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First-time Marathoner Goes the Distance in New Zealand

Share Your Story: Your Marathon Story

By Ahikiwi

Updated January 11, 2010

Marathon Name and Date

Great Forest Event, Waitarere Forest, New Zealand

Saturday 4 April 2009

How many marathons have you completed?

Just the one

Would you run another marathon?

Maybe but not for a few years - focusing on triathlons at the moment

How I Trained for My Marathon

I mostly trained by myself. I worked out a training plan that included building up my base fitness again and then extending the distance out to a 32km max. I got 10km into my 35km longest training run but then had a knee problem and had to stop.

Sometimes on my long runs my partner would come on on his bike for the last 7-8km to keep me company - something I always really appreciated.

I ran anywhere between 2-5 times per week, sometimes I found it really hard to be motivated to train but I always managed my long sunday run. I did one half marthon race about 6 weeks out and I think that helped with speed.

How I Ran My Marathon

The Waitarere Marathon is a small event, I think there were only about 50 runners competing. They also have a half marathon, 10km run/walk and 5km run/walk. It's a real community event.

I had my ipod and I honestly don't think I could have done it without it. I had my goal time, I set my pace and I just kept running. I had water and energy gel at every 3km water station and I think that was the key - keeping my energy up. I ran alone for most of the way, there just didn't really seem to be anyone else at my pace. I didn't see another women for the whole race (there were 20 women competing) but I did end up overtaking two middle aged men in the last 3km which was pretty cool.

My overall time was 4hrs 18mins, and I'm really proud of that. My partner was there at the end with my Pixie Caramel (chocolate bar in NZ) and I shocked my other friend with my finishing time and the energy I had at the end (he'd done one in over 5hrs and ended up walking for 6km).

I never really hit a wall, although there was a small section at about 39km that was uphill in soft sand, that was hard, but by that stage I knew I was so close to the end there was no way I was going to stop.

It's an awesome achievement and something I'm really proud of. It gave me the encouragement to plan for my next big challenge - a half ironman.

Lessons Learned

  • Be more consistent in training - always train at least 3 days per week
  • Make sure you fuel properly, use the energy gels from the start rather than waiting until you feel tired
  • Porridge makes a great pre-race meal
  • Music can change your pace, so keep it upbeat
  • Don't think about what you'll do if you need to go to the loo - it probably won't happen!
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