2003 Jindabyne Marathon Report
By Bill Koumertas, email email@example.com
Drizzle continued the day before the race to accompany my trek from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains for the run. Any possibility I’d also catch a fresh trout for dinner faded, as the locals were emphatic that rain produces muddy water and “there ain’t no fish on the bite”. Luckily, I had the Rugby final to inspire my next day’s running performance. I was anticipating a 4hr:45min finish.
Sunday broke with no let up in the persistently irritating heavy drizzle as I nudged my motivation into following the traditional morning ritual of breakfast and racing checklists. I headed for the start.
Pacing or huddled in the small under-covered area of the Jindabyne Sporting Oval, two dozen runners, many, the “die hard” of running in the 50’s & 60’s, clenched fists, lightly stamped cold (or yet to awaken feet) took mental stock of their internal inventory.
The 7am start was fast approaching. I remained undecided whether to wear my yellow cycle rain jacket; although very lightweight, it didn’t breath. “What the hell”, I can always leave it at the first checkpoint.
This is probably a good time to say, “I’m not an accomplished runner” by any stretch of the imagination. It’s been the exploits of a local Sydney "Fatass" group of runners, that inspired me to start training late September 2003. Anyway, I’m milling aimlessly with the starting crowd. Trying to keep warm I glare at the leathery, more determined faces of bona fide marathon runners unbothered by the rain, anxious to start, determined to finish.
Derek Foley, RD, draws my attention. He welcomes the group announcing that yesterdays anticipated 19 confirmed entrants have, this morning, swelled to 44. A few reminders, some race instructions and the preliminaries complete saw the field line up behind the pavilion for a start. There would be no local council assistance or medical backup, stated the RD.
Drizzle was to be a constant distraction throughout the race.
Within minutes of the start, the leaders were leaping ahead at a <3hr pace. On the other hand, I shuffled along at what has been called a "comfy pace". The course was an out-and-back loop. Jindabyne centre, heading northeast for 15kms and back. Thereafter, heading around the lake towards the snowfields for 6km, turning 180° to end the race on the Jindabyne foreshore.
I couldn’t contain my excitement as the first few kms took me out of town. I started chatting with “Bob”, a catholic priest from Park City Utah, which I learned is 40km east of Salt Lake City. He’d recently completed the Chicago Marathon and was hoping to complete today’s run in 4 to 4hrs:30 pace.
By 10kms, I was solo (too slow for Bob). The rain had subsided to misty low lying clouds as I settled into a comfortable running gait for a 4hr:30 finish.
Elevation gain was small, climbing only 40 mtrs. The course was to become long stretches of undulating country side, awash in green hues, a wonderful sight even in this inclement weather.
Before the 15km turn around, that would take me back towards the town’s centre, the leaders ran past me with a grim smile of determination. I trudged forward quickly re-focusing my attention to the terrain. At each alternate aid station I had left electrolyte drinks but found the weather keeping me cool, so I drank markedly less than anticipated. By the end of the race I had consumed 1.5ltrs of fluid. One problem I did experience was swollen hands, why?, the cold?.
With 30kms down, I felt strong. A quick re-check of all inventory assured me that I would, in fact, finish.
No sooner than the though left my mind, did my legs leave me (for what I at least hoped was a short break, not the case). I was back in Jindabyne, now heading for the snow fields and the last main turning point to the course at the 36km mark.
One foot after the other, I told myself. On each occasion that I stopped for a short break, I chilled. Bent over to grab some air, somehow also hoping to rejuvenate my aligning performance, but to no avail. I was now hoping for a less than 5hr run.
What went wrong!! oh yeah, not enough training.
Made the final turn around, the last few kms was to be the hardest section. Just keep moving I told myself. Give it your best whatever the time.
The last 2.5km along the winding foreshore path was an unceremonious gait of stumbling footsteps, but the lake kept me company. Its' remarkable green hue and calming water seemed perfectly in balance with the surrounding country side. I felt happy. I hadn’t notice the rain had stopped.
4 hours 45 minutes 2secs.
NSW Central Coast