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2022 NZ Senior Marathon Championships – Reboot: The Athletes' Marathon

Sunday 15 May 2022

It was dark, cold and damp when the small field started warming up for the one-off Christchurch Reboot marathon. Covid restrictions had meant normal inner-city Christchurch marathon was cancelled for 2022, but the small scale Reboot marathon had been initiated as a replacement.

The course was located outside Christchurch at Tai Tapu and was multiple laps, of a flat out and back course. The course had been designed by athletes and was setup with fast marathon running in mind.

I didn’t have a headlamp with me so my warm up was limited. The temperature was about 10 degrees, so ideal for marathon running.

I checked in with the other Owairaka athletes (Keith Burrows, Mitch Cantlon [both marathon] and James Parker [half marathon]) and all were champing at the bit. Event setup was happening all around us, “the finish line goes over there!”. But the event organisation was great and everything went well.

At 7.30am the gun went and we were off. All nerves gave way to what we do best, running. Marathon and half marathon fields had a combined start so luckily we had extra people to run the first half with.

I quickly identified the sub 2:30 group and we ran steady and controlled to halfway. There we lost a few sub 75 minutes half marathon finishers. My time through halfway was 74:47, so ideal pacing to be in with a shot at sub 2:30.

For the second half our group had whittled down to four and we all had a steely resolve. I had family supporting at both ends of the 6km course. It was great having them there and helping with drink table logistics.

As we started our last 12km lap I did my best to lift the spirits of the group. But as we headed north for the last time I slightly increased my pace and felt the group drop off the back of me. I held my nerve and kept on to the final turnaround.

With 6km to go I felt relatively OK, but knew much could still go wrong in the final 6km! I pushed on and progressively picked up the pace with each passing kilometre, feeling slightly more confident as I got closer to the finish. One decent shower of rain passed in those last kilometres, but I can’t really remember it. With about 1km to go I caught the 6th place runner and started striding out for home.

I rounded the final bend, saw the finish line, heard the small crowd cheer, sprinted to the line and was done.

I looked down at my watch and saw 2:27:57. I’d ducked under 2:28 and was ecstatic.

Reflecting back afterwards I realised no wall had been hit, but I do know I had truly emptied the tank. The course, conditions, other runners and crowd had meant a perfect combination for me.

A big thanks for the event organisers and all supporters, both on course and virtual.

Time 2:27:57 (1st half 74:47, 2nd 73:10), 6th place overall, 2nd Mens 35-4

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