– by John Goninon, NZL Subcontractor Co-ordinator in Mt Maunganui
After running a trail marathon in 2016, I decided that in 2017 I would attempt my second marathon. I decided on the Queenstown marathon as I had heard that the scenery was stunning, it was relatively flat and what a great place to have a few days rest and recovery afterwards.
The training was for the most part enjoyable but a juggling act with work, two children and a wife who was also training for the same event.
With 12 weeks of training under my belt and feeling strong, I left for Queenstown with my running gear packed as carry on luggage…because you just never know!
The day arrived – Saturday 18th November. A mix of nerves, excitement and relief to get this far, I made my way to the bus which would take me to the start line. The line was big, buses were slow and we only just made it to the start line in time!
The start line was at the beautiful Millbrook Resort. I had a big job right from the starters gun as I was at the back of the pack with the 5+ hour runners and so spent the first few kilometres passing a lot of runners while trying to admire the stunning scenery and not trip over any rocks or tree roots!
The first 5k’s flew by and before I knew it I was running around Lake Hayes – this was a really nice part of the run and there was a lot of supporters on the banks cheering everyone on! When I got around the far side of the lake my heart sunk a little as I had been sold on this being a flat run and all I could see were hills!
Thankfully when I got to them they actually weren’t as bad as they looked and I was able to use the down hills to pass a few more runners. After a nasty climb up to leave Lake Hayes we were faced with around 5k’s of flat straight road.
This got me back into a good rhythm and before I knew it I was running into the Lower Shotover and across the old bridge and heading along the banks of the Kawarau River towards Frankton. Now approaching Lake Wakatipu I only had 10k’s to go and my legs were feeling it! I dug deep and closed in on Queenstown Gardens with only 2k’s left the crowd of supporters was amazing as I started to run through the lakefront district towards the finish line.
I likened this part of the run to watching Tour de France when the roads are lined with spectators on both sides. Everyone was clapping and cheering the runners on which is a big boost. I had one hill in town to get up then there it was! The finish line was in site, hammer down and across I went. 42.2k’s 3 hours and 54 minutes and it was done. Sub 4 hour goal achieved!
It was a stunning and hot day in Queenstown and I needed to eat and re-hydrate, what better way to do that and wait for my wife to finish than in the Air NZ corporate tent! Rochelle came in at 4 hours and 54 minutes, her goal also achieved and I couldn’t have been prouder!
So that was marathon number 2 completed and now the holiday could begin! Thanks to NZL for your support and sponsorship!
If you have considered running a marathon my advice would be to go for it! Pick a beautiful course, find yourself some training buddies and just enjoy it!