|Getting a lesson in descending from the Europeans. Photo Philipp Reiter.|
|Checking out the area with Ian Corless. Photo Philipp Reiter.|
|Course recce. Photo Philipp Reiter.|
Later that morning after a restless sleep, I managed to track down Martin Matthes who was registered to do the marathon and together we traveled to race central. At the registration desk they were a little confused as to why I had registered for the 80km (which I should have already been running) and was now registering for the 40km. I was a bit embarrassed to say the least. They must think Australian's are crazy. So after receiving a new race number Martin and I boarded the bus and headed to the start line at Pian delle Fugazze. At least I was going to race today.
The marathon course measured 40km with 2500m of climbing and starts halfway along the Trans d'Havet 80km course. It was also in the same area that I had been running in the days leading up to the event so I was confident as to what lay ahead. The bus drove up the mountain side and deposited us up top, so all the big climbs on the course had been removed. It essentially became a downhill race. The field for this race wasn't particularly big, so when the race began I wasn't swamped by a crowd of over enthusiastic runners. With the late start time of 9am and the warm morning temperature everyone seemed to be content to start off conservatively.
|Trans d'Havet 80km Course Profile.|
When we got to the top of the climb it opened up to some lovely views across the valleys and we soon descended into some paddocks that led us to our first aid station (7km) and the beginning of the next mega climb. This was the toughest part of the race. My pace had been slowed to around 20min/km. The grade of the ascent was so steep I kept slipping backwards but so was everyone else. It was hard work me, it must have been harder for those doing the 80kms. When we got to the top we were teased with a slight down hill before another huge climb to the next aid station. From this point most of the hard work had been done and it was mainly a 30km run downhill with are few shorter climbs thrown in. This downhill section was beautiful running and the views were amazing. We stayed up high undulating and weaving around the mountains for around 16km before starting to descend towards the finish line. The descent was steep and rocky and every time I looked down it seemed I was no closer to the bottom.
|There were some flat sections to run. Photo by Alice Maddalena.|
I was happy to finish in a time of 4:52:44. I think I managed to run all the frustration and some of the disappointment out of my system before finishing. Martin did well finishing in a time of 4:28:04 and bagging 4th place in the process.