Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Marathon 7

Marathon 7
Rotorua Marathon

Completed 4hours 29minutes

This year was the 50th running on the Rotorua Marathon. The Rotorua Marathon is special one for me - it was my first ever marathon back in 2011.

We arrived in Rotorua on the Friday, picked up the race numbers and a few bargains at the Expo before settling into our hotel for the night.

It was a chilly start to the day, and for some reason I felt really nervous for this one.  I was focussing on wanting to enjoy this event. After a rousing Haka, the race began.  I saw a guy running in a wetsuit, another guy in a leopard print speedo (and gold chains and an awesome afro wig).  At champagne corner we were greeted by  spectators dressed up, drinking champagne with "Chariots of Fire" belting out on speakers.   I could not help but think of the Comrades Marathon (Chariots of Fire is played at the start of Comrades). The support from spectator was amazing, random folks calling out your name (printed on your race number), bagpipes and drummers all added to the atmosphere - also reminded me of Comrades.  
It was good to see some familiar faces on the course, Ross and Ganeshji. And Tago dishing out perfectly timed high-fives near the finish. I met another runner wearing a Comrades marathon cap, Gary, we exchanged Comrades stories and vowed to keep in touch. I sure have met some amazing people while running.
With events like the Tarawera ultra and the Rotorua Marathon - Rotorua can certainly expect to see many runners returning, again and again and again... I will be back (not to be read in an Arnold Scharzenegger accent - couldn't do it could you)
Thank you to Jenny and the ASICS team for sponsoring the race entry! The ASICS Gel DS Racers worked a treat!
Release of 50 balloons, representing the 50th year of the Rotorua Marathon

Gathering for the start...

Leopard print legend.

Champagne Corner

There will be a day when I can no longer do this. That is NOt today

LIV Bracelet. The pink hair band and Micky Mouse Band-Aid were good luck charms from my kids...

To make a Donation to LIV Village follow this link - http://www.givengain.com/activist/100396/projects/5563/

Next Marathon - Chirstchurch Marathon - Marathon number 8.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Marathon 6

Marathon 6
Great Forest Marathon 

Completed - 4hours 38minutes

Three hour drive, run a marathon, three hour drive home... This was set to be a tough day. Waking up at 3am, I set out from Napier for the three hour drive to Levin for Marathon 6, The Great Forest Marathon. I arrived at the start with plenty of time to go through my usual pre-race routine. The application of Vaseline and Band-Aids to various body parts.

The course was two 21km laps though forestry roads. Pretty flat and cushiony trials. It was great to see some familiar faces at the start line. It was a comfortable day and heading out a little too quick on the first lap - and suffered on the second lap. I met Ganeshji, he runs marathons and runs his own business. Me: "So what business you in?" Ganeshji: "I sell headstones".  They way my legs were feelings, perhaps I was speaking to the right man...  He was great company, we shared a few stories and that helped the km's pass. He will be off to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in a few months for a charity in Africa - inspirational.

After the event I shoved the following into my face - a paua fritter, a hot dog, a bacon and egg wrap and a black coffee (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). Yip, there were some pretty awesome food stalls.  After prize-giving I headed off for the drive home. Thank you to the event organisers for sponsoring the entry.

Next marathon: Rotorua Marathon (Marathon number 7)

A welcomed sign!

Fuel for the 3 hour drive home

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Marathon 5

Marathon 5
Tarawera Ultra Marathon

Completed (60km) - 9hours 36minutes
We are one quarter of the way there. 5 marathons down, 15 to go - all for LIV Village.  I have heard that as the original LIV Village continues to expand (with a community hall and clinic being built) there are plans to open a second LIV Village (thanks to inspirational Lara Kruiskamp) in a different region of South Africa.  This is amazing news and is very encouraging as we head into the second quarter of the 20 marathons.  
the 5th marathon was a 60km ultra marathon, the Tarawera Ultra Marathon. This years event had a last minute course change due to the expected arrival of Cyclone Lusi. The 100km and 85km events were changed to a 75km run and for us 60km runners, the distance remained the same, but the course was  an out and back run (I.e. More hills).  What was initially mild, actually perfect, running weather soon turned to muddy, wet and windy. Either way a fun day. I met and ran almost the entire course with Roger (a school teacher from Tauranga) - we shared a few laughs and the time flew past - Thanks Roger. We shuffled along at a steady pace, no racing, just plodding. The first 45km were pretty comfortable, but I did struggle the last 15km, thanks to a mean uphill and just damn tired legs. I will add that Roger had a GPS, and we were counting down to the 60km mark - and had that heart-sinking moment when you realize that the course is about 3km longer than you expected. With sunken-hearts and smiles on our faces we shuffled on, recognizing the terrain as close enough to the finish. I crossed the finish line with Roger and my daughter Jaimie. No blisters or hot spots my ASICS Fuji Racers were perfect over this wet 60km course. 
Here is the link to the donations page:  With the current exchange rate, foreign curacy donations go a long way in terms of South African Rand (just saying)
Upcoming event: Marathon 6 - 12 April 2014 - Great Forest Marathon
And we're off...
Before the start with the Managing Director of my support crew (Kellie, my wife).
Pretty amazing scenery

Things got wet and muddy.

Finishing a great day with my daughter Jaimie and new buddy Roger
Two awesome cheerleaders, Jaimie and Maddy - thanks for the support!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Marathon 4

Marathon 4

Colville Connection Trail Marathon

Completed - 5hours 38minutes

My family and I made the 6 hour journey from Napier to Colville for a weekend away. What an awesome part of New Zealand. I think most of the New Zealand postcards were photographed up there.  What a pleasure to visit.

Once the race was under way, the family headed off to Waitete Bay and I settled into my pace for the day. It was a warm, humid, muddy day. Colville Connection is a trail run and a mountain bike event, so the mud was churned up quite a bit and made for slow progress. Walking the up hills, running the flats and sliding/ skiing the down hills like a Sochi cross country skier.  Man, big respect to those mountain bikers!

Met and ran with Mike, a Canadian Navy Diver for a bit of the race. This guy was tough, no real marathon training, but obviously fit from Navy service. We shared a few stories and wished him luck and he was off... (I saw him again at the finish, so no I wasn't hallucinating) :)  

I'm am looking forward to the next run, and catching up again with Tago and Ross, some like minded running buddies. Great to see Tanya and Colin at the finish (Congrats Colin for finishing the 70km mountain bike event, legend!).

Finished with no injuries. This was my third marathon with my ASICS Fuji Racers, these shoes have been good to me. Some proper calf cramps at 40km mark, probably from trying to run a bit too hard towards the end. Good lesson for Marathon 5, take it easy!  All in all, a good day.  Thank you Colville Connection Organizers.
Getting ready for the start

Mike in the mist

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Marathon 3

Marathon 3

Hutt River Trail Marathon

Completed - 4hours 01minutes

It had been 5 weeks since marathon number 2, I felt very well rested, perhaps a little too rested after  Christmas holidays. Rested but confident.  I had managed to keep my training up over this tempting period - sticking to a light training schedule, running 3-4 days a week (more often 3 rather than 4).  To avoid injury I kept most runs between 30 - 60 minutes, with just one longer (2 hour) run about 2 weeks out from this marathon.

I made the trip to Lower Hutt without the family for this one. The plan was for me to drive down on the Friday, run the marathon on the Saturday morning and drive back Saturday afternoon.


There was an ultra option (a 60km) for this event, I stuck to the standard marathon distance. The course ran from Upper Hutt to Lower Hutt, meandering along the river.  Pretty flat and not very technical, very enjoyable run. Thank you Aurora Harriers for a great event.

There was a very interesting feature on this course, going through  this tunnel.  You couldn't see your feet and the end looked like a speck - I'm not sure how long the tunnel was, probably only a few hundred metres, but that was a surreal experience.

Heading into the tunnel

I met two legends, Mike Tennent and Ross Steele. Mike is running 52 half marathons in 52 weeks for Hospice. And Ross has run 60+ marathons and has run a marathon on every continent! Ross was great company and I look forward to catching up with him again - turns out as we compared upcoming race schedules that we will be meeting again at the start line on the next few events. You can read Ross' race report here: http://backcountryrunner.co.nz/2014/01/24/hutt-river-trail-events/

 Marathon completed with no injuries and the a few more running friends. Three down and 17 to go.

NZ Herald article:
20marathons20months got another mention in New Zealand Herald. if you haven't seen the article, here is the link below - we are honoured to be mentioned along side some inspirational people:
21/12/2013 "Marathon efforts all made for others"  -by Peter Thornton

To Donate:
To support the 20marathons20months for LIV Village - Here is a link to the donation page:

Marathon 2

Marathon 2
Wanganui 3 Bridges Marathon
Completed - 4hours 09minutes

December was an exciting month - marathon number 2 was completed and 20marathons20months got some newspaper coverage:  If you haven't seen the articles please see the links at the end of this post...
Marathon number 2 was a special one - the Wanganui 3 Bridges Marathon was run on the 14th of December 2013.  This was a weekend with South Africa on my mind.  This weekend was Mr Nelson Mandela's memorial and funeral. As a tribute I had an SA flag pinned to my chest (and Johnny Clegg on the playlist).

This was our first time visiting Wanganui and we were very excited to start seeing a bit more of New Zealand.   As a side note -to families traveling with little ones to or through Wanganui, you must check out - Kowhai Park - this place is an amazing playground for the kids and totally free.

Kings Court Motel provided a spacious one bedroom unit which was ideal. Just a short walk from the motel, through Wanganui town centre to the race start.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went straight to registration pick up my race number.  The race organizers (Wanganui Harriers) went the extra mile and arranged for me to have bib number two for this event, marathon number two. Thanks so much guys!

Race day - Vaseline and band-aids strategically placed on my person, shoes on and laces tied - nervous energy in the air.  A few fellow runners at the start commented on my cap (Comrades Marathon cap) stating that Comrades was on their bucket-lists. It was special to see Comrades Marathon igniting excitement half way around the world,and awesome to hear how folks were looking to challenge themselves. Before the start I also managed to catch up with Rachel (who happened to go on to win the women's marathon that day - what a legend). She has run 4 marathons in 2013, raising funds for Oxfam and in 2014 she is off to run the New York marathon.  One of the amazing by-products of this 20marathons20monoths for LIV Village is getting to meet some amazing people.

So the 3 bridges marathon, and yup you guessed it, we ran over 3 bridges.  The course was 4 laps of approximately 10kms each to make up the marathon distance. Flat with constant scenery of the Wanganui river.

A highlight for me was to run the final 100m with my daughter. She was patiently waiting with mum (running shoes on) and shrieked with excited when she saw me come round the corner.  According to my daughter we won the race.  Special way to finish the second marathon.   As an added bonus, I won a spot prize (an All Blacks cap) and prize-giving. All in all a good weekend!


Here are the links to the newspaper articles for December...  
In the Wanganui Chronicle:
"Psychologist gets head around marathon task" -by Iain Hyndman  
"Record entries expected for 3 Bridges" -get a little mention ahead of the marathon number 2.
New Zealand Herald:
07/12/2013 "Running:Napier runner out to change the world"  -by Peter Thornton 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Marathon 1

Marathon 1
Speights Westcoaster Adventure Run

Completed - 7hours 24minutes.

Marathon number one is done.  This was an amazing course to kick off this adventure.  The scenery was spectacular.  The course had 2000m of vertical gain, which I translated as "you get to walk a lot...". The winner finished in 5hours 9 minutes.

I went into this event a little under prepared. The theory being that 20 months is a long time, and I didn't want to run the risk of over-training for marathon one.  The plan for this event was a) finish b) don't pick up any injuries and c) enjoy! I am pleased to say all three objectives were met.

Weather conditions were set to be perfect, if not a little hot.  The race briefing complete, nervous energy in the air, runners milled around and ebbed towards the start line.  I shuffled towards the back of the pack.  A few words of encouragement and caution and we were off. 

I had mentally broke the course into 4 sections

Section 1 (0 - 12km)
Most for the first 12km section was run on private land (thanks to the Bethells Family).  This first section was very pleasant. I was cautious to watch my pace, careful not to let my pace creep up. A good time to chat to a few guys who have run this event before. Important information I gathered a) leave something in the tank for later, b) when you get tired just look at the scenery and c) you have to run the Disneyland Marathon!  To summarize this first section - Take in the great views of Bethells Beach, run across a rather large sand dune, get your feet wet running in the stream and you're into the second section.

Section 2 (12 - 22km)
The second section (10km) was to run north on Te Henga track - amazing views of the rugged westcoast.  I felt pretty good for most of this section.  It must have been about 18km into the run, when I experienced a proverbial 'bad patch'.  Legs felt good, but I just felt tired as if my body just realized that today was going to be a long day. There was a heart-breaking climb up some stairs before getting to the next aid station (at 22km). I was stepping, one, two, three - stop - breathe... one, two, three - stop - breathe * repeat * til the top. Glad to see a few friendly faces here, I took some electrolytes, refilled the back-pack and ate a banana.  With a smile on my face and I was quick to move on. 

Section 3 (22 - 32km)
This 10km was a loop of Goldie Bush, back to the aid station. With a spring in my step, I remember running quite strongly here, feeling good. The field had spread out a bit now and I was on my own heading into Goldie Bush. There were plenty river crossings here, taking the opportunity at each to splash water on my legs, neck and face. Climbing out of Goldie Bush, at what must have been about the 29km mark, my legs started cramping a bit. Nothing too serious, I could still move forward - which in my books is a win.

Section 4 (32 - 42.2km)
Ah, back to the aid station. Tired. Less chatty, still smiling.   I grabbed some more electrolytes. Didn't feel like eating anything. I crouched down to refill the back-pack - bad move - my legs seized up. It wasn't game over, just an intense threat from the legs.  I walked out of the aid station, 10kms to go.  I pretty much walked most of this final section (not by choice). The scenery was amazing. The legs were hurting. The ipod was in the ears, I remember singing along to  'Johnny Clegg - Impi'.  I walked (again not by choice) across the finish line - to receive the finishers medal and an ice cold Speights.  One down, 19 to go.

This was my first marathon with my ASICS Fuji Racers.  I was a little nervous, having not run more than 3hours in these before.  I was very pleased with them, after 7+ hours on my feet, no niggles, no blisters (despite the many river crossings). I'll be wearing these again, for sure.

Thank you to the Speights Westcoaster team for your support, what an amazing event.  There was also a relay option, a 6km, 13km, 21.1km, 30km and the marathon option - something for everyone, see you next year. 

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