Canberra Marathon and AURA 50km Race Report

In planning my build up to the Comrades Marathon, I was looking at doing a fairly solid 50km run about six weeks out from the actual Comrades. I searched the Coolrunnings Calendar and found the Canberra Marathon, which incorporated the AURA 50km (Australian Ultra Runners Association).

The format was for those who were running the 50km to run and receive a time for the actual Canberra Marathon, and then push on for a further 8km to make up the balance. This was perfect as I was going to use it as a long training run with aid stations, something which I had not done in the past, but perfect as a practice run for my end goal, the Comrades Marathon.

Also, my wife Kirsten and her friend Julie from Townsville had trained since January to run the Canberra Marathon. Both debut marathoners, the build up and preparation for Canberra was all about them. And rightly so.

As a result of the change in focus and the fact that this was not my race, I was extremely relaxed at the start. I started with the girls at the back of the field in close proximity to the 4 hour 15 minute balloon (pacer). As the race got going I soon found my rhythm despite cold conditions. Coming from Cairns, I wore a full length skins top, gloves and a beanie. The gloves and beanie were removed at 10km, but the skins top stayed on for the full 50km.

I decided to put some effort into the marathon with the plan being to back it off for the last 8km of the 50km. Although I wasn't running at 100% race pace for fear of a slow post marathon recovery, I still managed to keep it at an uncomfortable sub-4 minute per km pace. I ran through the marathon time check in 2 hours 48 minutes and then slowed right down to run the remaining 8km. By slowing down and using the 8km almost as active recovery, I felt fantastic after the race. I finished with an overall time of 3 hours 27 minutes.

Back on the plane that afternoon and back to Cairns for another big week of training. My final week before the dreaded taper.

Would a fast fifty be detrimental to my Comrades day? It is too late to worry now - I will find out in five weeks and 60km time.

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