The Christchurch City 2 Surf was held on a new 14.5km (approx) course, stretching from Pioneer Stadium, along the winding roads next to the Heathcote River, and finishing at Ferrymead Park.
Having run the old course a few times, from Christchurch’s square to QEII, I was interested to see if the new course would live up to the hype and drama of previous races… Overall, I must admit I prefer the new course, as running along the base of the Port Hills provides a nice backdrop for the race, coupled with the fantastic day of weather, the event was near perfect.
For me the Christchurch City 2 Surf was the start of my 3 race buildup phase before racing the Christchurch Marathon in June. Having run 40km the previous Sunday, and completing a very fast rep session of 600m on the Wednesday before the race, it’s safe to say that there was no taper for this footrace.
As the gun went off, Mark Bailey form New Brighton Olympic Athletics Club took the lead, with me following behind in second and Tane Cambridge sitting on me in third. Mark led the pace off extremely fast, going through the first km in close to 2:55. At this stage I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sustain the intensity, as my previous week’s running and lack of taper was racing through my mind. After 5km Mark had established a good lead, running through 5km in just over 15min. Tane was about 30-40m behind Mark, and I was sitting in third 30-40m behind Tane. At this stage I wasn’t feeling too comfortable, but knew I needed to focus on my breathing and rhythm to ensure I didn’t fall off the pace too much. Over the next miles, nothing too exciting happened, the gap between the three of us opened up ever so slightly, but we pretty much kept the same distance apart until the end of the race.
I was stoked that over the last 5km I was sitting very comfortably in third, and was maintaining 3:18s per km easily. I finished third in a solid time of 47:42:00, with Mark winning in 46 flat.
As the City 2 Surf was my first proper race in my build-up I learnt a lot about where I was physically in my build-up cycle, and it helped to reinforce some of the areas I needed to work on.
I’m confident I could have maintained the same pace to 21km on the day, which would give me around a 69min half. Although you often hear athletes rambling about what they ‘coulda’ ‘shoulda’ ‘woulda’ done, I am fairly confident I could have achieved this.
So overall, I was impressed by the event, the quality of athletes, and of-course proud that I was achieving some good results and the hard training was starting to pay off.
Onto the next goal!