A quick update here between currywurst and crepes…
Temperature was perfect, wind was nothing I should complain about (but I probably will). Course was flat. Crowds were good.
The pacers were set for 65:00 through half, roughly 3:05/km. After a few km it was apparent that our pack was pretty big, perhaps close to 20(?).
The first 5km was a bit slow (15:32), which made sense why I felt so relaxed.
From 5km to 10km I thought I might be in trouble today because it felt really fast. We ran that 5k in 15:12, which made me excited that we were now under pace and we could slow down to 15:20-15:25 and it would feel easier.
We reached halfway in 1:04:57. I felt great and was pumped that I didn’t need to run faster the second half to hit my goal.
Just after halfway some guy in our pack was complaining to the rabbits that we were running too fast. Michael Shelley told him we were perfect. He complained some more. Scott Overall said we were right on pace. He kept complaining to the pacers. Being the closest to him I yelled in his ear “WE’RE PERFECT!!” He kept quiet after that. If it’s too fast then drop back.
At 25km we were only 6 seconds off the pace and I realized that we can’t keep sliding like this or 2:09 will be lost. Slide some more we did as one of our two pacers dropped out.
Whenever the pacers went too slow a car would pull up and tell the pacers the previous km split. The car pulled up and said “3:07”. Because 23km to 29km is slightly uphill I wasn’t worried with a 3:07 knowing we could run some 3:03’s when the road went downhill.
Then a 3:08. OK, just relax.
Then a 3:11. At that point I ran shoulder to shoulder with the pacer in order to let him know to pick it up. I told the Kenyan pacer, in Swahili, to run a little faster.
Still, another 3:08.
Then I pushed the pace again and he got the point and ran a bit quicker, but maybe not for too long. We ran 25km to 30km in 15:39, 14 seconds slower than ideal and now 20 seconds behind schedule. If I kept losing 14 seconds every 5km I wouldn’t even crack 2:11 (if my post-marathon brain can do math properly).
The pacer dropped at 30km and I took over the pacing duties creating a small gap on the rest of the pack. I was ready to be aggressive, nothing to lose with the 2:11:24 under my belt from Rotterdam earlier this year.
There was a little bit of wind so when a couple guys caught back up I was OK to tuck in. It didn’t last long though as I felt the pace lag so I took off on my own again.
From 30-35km I ran 15:18 which clawed back 7 seconds. If I did that again perhaps I could get the remaining 6-7 seconds in the last 2.2km. I had to commit and fight the doubts clouding my thoughts.
Around 35km two guys caught up to me. I saw a bright yellow singlet and assumed it was Michael Shelley (2014 Commonwealth marathon champ and 14th(?) at 2012 Olympics). However it was Koen Naert, a young Belgian friend who was running his 2nd marathon(!). We worked together and dropped the Japanese athlete. I sat behind him a bit to get some respite from the wind here and there.
At 40km (2:03:43) I realized I had lost time again running the previous 5km in 15:35. At that point my main motivation was to run a PB and run the second fastest Canadian marathon time ever. It was also cool knowing I was in 6th or 7th.
Coming into the finish I could see the clock and the time was under the Canadian record. It was an indescribable feeling that over the course of 42,200m I just needed to be 120m up the road to break the Canadian record.
I crossed the line in 6th place running 2:10:29, 20 seconds off the Canadian record and 30 seconds off my main goal.
I’m happy running a PB, it’s been 4 years since I ran 2:10:55. I was really happy with 6th place in this race, especially when I look at the guys who beat me. I’m also happy with how I closed, 6:45 for the last 2.2km.
It’s frustrating to have missed the record by .5 seconds/km. A lot of things went right for me: the build-up, staying healthy, weather, good pacing/competitors… Not many things went against me although those are the things that have been popping into my head since finishing (bad pacing 25-30km and having to lead a lot in the last 14km).
I’ll take the positives and use this as a step in the right direction heading into an Olympic year.
A few people have asked if I’ll chase a 2:09 before the Olympics and I’m 99.9% sure that I won’t. I don’t want to take too many or any big risks leading into Rio. I’m excited for the next phase which is a great place to be in a few hours after a marathon when your legs are telling you “no”.
Pos. number Name ac club Erw. Diff Time
1 Kipchoge, Eliud (KEN) M30 Kenia +00:00 02:04:00
2 Kiptanui, Eliud (KEN) MH Kenia +01:21 02:05:21
3 Lilesa, Feyisa (ETH) MH ETH +02:57 02:06:57
4 Mutai, Emmanuel (KEN) M30 Kenia +03:46 02:07:46
5 Mutai, Geoffrey (KEN) M30 Kenia +05:29 02:09:29
6 Coolseat, Reid (CAN) M35 Canada +06:28 02:10:28
7 Naert, Koen (BEL) MH Belgium +06:31 02:10:31
8 Shegumo, Yared (POL) M30 Polen +06:47 02:10:47
9 Gokaya, Koji (JPN) MH Japan +06:58 02:10:58
10 Overall, Scott (GBR) M30 GBR +07:24 02:11:24