To get us kicked off, it feels very different to my other 3 Gold Coasts - not because of my training, preperation or lack of injuries, but because Jason "Cadel Evans" Paull is absent from the start list.
I can still remember the coolish April night in 2009 when we sat down and registered for GC togther. Back then "long runs" were 16km and my weekly mileage was about 40km per week! How times have changed.
Without crying too much, I am missing the 300 text messages per day from him talking up Gold Coast. How fast we are going to run? What our 10k, 30k splits? The "What if" texts - you know the kind, where your mind wonders off and you start to dream of the perfect day, like those training runs that come very rarely where you just reel off insanely quick kilometers with no effort....imagine IF that happens Sunday....
This week has a different feel, to it. For starters Monica's injury hasnt been responding well, and she has been feeling a bit down about the very real prospect of coming all the way down to Gold Coast to watch. Stuff that, I am a bad watcher - I have been trying to keep her positive "just walk it and get your medal" thats my view. Lots of people (including our mum) think I am crazy for suggesting it, BUT it is Gold Coast. The atmosphere alone just gets my heart pumping.
I know the trail snobs like Mat The Tattoo Runner hate big road races, but Gold Coast is as close to feeling like running in the Olympics for us mortals. There are runners everywhere, the expo is superb, the race is extremely proffessional and the course is flat and fast. The weather for this year looks super awesome too!
So what of the runners making their debut - I am sure to have missed people so I am sorry if you facebooked me and I have missed you off the list.
Greg - ran his first race last year at the Spring Classic and has gone from strength to strength. A minor injury scare last week was a mere hiccup.....looking forward to seeing him run his first Marathon in around 4.30.
Jason Edwards - Luke's brother is having a crack at the full - by Luke's account he is in 4.10-4.15 shape, Jason was there at The North Face. It will be great to see Luke run with him, something that you don't get the opportunity to do very often (run a marathon with someone).
Speaking of Luke - he has flipped and flopped between having a crack at 3.30 or running with Jason. So I wouldnt be super surprised if he got to the 1km marker and dropped Jason for a real crack at a massive PB....time will tell!
Cain also started running last year and was bitten pretty hard by the bug, after running 2 half marathons last year, he finally cracked 2hrs at the River Run. He is sandbagging saying he just wants to finish, so I put him somewhere in the 4.30-4.45 time bracket.
Donna and Veronica from Saturday morning Road Runners are also having a crack at the marathon. I am super excited for them, both have done a HEAP more work than I ever did for my first - so I think they will be in the 4.30-4.45 group also. Being ladies, they will run a sensible race and wont get caught up with running too hard early!
My cousin Cath is making her Half Marathon debut.....if she doesnt break 2hrs she will go very close, she is staying with Greg, Monica and I so will all be getting pumped up together on Saturday night! I cant wait!!
I think David Wilkes is doing the marathon - I could be wrong, but pretty sure Mel made him sign up. He has the Rock and Roll Vegas Half Marathon under his belt on his Honeymoon, respect to anyone who does that! Best of luck to him and Mel, Mel looks like she has shares in a strapping company at the moment. I hope all of that tape can hold her together for the race!
Last Marathoner is Nick who I used to work with at the Rocky Council, I think he is running the marathon - he is Penrith supporter, so I feel a bit sorry for him! I hope he has a good day and takes his kids watch him finish. (Correction Nick is shooting for a sub 2 half marathon!)
This is what is looks like when you finish your first marathon with your kids, it is the BEST feeling (they look so little back in 2009)!
Up the pointy end of the Marathon times will be Paul Tucker, fingers crossed he has an awesome day and runs somewhere near his potential. A sub 2.40, YES 2hr 40minute Marathon is a distinct possibility for Paul. Insane! After being sick at the New York Marathon last November, I really hope he has a better day come Sunday, he deserves it.
Of the next group of marathoners, Pete Wheeler, Michael, Gavin and Benny are all having a crack at sub 3. Michael to me looks to be in the best shape of the 4, BUT who knows. They like Paul are all super nice guys so I really hope they all run under 3hrs. Ben thinks Michael might go under 2.55, which will be super quick for him!
The battle of the 3.10-3.20 group is pretty hot. Leah, Jacob and Polly will be all looking to "crush" each other. It has been really fun for me to watch them try and tear the legs off each other on the training runs. Leah looks in great shape, Polly has been battling injuries, and Jacob struggling with cramps. So the race between these three might be won by who has the most ticker post 30km. It is going to be a cracker, I sort of wish I was watching them race!!!
Brenden or "Big M" could be in that 3.20 group with his insane 1.35 half marathon at the river run, Brenden is an enigma - he looks too muscular to run a marathon yet ran 3.33 last year. Pat Carrolls plan has him peaking at the right time to really tear his PB to bits! I know he can do it.
Of the sub 4hr group, Trisha will be looking to improve on her Canberra time (and should) and Kathryn will also be looking to improve on her recent debut marathon of 3.45. These ladies do a LOT of work on their long runs, and I would be surprised if they took big chunks from their PBs come Sunday.
Which gets me to my own race predictions. To be honest I am looking to go under 4hrs. I have run 3.48 in training so I sort of know what that feels like (regarding effort). I would love to be somewhere near 3.45ish. Again, I havent been doing too much marathon specific training - so I am a little unsure how it will all play out.
I do know one thing, I am going to ENJOY Sunday. Really soak it up. After the race, I am going to head up to the Grand and celebrate hard with the debut marathoners - I am so eager to hear about how the marathon has changed them for the better and how they are ready for their next adventure, I know I always am.
Have fun this weekend if you are racing. Drink water early. Take it easy till you get to the 15km turn around and rip in coming back to the start finish - then be prepared to suffer for the last 12.195km!
OH and pose for the Camera's on course!
PS - Good luck to Coach Roger running his 79th (I think) marathon and 23rd Gold Coast this weekend! You are an inspiration!