Newcastle Herald Hill to Harbour Half Marathon

Category: Road Events

When life gives you lemons, you go running!  Not that I'm one to complain but life's thrown some freakin' mammoth sized lemons at me in the last month that have really been a big blow both spiritually, mentally and physically.  In any case, I'm so thankful to have a hobby that keeps me fit in all those regards so this event was one I had really been looking forward to.  Plus the fact that a few guys from my church were running so I had to try and beat them.


I arrived at the event about 6am and it was rather warm and quite humid, even though it was mid autumn.  All good, though, suited me fine.  I'd rather be warm than frozen!  Heading over to the toilets I could hear a man yelling all sorts of gibberish so I thought best go take a look.  Turns out it was some homeless looking drunk/junkie blowing up about being arrested yesterday and held at the police station for over 8hrs.  He certainly had a fair set of lungs on him for 6am in the morning!  I had a little giggle and went for a couple kilometre warm–up run.


Running around slowly just to warm up I felt quite sombre and yet happy.  It was a really confusing state of mind.  I just wanted to get running and really clear my head.  Soon enough, I got my wish.  Hearing the race marshal call everyone to the line I though I'd better get in there and hussle for a starting position!  A few seconds later we were off and running.


Out of the start gate we headed down towards Honeysuckle.  Running past all the pubs here just makes me want to stop and have a few sneaky ones, even though it was only 7am!  Back on track, we turned a little past Honeysuckle and made our way back up through the foreshore and out the breakwall.  This is the one part I hate.  I swear the breakwall just keeps going and going.


Now with the breakwall out of the way it was a nice winding run around Newcastle beach and up through King Edward Park.  This part always knocks the wind out of me but I was holding a pretty good pace at 5:00 per/km so no love lost.  Over the top of the hill I was able to get my breath back heading down Memorial Drive and turning around at Empire Park.  Now to head back up Memorial Drive...


Heading back up Memorial Drive is always the hardest part of the course.  It's an incline the whole way so there's no opportunity to get your breath back.  Nearing the top I was getting pretty exhausted but kept it together enough to summit and wind back down King Edward Park.


I knew the mates from church were a few minutes behind me but what I didn't know was how much training they had done and how strong they would finish so I just kept pressing on at a 5:00 pace and hoped that would be enough.


Only a couple short kilometres later we were winding back around Newcastle beach and back out the breakwall for a second time.  There was a fairly strong breeze but the high humidity and heat made it tough going.  I was really pleased to turn and start heading back in off the breakwall.


With only a couple kilometres to go I was feeling pretty knackered.  Heading to Honeysuckle again the mind games began and knocked me around a bit but it was time to dig deep and get it done.


Making the final turn at Honeysuckle I only had 2kms to go, which was great.  Now being the first race for the year I was way off record speed and really struggling.  I started to drop a bit of pace but kept reminding myself I only had a little to go.  Now with the finish in sight I got a final boost of energy and finished in a good stride but most importantly, beat the church mates.


After grabbing some oranges and water I headed back to the finish gate to welcome the church mates through.  One came in only a couple minutes later in a really good time.  I soon learned this was his first half marathon so he really put in a cracking effort.  The second mate took a little longer, and then a little longer, and then we were starting to think, oh, he must have blown up and he's walking.  Next minute we see two people carrying our mate down the finish chute with his legs barely working.  There was an enormous cheer from the crowd and a call for a paramedic from the race staff.  No need to worry, though, a few sport's drinks later he had colour in his face again.  Pretty sure he wasn't preaching that night...


Such a great day and such a great home event.  Great way to start of the running year.  Next up is the Winery Running Festival.  Still not sure if I'm going for the half or full marathon, I'll be training for a full but see how we go.  Could be a very late entry decision.  See how we go!


Race day stats:

Distance: 21.1 km
Time: 1:49:23
Avg Pace: 5:08 min/km
Elevation Gain: 228 m
Calories: 1,846 C