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Brisbane Marathon – Fastest time since World Record Finish

Following a very busy three days of meetings across Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast it was great to have the opportunity to return to the Brisbane Marathon for the first time since 2011. Following the 3.30am wake up it was time to suit up to take care of business to prepare for the short walk from the hotel across the Goodwill Bridge to the start line.

It was great to be greeted by perfect conditions on entering the darkness to meet up with Pete and Chris the Channel 7 crew to create some magic for a feature story on an upcoming episode of the “House of Wellness”. After a few minutes to capture some footage it was soon time to jump into the crowded corrals with the half marathon and marathon starting at the same time it was absolutely jam-packed so it was very nice to see one of my favourite running couples from New Zealand in good mates Graeme Tindall and Rebecca Edgecombe to catch up briefly and receive a little extra inspiration from Rebecca who mentioned she would catch me at 25km like in many similar marathons over recent years.

The 6am race start released the athletes out of the gates running through the Brisbane Central Business District was awesome leading us towards the Southbank Boardwalk where we were soon zigging in and out to avoid runners heading back through what was a narrow passing effectively helping to slow down the pace which was a good thing for me considering I always do my best to fly out too fast in the early stages. I actually loved the atmosphere seeing so many runners up close while we were passing each other to provide encouragement and support.

After running across the Story Bridge and winding our way down to the bike paths to run along the Brisbane River it was interesting to pass Maloney Park under the Bridge which clearly has been named after James Maloney the NSW Blues Number 6 after the State of Origin Victory. I was feeling great and enjoying the sub 4 pace approaching the 10km stage while doing my very best to keep my form together to maintain the pace for as long as possible. I normally listen to music to focus although at this stage was soaking up the atmosphere of the early morning run which often felt like it was a large group run through Brisbane which was fantastic.

While doing my best to maintain my pace I was not being silly and did let a number of people go that were out to finish in the 3:30 – 4:00 window with this goal still a little while away on my return. The familiar course had only changed slightly since last time around with recent roadworks resulting in some unavoidable variations for the new event organisers.

I was conscious Pete and Chris would be looking out for me on entering the Botanic Gardens and was doing my best to find them to collect my cap and in the rush of spotting them I spotted my bag on the ground and went in searching for the cap only to then realise Chris had it in his hand for me which in hindsight is a little funny and clearly a sign of my intense focus at the time or lack of peripheral vision 😉 It was soon back to the job passing behind the finish line with the Half Marathon finishers crossing the line there was still a while to go to have the opportunity before doing the same. It was at this time that 100 Marathon Club members Sarah-Jane Marshall and Ray James pushed on strongly while I was having challenges again with swelling in my right foot creating a few issues leading to me adjusting the laces to find the right level of comfort.

It was interesting to see the majority of aid stations were staffed by volunteers representing the largest fast food restaurant on the planet in the new race sponsors colours which was a little different to last time where a number of schools and other supportive volunteers competing to determine the number 1 station across the course and perhaps this may be something the new race organisers will look to bring to life in the future. After pushing on at a good pace it was time to block out the noise and tune into the music to help pump me up and maintain the momentum to bring it home over the closing stages. It was fantastic to see Mark English powering along on track for a 3:20 finish shouting out words of encouragement to “remember pain is temporary” with a clear difference noticed between the level of support from fellow runners when running faster as opposed to dealing with the frustrations shared when doing your best to go the distance further down the field.

The course looped around in a number of places during the race where you could measure your progress against the rest of the field and it was so nice to be running well ahead expectations. The marathon running community is small and it is always nice to see familiar faces on the run as was the case when Amanda Barlow caught me with around 10km remaining which was encouraging with Amanda consistently posting sub 4 hour times. I then spotted Ming Leung who again had previously been well ahead of me over recent years and it was rewarding to be able to keep up the pace to share the road together for a while in the closing stages. It was amazing to hear fellow runners continuing to support each other and many mentioning “Go Trent” which was very nice.

On the approach to the finish line it was now an extremely busy Sunday morning on a beautiful warm day with people out making the most of the day and runners that had finished previous events making their way home with their medals proudly pinned around their necks on the approach to push over the Goodwill Bridge for the final push home. I was now focused on the real chance to go under 4:30 and was leaving nothing to chance powering as hard as possible when I spotted a couple approaching the turn into the Riverstage finish area where I was able to swing passed and power across the line to finish in 4:24:38. Talk about pumped to bring it home so well to post the fastest time since finishing the World Record at the Boston Marathon in April 2014. It was also the fastest time run out of the three times at the Brisbane Marathon with only a few minutes separating each result which is very pleasing progress.

After sharing the celebrations with friends on the finish line it was time to meet up with Pete and Chris from Channel 7 to share a little more ahead of the “House of Wellness” feature before a relaxing night ahead to recover and bring on another exciting week of adventures.

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