It’s rare when an event ticks all the boxes but this year’s Cadbury Marathons certainly hit the mark.
There’s literally something for everyone at this event from the mini marathoners 1km, 5km, 10km, 21.1km and of course the mighty 42.2km.
It’s an early start on Sunday morning, I wake just after 5am and sneak through the house to dress, eat a couple of bananas and do a final bag check.
My husband drops me at the start line and we arrive about 5:55am (just in time to see the Marathoners head off) They do a couple of loops of the Cadbury Estate before exiting out into Claremont village.
It’s a beautiful mild morning of 10 degrees with little to no wind and I’m really happy with the conditions. I find the bag drop area and start to get organised. Today I’m fuelling with Caffeine tablets x2 and Wiggle gels x2. I plan to take a gel at the 9km drink station, then a caffeine tablet at 13km and I have a spare gel in case I feel the need about the 15-18km mark. I swallow a tablet, strip down to my running kit and hand my gear over to the friendly staff.
The vibe is high out at Cadbury this morning. There are smiles everywhere and It just feels like a great crew. As we begin to self seed on the start line there are giggles and exchanges of well wishes between the runners.
And then, we’re off.
I’m coming into this race as a bit of a test of current fitness. After NYC Marathon in November I’ve been on restricted runs due to a knee niggle and when I finally got cleared to run again well it was time to taper.
After 2km I notice I’m comfortably sitting on 4:15/km and as I’m feeling great I keep up the pace. Last year I PB’d on this course in 1:39:09 with an average pace of 4:41/km. As much as I’d love to smash that today I’ve already resigned myself to just enjoying the race and not trying to take home a PB or an injury.
There are plenty of familiar faces out on course and in my usually style I don’t hold back from saying hi, exchanging a high five here and there and of course smiling from ear to ear. This will be my 5th Cadbury Marathon event and there is just something awesome about the course, I love it more and more each year.
After a long stretch of highway we veer to the left and run behind the Derwent Entertainment Centre. There is a slight breeze but nothing to write home about. We start to pass some of the marathoners at his stage and it’s great to see so many people having a crack at the full.
The 8km mark seems to come around quickly. I take out a gel and keep it my hand to warm up until the drink station at 9km. With my average pace on 4:17/km I’m pleasantly surprised how good I feel. I remind myself in the lead up to halfway not to let my head get the better of me. I start to think I could actually come in under last years time if I keep this up and after a quick calculation I figure even if I drop back to 4:40/kms on the way back I’m in with a shot.
My knee hasn’t hurt at all at this point but that’s the beauty of racing with a little caffeine. I find it keeps my head in the game and allows me to stay completely focussed without my head psyching me out.
Crossing the Bowen Bridge is such a treat as we near the turn because the sun is shining across water of the Derwent River and I always take a little moment here to appreciate the surroundings; Hobart really is such a beautiful place.
With the half way mark now behind us we’re heading back to the finish line the same way we came. It’s not long beforeI reach the 13km mark and I take in some water and caffeine here as I get ready to smash out the rest of this race. I make a point of thanking all the volunteers at this drink station.. some seem surprised but all are very friendly and I never stop being appreciative of all that they do to make these events tick.
There is so much support from the spectators and all those that couldn’t run today due to injury or something else have still come out to cheer us on. Glenn , a fellow runner joined me for a moment or two from the sidelines to check how I was feeling and give me some lollies – I love this about the running community.
As I start to fatigue a little I notice a slight head wind at about the 16km mark. I slow slightly and so make a deal with myself that one km at a slower pace won’t do too much damage but after that it’s back on track for what has now become a race to chase my PB. With an average of 4:22/km here I’m more than comfortable to ease back a bit to 5:00/km in order to reset. After a few minutes though I feel re energised and with minimal wind I tell myself the party’s over and it’s time to kick up the pace again.
I take a gel at 17km, more just for insurance to get me up that final climb into Cadbury Estate.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about fuelling for a race, my body responds far better when I’m slightly over fuelled than under fuelled.
This has only been discovered through trial and error but I never let my body get to the point where it feels like it needs fuel, then it already too late.
I really notice at this stage how quickly the whole race has gone and how much I’ve enjoyed every moment. Every single volunteer, staff member or police officer out on course has been encouraging, friendly and supportive. It makes me smile even more (if that’s possible)
There are only a couple of final hills through Berriedale and once past MONA we turn into Claremont Village to knock over the last 2km. I’m a bit shocked, with an average of 4:26/km and only one climb left to conquer I start to giggle out loud to myself for a moment. Though not planned, a PB today it is then.
I shift my body weight forward and lean into the last climb, it’s a big one but I look down and shorten my stride to a pitter patter. There are a few spectators here and their encouragement gets me swiftly up to the top. I can hear cheers coming from the finish line and as the road levels I kick into 3rd gear and push ahead to get a stride up.
I spot a camera ahead and this helps with the pain as I decide to replace my grimace with a smile in the last push to the top.
With cheers from my Sole Mates Running Group buddies a little before the finish line I grit my teeth and plummet through the iconic Cadbury arch in 1:34:22, almost 5min better than last year.
I squeal a little as I’m handed my bag of chocolate and medal and then fall into the arms of friends near by. We all start sharing race times and PBs – I think mostly everyone got one today – and stories about how we found the race. I’m so incredibly happy with my race, my time and how I managed to keep my head strong throughout.
After a quick couple of photos some of us head off to collect our bags, change and head out to watch the marathoners finish.
The race village is set up extremely well. There are food and coffee carts, local sports stores with awesome bargains and plenty of space to watch the race. As we mill around a friend and I decide to grab a massage in exchange for a donation to charity, something Bec and I’ve not really done before but it was so worth the wait and I’ll be doing it again. Afterwards we grab some coffees and cheer on the runners as they come across the finish line.
At 10am the kids participate in the Caramello 1km event and they are so excited to be finishing in the big arch along with all the other runners.
What a brilliant way to kick off the new year – only 364 days until next time!