The Mauritian Marathon and my first Half Marathon

Lolos mum, Glynis Fox, a well seasoned runner had decided a few months back that she wanted to come over to run the Mauritian marathon. At that time I was keen on running the 10k family run as I was not the fittest person around, but 10ks I could do.

After Lolo and I got here we did some running, and I felt the need to take a more serious stance on the sport, so I started doing some distance, then some speed training, then more distance, and by the time it came to signing up for the 10k I decided to challenge myself, 21 it was. So I signed up, and the training began.

I did a fair amount of training before the race, but had still not hit anything close to the 21k mark, I think the max I did was 17km.

So then it swung around, Sunday the 15th of July 2012. A day to truly remember!!

The day before we went the collect our race packs, and listen in on the race brief.

Early on that Sunday morning I was up, before the alarm (rare I promise), excitement I am sure, and after the morning coffee, a shower and a kiss from my lovely I was off.

My transfer forgot to pick me up, but luckily for me one of the race organizers who I had dealt with drove past and saw me on the side of the road waiting, and gave me a ride to the start.

On arrival at the start I felt a little nervous, and alone as I knew nobody. But the crowds were gathered to get there photos taken with Fauja Singh, a 101 year old man who has run for many years for nothing but charity. He believes that the love he gives when he runs for the various charities comes back to him and that is what keeps him going. When you see this great man you cant help but question his age. He looks nothing like 101, maybe more alone the lines of 75-80. It was truly inspirational!

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So we lined up for the start, myself and about 95 other hopefuls. You can see the serious runners right away. The dudes and dudets kitted to the nines, feet on the start line and rearing to go. I however was nearer the middle, with the rest of the “normal” runners.

Fauja blew the whistle and we were off!!

It didn’t take long for the field to break up, and it didn’t take long for the rain to fall ether. About 2ks in it began. The first real driving rain I have experienced since our arrival. But it didn’t last long, at this point I had made a friend, a young lady from the UK who was running quite happily along side me matching my pace. We got talking and the first couple of km’s few by in conversation. A pity for the overcast weather though, because as amazing as the sea side run was, it would have been even more breath taking with the sun lighting the ocean. I left my new run buddy around the 11km mark. As she was feeling a little strained and I felt good to pound on, so she slowed a little, stuck in the headphones and I lifted my knees and got going.

The people I “met” along the way are what make running races I think! I had a mum and daughter along the way, supporting dad, but as he was not far behind me they ended up shouting and supporting me too, I met ASA runners from SA along the way, germans, frenchies and locals. There was very little other support along the way. I kind of expected the locals to be out in force cheering us on, but that was not to be. The locals were in church I recon!

Nearer the 17k mark the route pulled away from the ocean and I was running solo through sugar cane, lots of it. You see with such a small pack running there is a lot of space between runners.  Not that I minded being alone, it gave me time to reflect.

Many of the runners who had gone out fast were struggling with the heat, and I overtook them one by one as I had trained here in the humidity and heat for nearly a month and knew what I as in for.

It was also around this point that the full marathon lead man came flying past me, he made me feel like I was walking.  And at this point I felt like walking, my knees were done, and I don’t think I had any sweat left in my body. But my head kept me going! I wanted to finish in under 2 hours 30, and I would never forgive myself if I had walked and missed it. So I kept on going.

I was just before the 20km mark and a gent who was also supporting somebody running shouted to me that there was a k to go, so I put me head down, lifted my knees and started going for it.

I came into Saint Felix, and a police officer directed me onto the finishing straight, from the second I saw the people at the finish line cheering and shouting all the pain in my knees vanished, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.

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Lauren and her brother Cole were there cheering me on as I crossed the finish line and I really felt like I had achieved something, and I had, my first half marathon!!

MAURITIAN HALF MARATHON 2012, 21.9KM IN 2 HOURS 15 MIN

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