At 38 weeks pregnant the entries opened up for the Gold Coast Marathon, an event that I have grown to love over the past 10 years, watching my mum compete and more recently competing in myself, even whilst pregnant.

Gold Coast Marathon 2019 was no different. I was signed up to run the marathon as a birthday present from my mum, almost 7 months post partum.

Since giving birth to our son and in the lead up to lining up on the start line on July 7, I had returned to work fulltime, our eldest child started school, my husband had 3 months off work on parental leave and he had just returned to work that week, plus I was not only training for a marathon, I was training for a 50km trail event in late July. Safe to say, life was busy, routines had changed! Training for the marathon took alot of scheduling, support from the family and super early alarms, (as in a 3am alarm to be running by 4am)!

The last time I ran the Marathon was 2017, and I had finished with a PB of 30minutes, so this event held a special place in my heart. I had an absolutely amazing run that year, everything went right.

Since returning to running from having Quinn I had joined a local running group and I would make sure I made at least one session each week, which was every Wednesday night, Intervals with Noo. The Wednesday before the marathon Noo had asked me about my goal pace and time and shared some marathon wisdom with me, Afterall she had just run a sub 3hour marathon herself with this advice so, I knew she knew her stuff!

The day of the marathon arrived. I was a ball of butterflies and nerves. I’d run this event twice before, but I was so focused on an ultimate goal time. My family reminded me that it’s about the finish line today, nothing else.

Five minutes before we started the sky opened up and poured down rain. We were all wet and cold, but we were all in this together.

As the gun went off the rain eased and I was off, a little faster than I was planning but settled quickly into my goal pace and was absolutely loving the intermittent rain, sunshine and rainbows.

Somewhere along the course my watch GPS had a mishap and was measuring 800m from early on, which can sometimes play on your mind. I just concentrated on staying on pace which I remained consistent with for about 30km.

The 30km mark is a magical spot at the GC marathon, it’s just where you start to see lots of supporters line the streets and you progress through past the start/finish line onto the last 12km, seeing so many friends and having the RMA tent support was amazing.

As I was beginning to fade and cramp in my calf, my amazing husband appeared on the footpath cheering and running along the side encouraging me and reminding me that I was just out for a run and to enjoy the moment. I slowed a fair bit, but was still moving forward

Somewhere around 34km some magical children were handing out frozen Zooper Doopers I had perked up a little. I was still tracking well and it would be a very close run to a PB.

As I entered the final few kilometres before the turn 37km around point the beautiful Mandy Oliver jumped in and ran with me, and helped distract me from what was a pretty big calf cramp.

Just as I neared the turning point I saw my mum who cheekily yelled, CATCH ME!

With 5km to go, or as us runners say, just a parkrun to go, I was filled with drive to not only get to the finish line, but to see if I could catch my mum, which would mean a PB.

These last 5km felt longer than the previous 37km, I had slowed down and the pacer I wanted to stay infront of passed me.

With just over 1km to go I entered the home stretch. This section is lined with supporters and team tents, this part honestly lifted me, I heard so many people calling out encouragement, with 500m to go I looked at my watch and some quick calculations I knew I was on track to a PB, but it would be close. As I passed the RMA tent, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, here I was, just 7 months after having a baby, running the last few hundred metres of a marathon on my way to a personal best.

I entered the finishers shute crossing the line with a 3 minute PB, straight into the arms of my mum (I didn’t catch her!) But we cried, we smiled and hugged. We moved through to where my family was waiting, Quinn beaming with a huge smile thinking my medal was a new teething toy and my daughter, Willow, telling me how proud she was of me for winning a gold medal for running really good and finishing my race.

It was at that moment I knew PB or no PB, those little eyes are always watching and being inspired and they’re the only ones that matter!



Mery x