 1.28.09 or better.
It took an agonising 66 seconds to finally make it to the starting mat. Probably a further 300 metres to progress from a shuffle into a bloody jog. The constant weaving left and right. The acceleration to make the next clearing then the deceleration required to prevent running over the top of Cinderella in front of me didn't help my mood at all. I was running angry which in hindsight wasn't a bad thing.
At 4km I finally ran unimpeded and from that point on ran the race of my life.
- My first 4-kilometer splits read: 4.44, 4.21, 4.02, 3.58.
- Temperature 3.9 degrees Celsius. So cold in fact that light snow fell at the finish line.
- First time ever I ran in arm sleeves. The verdict: I love them.
- Final 4-kilometer splits read: 4.12, 4.12, 4.08, 3.59.
- Overall race pace: 4.08
- Official time: 1.27.18 (PB)