Preparation-wise I'd done most of the right things. I trained, I tapered (I could really get used to tapering), I collected my race number, I ate carbs the night before, I had the right breakfast and I arrived at the river in plenty of time. Fearing a repeat of last year's event when they were dropping like flies in the heat (see The hotter half), the organisers had decided upon an earlier start time of 8am. So, a few minutes after the hour I, along with 918 new-found running companions, headed out from under the James Harrison Bridge, around the common and along the Barwon aiming for Breakwater before the long haul up to Fyansford and back.
|Yes, I am in there!|
|Running with the "pace bus" to the left and wearing an Aussie flag|
|Just past 7km and heading for the drinks station|
Having passed the halfway mark, it was a matter of trying to make the most of things before I hit the wall which I knew was likely to be waiting for me around the bend on Red Gum Island, just before the 15km mark. It's always been there in the past and this time was no different, except perhaps that things started to become a little less pleasant around the 14km mark. Knowing what I was likely to be in for, I continued to talk myself out of that particular mindset for a further 3-4km, leaving only a 4km grind to the finish line.
|Around 2km to go and about to be caught by runner #712|
Before the race we were informed that around two thirds of this year's participants were from out of town - clearly word is spreading! Not surprising really, as this is a good, relatively flat course, with only a couple of kilometres round the common which are not sealed and great views of the Barwon to help keep your mind off your lungs and legs!
|The best view of all - spectators at the finish line!|
However, another rather intriguing alternative has been announced and I have the chance to get in at the ground floor with the inaugural race scheduled for the long weekend in June. Run Forrest will be raced over either a 10km course from Forrest township along the Barwon or a 21km loop course from Forrest to Lake Elizabeth and back.
|The Lake Elizabeth track...in summer...|