Auckland Marathon 2019

With the 12hr done, my last long race of the year is the Auckland Marathon. A very different event. Brutal, but fun.

Two weeks out I had a terrible 10k run, was struggling from the second kilometer. I felt tanked coming up a hilly section and had to button off to walking pace. I ground to a stop at 8 k and had to rest before heading back to the car.

I thought I had no stamia for 10k, let alone 42, until I realised that I hadn’t had lunch that day and was running on a series of 5 hours sleep nights.

Pre race week was supposed to be simple MAF/Zone 4 5k runs to Saturday, but… Wednesday felt really great running with the lads for an estuary lap so did 8k at around 4:43 pace.

Start Line

Shape Shifter, In Colour is playing at full volume and I check my watch is ready and see my heart rate clicking up each second. The starter hooter sounds and we’re off.

About 1300 people behind us and 300 ahead.

Out and up the hills feels fine. Left calf is painful, much like it was at the start of the 12 hr. Put it down to nerves. I miss the first aid station as its a mess of grabbing and pro offered cups.

At Takapuna I think of Greg’s Gel protocol and get my first one in the mouth and stupidly swirl with it. It’s everywhere and my mouth is dry as. I try to crack a joke about our Kipchoge slipstream V pacers being missing and everyone’s too focused.

We chop through the new extra bit – pre Smales Farm and I figure I need water so jostle to the inside. Get a cup of water, get two good sips in but doesn’t feel like enough.

I figure I need a good drink before the bridge, so from Smales to Akoranga I kick slight ahead of the pacer to give myself a clear solid grab on a right side water.

I stay just ahead of him until the bridge, cutting the tangents through the corners to minimise distance.

The Bridge

Pacer says we have time on the bridge and we go over at 5:13 pace and I Croft a few on the way to Shelly Beach road, and push ahead to be clear for the next aid station and have my gel.

I swallow mouthfulls and it works loads better but a little dude who’s fallen of his pace ahead of me heads left, then right, then left, then right for the water table in front of me.

I have to grab both his shoulders to save leapfrogging him or getting buried under the pack bearing down on us. I get clear and grab a Powerade.

We’re good from here out and round the shorter section – missing the tank farm this year and we peel left to some thunderous cheers from volunteers and crowds near Victoria Park.

Onto Quay street and the mental “ticked off the half” hits quite a few. I pick up 40 spots before the 25K. Some were almost hyperventilating and I could feel myself starting to pick up my breath in sympathy.

I start to compose, and have another Gel before the aid station pre Okahu Bay. Felling pretty good. Pace is good. I start to decide what I can shout at Mark and Steffan who I figured I’d see any second coming through with the 3 hour pacers . We get out past Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium and I manage a “Go Ninja” for both and go mate for three others I spot before the turnaround.

I clear the turnaround and there’s no dread yet. I feel it coming into Mission bay and looking at my watch (like a rookie) I think I can let the pacer go a little as I gotta nail this aid station. I get a good grip, clamp, sip, get going and keep rolling.

A few shouts to the 3:45, 4:00 and 4:15 pacers – Super supportive, wonderful people, but why do they have to be people I know and need to respond to. I wasn’t up to talking at that point. I fade slightly and it is this segment that costs me 20 seconds.

I get a second wind here as we approach Hobson Bay and the lights. I chat for 5 minutes up and over the little rise with a South African who talks about the Comrades pacers needing to be a few min ahead so the back of the pacer pack makes it on time. I get a boost as he sounds real fresh and I think we can go for 5 together.

I’m about to ask him and he spurts out “I’m done my legs are dead”. He bails and a whole bunch are tanked in the headwinds and start walking.

I add another 20 to the tally from here to the last aid station where my watch hits 41.6 and I think I’ve got 12 mins to do less than a kilometer on my watch (it can’t be more than 2 course KM surely?). I walk through the last aid station and get a two handed grip on a water then choke on a Powerade.


My heart rate zooms as I try to pick the pace back up and stop coughing blue stuff.

I loose two spots here to guys through the aid station and do what I feels like a sprint from the Council (Vodafone) building to the finish, happy that there’s a good partition between the 21k walkers and those running to finish the marathon this time.


3:31:40 on the clock. 3:31:20 net and 43k on my watch. With a PB to the half I knew I’d struggle to negative split so super happy with this and the fact that my Split rank for my last 4 splits was about 40 – 60 spots ahead of my race rank.


Official Results

Waiting to sign up for next year. 😁

Next steps are:

  • Recover
  • Work on aid station speed and cup skills
  • Time gel intakes better
  • Practice cornering in packs
  • More speed work to increase pace
  • More long runs in practice (106k is long but I didn’t get enough 21+ k runs in before the event)
  • Set next race and targets.

PS. If you’re considering the Auckland Marathon half or full next year. Mark Patterson (Stellar bloke and runner) has a fantastic break down of the first 21.1 Kilometers here:


Sri Chinmoy 12hr Race Report

A departure from marketing and management to record one of my recent passions, running.

In July I was invited to join a group of enthusiastic amateur runners, dads that fit running in around their kids, work and life called the Night Ninjas. The orange and black top, I wear with pride. We may not be Eulid, but we sure as heck give running our all.

Day before

The Friday lunch run saw a gamut of nervous pings, cramps and ankle clicks as I tried to get my 5k in for the day early and get off my feet.  I used memory position number two on the standing desk for the first time for a good 5 of the 8 hours at work. I tried to get off my feet as much as possible.
(Number two = sitting. ‘Cause you know, you stand for number ones, sit for number twos. #dadjokes). 

Also picked up some running shorts with linings as I was worried about chaffing.
I heard an ultra audio book earlier in the week talk about how he borrowed some girl pants to meet the mandatory long pants/thermals gear requirement in Europe and the seam (only in girls pants) nearly cleft his pair in two!   😨

Pre race

Beef brisket for dinner, porridge breakfast and into the car to pick up ice for the chilly bin. Heading down the motorway its spitting on the windscreen. S#@%.  I turn off at Constellation Drive and there’s a hole in the clouds over the track 👍. Apart from 30 seconds mid morning, it didn’t rain at all, a blessing from the chafe spirits.

Pup tent up, chilly bin on, food laid out  👍 I say hi to the crazy old walking fulla while he has his pre race cigarette and puts his Bob Marley wig on. 

A moment’s silence for Sri Chinmoy and transcendental running bookends our preparation.

Race Start

We’re off. I keep with Brad Luiten (fellow Night Ninja, super fast half marathoner in recovery) for the first .004 meters and then let him go. He’s running his own race and all.
I Keep telling myself to slow down. (I know I’m slow, but I knew I needed to be slower to last).  I run a 1 hour 50 minute half. 20 minutes ahead of last year (at the 6 hour event) but think ok, I’ll bank the ks.

A pee stop and three kids purees later, 3:55 marathon. 35 mins up on last year and I feel good. I reward myself with a walk for 3 laps, then run a bit more cause I want the 50 in 5. Done. And then mega urge to pee straight after.

Black Tea

Thought I’d been drinking enough at every 4/5k but its brown like black tea. I start sipping electrolytes every 5 laps, then 3, hoping I can clear things up – literally.  
I try to run but feel like I’m going to pee myself. I decide to walk it off and see what happens. Drinking electrolytes every lap helps.

About here I unlapped myself one lap from Brad, once. Was awesome to have him giving me a pat on the shoulder every now and then as he passed, but he’d put in a massive effort and buttoned off, just for that bit, as he hit 60k.

He picked it back up (too fast for me). I eat a kids custard. 
Thomas Watson had slowed enough by now that I tagged onto him to get to 60 kilometers in 6 hour. He’s tall so we took turns as wind breaks for each other, good chat.

Thanks to Daniel , Oscar, Stu-Pj , Richard, Gene and Stuart,  with encouragement, Ninja TV, Pies and Jellytips which all gave energy or motivation to run harder.  👍

65k in I take a long lap for third Kumara and mash and a relieving-ly clear pee. I feel the two toe blisters starting to move around and squishing. Cramp spray every 4k turns to every 4 laps. It’s not working, I start marching.

I call my wife to check on her and kids, while i start to march a few laps.I tell her I’ll be here ‘til at least 10:30pm as I run the numbers and start to doubt I’ll finish in time.

I Get emotional.

Why the heck did I do 12hs?

Turns out he was a real rabbit.

I’m tired. Maybe if I can’t make 100 in 12, I can lap the outside till I get it done, maybe. I said I’d be home around 10:30pm, right?

I see this bunny on the grass inside the track.

I Ignore him. Laps later, he’s still there.

I try and work out if I’m ahead of the female 12 hour racers. It takes me 6 laps to see that on the scoreboard. I realise that I haven’t been acknowledging my counters. S#%, did they get me those last laps? (they did).

Then a lady in front sees the bunny too.  I tell her I’ll take a picture to see if it’s real.

It is.

Dunno if I can, need rest.

75k I eat the pie Richard brought me. Can feel the vegan Sri Chinmoy-ers envy/disdain.
Mince is awesome. Pastry lines my mouth, dry. I down three cokes, sorted.

Might get the 100

I test the legs, cramps still there at top of calves, bottom of hamstrings but I want to see if it flares up or is just bearable. I start doing the maths on marching it out to 100k. I’m gonna fall short, heel blisters squish, but don’t want waist time checking them. I’m thinking: the march is working, speed up a little, keep moving.

If I sit down. I won’t get up. Like those guys there, who were sitting the last three lap.

Can’t do this

The cramps start to ping on long strides.
I try to run a couple, walk a couple around 88 , 90 and 92. Cramps get unbearable with any speed. I’m on pace by my watch but short on lap count by two, I think. I take a gel. March hard. Take 3x the RDA of cramp spray. Take another gel 6 laps later as the first tasted good. 

100k – It’s on

I get a lap count and need ten to get the 100.
Gene counts me in from five and I risk pace. Cramps are building but bearable. I run the final three laps, then and 2 kilometers more to get it done. Who cares if I pop blisters now.

I land after the burpee and kneel for a second. I catch my breath and realise I’m done. I get happy its over. Everything hurts. The cramps are now in my abs, lats, quads, hammys, calves and toes.

Blisters all busted I swagger over to the finish and celebrate.

I then spend 45 mins packing up the tent and gear like 102 is my age.

Sunday. Jandal 5k

I jalk (Jog and walk) out 1.5 kilometers after warming u with a 3 kilometer walk with the kids in jandals to keep my running streak.  
Monday, a slow 5k and its back to #5keveryday and thinking of what’s next 😃