Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Karen writes: Auckland Marathon

Bridge at Sunset - Photo from S Witherden - Wikimedia
The Auckland Marathon has been on my list of must-do-one-day events for years. In itself it held no particular appeal apart from allowing access to the pedestrian unfriendly but spectacular Auckland harbour bridge.  This event is in my back yard so to speak however a detractor was that getting to it at the right time was actually more complicated than for example getting on a plane and flying to another city altogether.  That relatively long early morning drive in from Maraetai to Auckland city central, finding parking, catching an early ferry to Devonport, running the race, and then getting home again seemed too much like hard work.  Running over the Auckland harbour bridge, yes very appealing, but there is time pressure to get over the bridge... pressure always puts me off. Descriptions of crowds and uneven road surfaces and under prepared athletes.... no thanks.  To top it off I have made a tradition in recent years of being off running in the bush somewhere on Auckland marathon day, it's usually hot, I run in the cool and feel sorry for all those poor runners slogging it out on the tarseal when I'm on the trails having fun.
So I signed up this year.  This year there were factors that meant the decision made sense, for example my favourite patch of forestry is closed until Christmas so no tradition of shady bush running for me on the day. Both daughters are doing the kids event, why shouldn't I take advantage of running my race and being at their start-line to watch them go? Its a precious opportunity to experience the addictive joys of sharing our medals and discussing our race experiences from our vastly different viewpoints, plus we indulge legitimately in treats afterwards in the car (Wendy's mint thickshake with whipped cream and chocolate flake at this point) ... mmmm to all of it.

As happens after you sign up for something and pay your money, it becomes yours.  I visit the website, follow the Facebook feeds, scan the emails for new and exciting announcements, plot how I am going to get to the startline with a minimum of fuss, familiarise myself with the course and its unique features and the challenging bits, until I own it.

Another seemingly serendipitous factor that makes things just seem right this year is apparently the Auckland marathon has now made the list of the Running World top 10 city marathons, right up there with Paris, London, Boston, Berlin, Honolulu, Amsterdam, New York, Athens and Peurto Rico. Running in any of those exotic locales is not terribly likely for me in the foreseeable future, but in spite of that, in 7 weeks I am actually running a marathon that is now not only world famous in New Zealand, but truly world famous.  Add that to sharing the day in a meaningful way with my whanau, building my collection of bling and ticking off something on my one-day list...whats not to be happy about?