Tasmania is a beautiful destination and the January Cadbury half or full marathon is the ideal way to combine an event for mum and a school holiday trip for the family.   Before I get to race day I should explain the events of how I came to enter this race.  It started back in October with a weekend away for our 23rd wedding anniversary.  Flying into Launceston on Friday night after work we stayed in the city before driving up to Cradle Mountain the next day.

Having only started running last year I had recently found Parkrun through RMA and I was obsessed with my Saturday morning 5km run and chasing the PB each week.   The idea of being a Parkrun tourist in another city consumed my thoughts and I researched the Launceston location which fortunately was close to our hotel.   I put a post on the RMA Facebook page to see if any mums ran Launceston Parkrun and within a couple of hours plans were made to meet up for an RMA photo and also to go to the coffee shop afterwards,  now I just had to convince hubby that  we had time to fit Parkrun into our weekend schedule.

I was amazed by the number of RMA ladies that turned up, I think there was about 30 of us at the coffee shop and 1 lone hubby.   We had a lovely hour chatting and swapping race stories as I had just run my first half at the Sydney Blackmore’s.  By the time we had finished coffee friendships were formed and the mums had us talked into returning for the Cadbury half in Hobart and who can resist a chocolate show bag at the finish line.    In the week before the race,  Jane Douglas and I organised our carb loading dinner for the night before at a lovely Italian restaurant in North Hobart and also our carpooling for race day.

On the morning of the race, Jane picked me up at 5am so that we could arrive early and park at the Cadbury factory before the road closures came into effect.   Hubbies and kids were still sleeping and coming together later to watch us come over the finish line.  Fortunately I had taken the advice of the Tassie ladies and bought the VIP package (best $50 ever spent).

We had a pre-race coffee and watched the marathon start at 6am and then the adrenalin started to kick in.  The RMA’s all started arriving and we jumped on the winner’s podium for our photo and I laughed to myself thinking how great that would feel to be up there for real.  I met Carrie Antonello who was down from Melbourne and running her first half.   We dropped our jackets into the VIP tent and made a mad dash for the port-a-loos (the advantage of the VIP is no queues).

The weather was perfect, a lovely cool 120 and we headed to the start line where  Carrie and I positioned ourselves into the middle of the pack.   We did the last minute check of our laces and turned on our Garmins. We chatted to settle our nerves waiting for the start. The gun went off and we were away, Carrie and I stayed together and chatted a bit, I kept checking my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast with the excitement.  It wasn’t too crowded as there are only around 800 runners in the half and 340 in the marathon and once down the hill we managed to spread out and find our own space.

Somewhere around the 2km mark my Garmin’s alarm kept sounding as my heart rate had hit 183 bpm, I slowed a little to get it down and Carrie got away from me but I managed to keep my pace under 6 minutes per km.  I took half a gel at the 4km water station as the next one isn’t until 9 km and I didn’t want to wait until then, it was somewhere after this that the leaders of the marathon were coming back in from their first lap (they do 2 laps of the course) and we clapped and cheered them on.

Another RMA lady and I played tag team for a while, I would pass her and then she would catch me, we chatted a few times and we continued at our own pace. It’s a beautiful course running along the water,  past MONA and then up a hill to cross the Goodwood Rd Bridge for the half way turn.  I was pumped to do 10km in 59.04 a PB.

Half way across the bridge Carrie ran back past me and we high fived and I checked the time and when I got back to that point I calculated that Carrie was 5 minutes  ahead of me so I was thrilled for her,  she was certainly on track and doing amazing for her first half marathon race.  At this point I passed Jane so I knew she was about 5 minutes behind me.  I was so glad to see her and know that she was still going with her Achilles injury.   It was now that I took time to soak in the view and enjoy the scenery. I remembered to take my second gel and stopped at each water station for a drink.

Somewhere around 16 km the male winner of the marathon went past me at a flying pace that made me envious and the spectators erupted around me which spurred me on as I was starting to tire.  The last 3 kms were hard. People I had passed earlier on were now passing me,  my legs started to cramp up on the killer hill at the end and I had to keep telling myself there was coffee and chocolate waiting for me at the finish as well as my amazing hubby and beautiful daughter.   I finished in 2:12:10 down from Sydney’s time of 2:20:59 so I am thrilled with that.

My husband soon after the end of the race said what’s next? I needed to get thinking about the next run. The next goal is to get under 2:10 and also tackle the Gold Coast Marathon in July.    I am sure there will be plenty more RMA ladies at this event next year and I recommend registering early and booking VIP which includes being at the finish line to keep cheering the competitors on as they come over the finish line, breakfast/coffee/massage/hand towel/toilets and of course lots and lots of Cadbury chocolate.

Jan Newbury