Sunday, 19 October 2014

Southland Marathon - New Zealand

Race: Southland Marathon part of the Southland Festival of Running.
Distance: 26.2 miles (42k)
Location: Riverton to Invercargill
Country: New Zealand
Website: Here
Results: Here
Route Map: Here 

At that the Southland Marathon, I relearned a valuable lesson that I have forgotten many times. Don't enter a race that you have not trained for because you can't cheat a marathon. The opportunity to enter races abroad was too tempting to surpass so when I heard that the worlds oldest (arguably) and  one of the most southerly marathons was going to coincide with my visit to Southland on New Zealand's south island, I put my entry in.

On the way to Invercargill
Two months later I was standing on the start line looking a bit sheepish contemplating how far it was between Riverton and Invercargill along the road that we had driven along the previous day. The buzz of running in New Zealand was what kept me going during this race. I remember thinking that I would coast steadily to half way then endure the second half. In reality I was spent as I crossed the bridge out of Riverton a couple of miles into the event. My only training had been a crossing of the Tongariro Alpine pass a few weeks earlier.  I did manage to grind out the miles and avoid the temptation of retirement to the camper van which Tracy had manoeuvred into position at various points along the marathon course.    
NZ ultra legend Vajin Armstrong and I after the race.  

I finished via a lap of the indoor velodrome at Invercargill's sports stadium. Looking back, 6th position wasn't bad in a time of 3 hours 24 minutes. The presentation was quite a formal affair at a local hotel. I was able to meet the race winner and international ultra runner Vajin Armstrong.   A few days later we visited the exhibition dedicated to local running legend Derek Turnbull.  

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