This years Chongqing marathon was also the national championships and Olympic trials for the Chinese national team. The prize money was ridiculous so lots of Africans (KEN and ETH mostly) came out to try and snag some cash. There was about 40 000 people running in the marathon, half marathon, 9km, 5km combined... and tons of spectators from the "largest city in the world". I am proud that 6 staff came out to the races and participated in the 5 and 9km races. Andrew signed himself up for the half and I couldnt not run the marathon knowing there was a marathon to be run.
The Chinese are good at adding the sparkles and jazz to any event but sometimes they forget some of what they believe to be minor needs and we (north americans) believe to be major ones. A good example being the lack of toilets at the start of a race hosting 40 000 runners... hmmmm or the lack of shuttle back to the start for the thousands of people who ran 5 and 9km race... I wouldn't have expected anything less really! haha... The marathon on the other hand was the main deal for this event and as far as I coult tell all precautions were in place . This was important as they (chinese government) were choosing the best of the best of the chinese marathon runners to compete in the London Olympics this summer. The course wasn't the most exciting with a 5km there and back and then a 16.5 km there and back... actually normally I would hate this set up but this time being so far back from the winners it allowed me to see them twice. I got to drool, and be amazed by their speed and skill. Since my return to road marathons for this year I was surprised how slow I was back in November at the Hangzhou International Marathon. I was expecting to be running at about the same pace as I was back in 2004 but alas my training has changed dramatically and therefore not the most transferable to road marathons. Unfortunately for the Chongqing marathon I only really had a month to prepare as we were on our 5 week holiday enjoying all the holiday things so training for the marathon was not my priority. Upon my return though I was in the game. I had a month to get it done. I tried to reflect back to the days when I was faster on the road... I was part of a running club and did some interval training.. ahhh running fast... there's an idea... The last several years, I was really into ultras, multi day stuff, trails, and just ran long and a nice pace... forgot about speed training. For one I am no good at it and for two it hurts.... I did my best here and hit the treadmill a couple times a week. To make a long story short... I reached my goal of running under 3:30 but still 17 minutes slower than my PB at 3:11.... I have one more marathon to go Great Wall, May 19th in Beijing and I hope to improve a little more but it will probably be my last marathon for a foreseeable future.. I just don't find road marathons as exciting as trail races. Unfortunately, where we are in China there just arent any trail races yet... they will come but past my time here. Its been good though signing up for these marathons... makes me feel like I am still in somewhat of decent shape and I look forward to testing my body out in SUP races and adventure races when I am finished my time here in China.
live, love, laugh,...DREAM!