October update: Marathon

After Ed and Jon’s 50km trail running adventure, the idea was to leave the running to the professionals and start to focus on rowing. However, there were 2 unexpected outcomes from the run. Firstly, trail running was actually quite fun! It’s probably not the last one that we see the Sydney duo complete. Secondly, 2 weeks after crossing the trail finish line, clearly still on a high, Jon decided to sign up for the Sydney Marathon the day before the race. Using the logic of ‘it’s less distance than the trail run’, he put on his trusty Asics once more and headed to North Sydney for the start of the race, alongside thousands of other elites, amateurs and those in fancy dress.

The start line was full of nervous energy, and with helicopters circling overhead the siren sounded and the mass of participants edged their way out towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was a stunning start to the race, on a perfectly crisp day for running. Unlike trail running, where your mind is constantly working out the best place to plant your foot, best line to take over some rocks, least muddy way through a puddle, marathon running is more a question of pace. Constant and continual steady pace, over flat tarmacked ground. Jon overcame this with a heady playlist of 90s rap and Noughties indie rock and roll, and tried his best to find a good pace to stick with.

Through Centennial park he went, constantly doubling back on himself as the organisers of the race had crammed in a route to make up the 44km distance necessary for a marathon. It was in the park, at the 19km mark that the trouble began. Feeling an instantaneous, very sharp pain in his right knee, he pulled up and almost immediately hobbled over to the side of the route to try and wave over the First Aid. Clearly there is a reason people prepare for Marathons by doing some road running, to build up the tolerance for the relentless impact of the hard ground on your joints.

However, not wanting to have to tap out early and head back defeated, Jon found that he could at first limp, and then gradually continue to a slowly ‘amble’. But he was still moving forward. And so the decision was made that he would continue, although at a vastly reduced pace! He crept past the 20km, moved into the city and headed out towards Pyrmont, refusing to give up. Unlike his wireless headphones, which ran out of battery soon after. Another valuable lesson for the row – wireless kills your battery!

The route started to hug the harbour, and the slow crawl continued for Jon as he inched his away towards the finish. There were hundreds of supporters cheering on the thousands of participants, all lining the approach to the finish line at the iconic Sydney Opera House. It is remarkable what an affect other people’s support can have on your wellbeing, and any pain or discomfort Jon felt was soon washed away by the cheers of well-wishers. He crossed the finish line in a gentle 4.5hours, hardly a record but another endurance event ticked off the list and some more experienced gained.

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