5 August 2014

Taupo Half Marathon 2014

Battling the rain and a slight head wind at about the 5 km mark

Pulling the odd all-nighter at university was common for me and I wasn’t alone. Cramming for a calculus or political science paper at 3am required immense will power. Many turned to those dodgy NoDoz caffeine tablets which were new at that time. But being a little more health conscious than most I just couldn’t get into that crazy pill popping at all.  All I required was a packet of b&h cigarettes, a jar of Bushells instant coffee, cream and sugar.

Fast forward 25 years and even that regular coffee has long since gone. Marriage, being a Dad and middle age kind of does that to you. Now I run, count calories, stretch and fall asleep on the couch before 11. Gulp!

After checking in at the motel in Taupo I headed into town. I registered, talked to the locals about the horrible weather forecast then drove the course paying close attention to wind direction. On the way back I pulled into a supermarket to buy dinner and pre race essentials. Back at the car I felt proud of myself for not buying too much crap. The image below shows buns with preheated chicken and coleslaw for my main. A little confectionery for dessert washed down with dependable yet overpriced hydration drinks. Oh yes, and one more thing not in the picture. I bought an energy drink. Something I hadn’t done in years but perhaps perfect for that pre-race boost to go with the creamed rice.

The start and finish point on a fine day in Taupo and a 
snapshot of dunner the night before

The rain and wind were relentless. Thrashing my little motel window at 2am was enough to get me out of bed in search of a ‘healthy’ sedative. Not thinking, I cracked open that V for ‘victory’ energy drink and downed the lot hoping it would calm my nerves and went back to bed. They say the sound of a human heartbeat is that of its 4 valves closing. In my case, lying there with eyes wide open I reckon that sound equated to 8 values. Whether I was on my left side, right side or directly on my back which I never do, made absolutely no difference to the pounding that was emanating from my chest. That bloody V drink I thought. How could I have been so stupid!

I felt youthful once again as I lined up at the start of the Taupo Half Marathon. After all it’d been 25 years since I’d pulled off an all-nighter like that and I honestly didn’t feel that bad either. In fact, I felt rather good, energised to the max and ready for the challenge ahead. And off we went.

Wide awake and careering down the hill at the start of the 
Taupo Half Marathon

Approaching the half way point where I recorded a time of 46.11. 
No sign either of that nasty psoas muscle problem too

Trying to hold my form. Chest out, head up and pump those arms

Click here to check out my splits

I loved taking part in this race. A super event that attracted lots of runners and walkers in conditions that weren’t ideal but that no one really minded. Incidental statistics for us number junkies. I finished 79/1457 overall. 9/163 in my age group and an official time of 1.33.30.

And one more thing. That running streak of mine is over. I stopped it at 42 for no other reason than I felt the number was appropriate. 42 consecutive runs averaging 10 km per day. In all honestly I think those 42 days have made the greatest contribution to me as a runner than anything I’ve done previously. I’m off to bed now but before I go … hot chocolate anyone?


  1. I fall asleep before 10! Good race and splits Mark. Like that 3:53 last k - point me downhill on roller skates and I might be able to do that. I'm confused about the "half way point in 26:11" - that'd put you well ahead of WR half pace ;)

  2. Have you ever fallen asleep sitting bolt upright on the couch? That's when you know you're getting old. Happened to me last week but don't tell. The 3.53 covered 900m my friend. Kind of felt I left a bit out there but I'll save it all for next time. These photos show that I'm still carrying far too much weight. Just love my food a little too much buggar it. Correction made. Just checking that you were paying attention ;)

  3. Rain is not so bad, but rain with wind makes it tough. So congrats on a good effort.

    1. Thanks Bob. Making gains, not big ones but gains none the less. I'm falling for the half distance more and more. More speed work required though don't you think?

  4. Solid time there in wind and rain.

    1. Just between you and me, I might have overplayed that wind just a little. Certainly not the rain - it fair bucketed down. Helluva great sport though. I need to find a few more races to run in.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.