Melbourne Marathon “5km”

Well, I ran strongly today, felt good all the way and finished over five and a half minutes inside my 5km PB. Now all this would be great, and cause for celebrations, if the actual course presented today was actually 5km. In fact, it was closer to 4km, by my Garmin it was 3.96km and by Jays Garmin it was 4.03km. So, instead of feeling really good about a great run, I’m extremely pissed off with the race “organisers” (and I use that term loosely too). The course we ran was exactly as described in the course description (which I just re-read) and the map from the Garmin looks just like the advertised course map. How could a supposedly reputable organisation get the course distance wrong by 20%? I have sent them an appropriately worded email asking for an explanation and to ask them what the official course distance was.

Melbourne Marathon 5km
So, the day. Firstly, the conditions couldn’t have been better. I arrived in plenty of time and had a bit of a warm-up run and stretch. About half an hour before the start people started lining up in the start area, including many who were obviously not going to run at any pace, and many with some very young children. Why, people? Why do you do this? I ended up 20 or 30 rows back, and actually lined up right next to my sister-in-laws sister and her husband who I hadn’t seen in a while.

The first 0.5km was crowded and spent dodging slower runners, but after that I just settled into a nice pace. I was quite comfortable all the way round, not really feeling any “pain” until hitting the wooden footbridge that leads up to the William Barrack Bridge. Up here I started to feel my legs, but once over the top felt good again. By now, with the MCG in view I was started to query the distance. The final lap around the MCG was good and comfortable, but when I crossed the line and just after the “Lap 04″ signal beeped on my Garmin, I realised we’d been severely short-changed. There is no way I can run 5km in 17:37.

I’d been aiming to run at 4:30 min/km, and ended up at 4:27 min/km, with splits of 4:27, 4:22, 4:29 & 4:31. I know that if the race distance had of been as advertised I had another kilometre at that speed in me, so it would have been a PB day. Alas, not to be.

From there the day got better with some very pleasant time spent over a few beers and some chips with Jay, Cilla, Shells, Lee and an assortment of other CoolRunners.

Well done to all the marathoners today, and to Deb (my weekday running partner) who smashed her HM PB. Watching all the marathoners today, and seeing the pain on their faces, has made me realise how much I want to do it again. Hopefully 2010. Jay has also almost convinced to try the Tan Ultra next year. All of this of course is going to depend on the knee (which seems fine after today).

Bill, to answer your question from the other day, I am an IT Manager for an American-based multi-national, so the late night meetings are teleconferences during the US working day.

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10 Responses to “Melbourne Marathon “5km””

  1. sassycil Says:

    yes it was a bit of a shit! I wish they had kilometre markers.

  2. sassycil Says:

    would have been a pb for me too!

  3. Bill Wallace Says:

    4km! oh dear! :( That is quite poor.

    Andrew, late night VCs are the pits. I don’t do them but sometimes get invites to HR stuff like. But never at 1 and 2am!

  4. canute1 Says:

    Well done. Understandably frustrating but well done all the same.

  5. Chris Says:

    That’s pretty bad if an official event like that is “short”. In the UK I believe sanctioned races need to get a licence, part of which involves certifying the distance – if something similar in Oz, you could try complaining to the governing body. Alternatively, your local “trading standards” might help prevent this happening again!

  6. Jess Says:

    Hey there… my friend and I thought exactly the same thing.. we were excited by our “Fast” times then actually thought about it more and realised perhaps it wasn’t a full 5km – it certainly didn’t feel like it. I am angry that such a well-run event (usually) could make a mistake like this! I copied the run out on mapmyrun.com and it was around 4.2 km.

  7. JH Says:

    Did you see yourself quoted in the age? http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2009/10/12/1255195736689.html

  8. Andrew Says:

    After reading that I think someone needs to calibrate their bike computer! Anyways, congrats on a strong run and I’m really glad to hear your knee is holding up well.

  9. Lisa Says:

    HHmmm…well the organisers obviously knew this beforehand and should have advertised it as such. In which case since we paid for it, we have been mislead, and it was false advertising. I think I’ll look into what can be done about this. It’s a really poor effort by them and I agree with previous comments, I wont be participating in this “fun run” again. It wouldn’t have taken much to advise people of the correct distance. This was my first “5k” run, and I was hoping to have a time after this that I could work against for the future. Now I have no idea, what a waste of money!

  10. Lisa Says:

    Well obviously it wasn’t a waste of money as some of it goes to charity, but my point is that I didn’t get out of the event what I wanted, which was a time for doing 5k. I’ll just have to wait for the next run that comes around and hope that they do the right thing.

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