By Hayden Shearman // The Auckland Marathon has come and gone for another year. So it’s time to reflect on what was a warm, but typically epic festival of running.
My experience of the day was of running the half marathon as a training effort for Queenstown Marathon (just 20 days later). So to save my legs for the marathon, I aimed to run a tick under 75 minutes in the half to give sub-2:30 marathon pace a little trial. It worked but the heat and humidity threw some spanners in the works that have me reassessing my goals for Queenstown by a minute or two.
But as a training run I had the privilege of taking the time to witness a bunch of great moments going on around me. So here are my highlights:
The Women’s Half Marathon Race
At 5k into the half marathon I turned to the group running with me (which included the leading three women) and told them I was aiming to run exactly 75mins and they could feel free to use me as a pace maker. So Nikki Hamblin and Camille Buscomb took up the offer and I paced them through to Shelly Beach Rd (16k).
It was impressive to see how hard they were working right throughout the race. Nikki is a 2x silver medalist in the Commonwealth Games (800 & 1500m in 2010) and Camille has been the leading local long distance runner for most of 2014. So the match up was intriguing.
I felt that if Nikki could hang on to Camille until the final straight, the race would be hers for the taking. But Camille made a move at 12k and even after Nikki pulled that lead back on the bridge, Camille’s strength over the longer distances was enough to give her the win by just a couple of seconds.
The Men’s Marathon Race
There’s something magic about the last 10k of the marathon that means heart break for some and glory for others, but definitely means oodles of pain for everyone. In this case it was Stephen Lett who muscled his way to the glory, leaving behind a handful of very weary chasers.
Stephen isn’t the textbook, smooth-looking runner (like Sam Wreford, last year’s marathon winner) but as he came past me with a mile to run, I could tell he is a runner that earns his times and victories by a whole heap of elbow grease and determination. A truly gutsy win in demanding early summer heat … all topped off with his wife giving birth later that day!
The Everyday Joe and Jenny
From our TempoFit cheering spot on Westhaven Drive (the 18k mark) I witnessed thousands of painful faces: everything from the cherry read to the ghostly white.
They were faces of people who rather ironically had paid good money and trained for months for that very moment of pain and anguish. They each were fighting their own battles and each could tell stories of overcoming many hurdles of life, injury and illness to be at that point in the race. And without fail, they were all dead set on pushing through that painful moment to the finish line. It’s inspirational stuff and has me amped to race my heart out in Queenstown in three weeks. Bring it on!