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Looking Back: 2016 Tokyo Marathon

Looking Back: 2016 Tokyo Marathon

I can’t believe that the 2016 Tokyo Marathon is now over, and I am sitting on my couch writing my race report. I found out on September 15th that I was selected to participate. I entered the lottery in August, not knowing what would happen. The odds were not in my favor. I remember reading an article months before that said the Tokyo Marathon was one of the hardest marathons to get into. I was shocked when the email came. I screamed when I read it. I prayed that I would get in, and I did! But of course actually pulling the trigger wasn’t an easy decision after that. There were multiple discussions like “Can we afford this?” or “Is this wise to do when we’re trying to save for other stuff, or pay other bills?” and “Do we have the time to take off from work?”

I naturally began to wonder if my goals of traveling all over the world to run marathons were selfish, and not in the best interest of my family. I made a goal after running the Chicago Marathon in 2011 that I wanted to run all of the World Marathon Majors. Getting into Tokyo would get me one step closer to my goal. So it seemed serendipitous that I got in. But still, I didn’t know if it was the “smart” thing to do. After many discussions and my personal consultation with my “crew”, we decided to go. My friend Susan told me that the timing will never be perfect, and to go now if we can. My husband is incredibly supportive. He loves that I have all these goals, and he wants me to achieve them. And he wants to be there with me every step of the way.

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

— Paulo Coelho

So there you have it! We booked our flights and headed off to Japan. I wrote a separate post on our travels to Japan (click here), along with pictures of where we went and what we did. I also give restaurant suggestions. I think that post will be beneficial for anyone traveling to Japan. It provides some travel tips, but this post is all about the race itself and my experience running the Tokyo Marathon.

PLEASE NOTE: There are MANY useful scanned documents located in the TOKYO MARATHON icon on my main home page. After you finish reading this report, please refer to those documents for more helpful information. These are the race documents for the 2016 race. The 2017 race documents will be different, as the course has slightly changed. But you will find important rules, and aid station information there. 

The Expo!

The Tokyo Marathon Expo and Packet-Pickup took place at the Tokyo Big Sight (where the race finished. ***NOTE: FOR THE 2017 RACE THE FINISH WILL BE IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION). Before we went inside, the Tokyo Food Festival was taking place outside. This was the best thing that could have happened to us that day. We went Friday afternoon to avoid the crowds, but we forgot to eat breakfast so we were cranky. Seeing the little vendors and smelling the perfectly balanced merge of Japanese cuisine was divine; it was a mini paradise. After we ate, we entered the expo in a better mood. We were now ready to enter a marathoners version of heaven. Runners were only allowed in the packet pickup area. I was asked to show my ID a couple times. Everything was very organized and secure. There were several volunteers who spoke English, so I never felt confused. There was also an “overseas runner” booth. It was a seamless process. After I got my packet I met my husband and we worked our way through the maze. I took pictures and grabbed a bunch of free products. I sampled stuff and played a couple games for coveted prizes that I didn’t win. The Tokyo Marathon official merchandise store was small, and a little crowded. I was surprised at how small it actually was. But little did I know there was more stuff on a different level. I bought Tokyo Marathon brand chopsticks and arm warmers. Other levels at the expo had more merchandise from Asics to New Balance and other top brands. My clear plastic bag for bag check was filled with my purchases and free items. It was a great expo to say the least. Tip: If you are running the Tokyo Marathon, go on Thursday or Friday and avoid Saturday if you can.

 

Starting Line

There were some words that were spoken in Japanese over the loudspeaker (I have no clue what they announced) followed by the introduction of the Elite runners and wheelchair participants. A song was sung in Japanese, possibly the national anthem? Then the starting gun went off. I believe it was 10-15 min before we were able to actually start.

Some key things along the course:

Bathrooms

The portable toilets are very frequent, and there is a volunteer holding a sign that announces the bathroom coming up and how far away the next one is. So the sign will say: “Exit here for the bathroom now, or next one is 1.2 miles away”, for example. Cool right? Every toilet area has a couple volunteers who will guide and place you in line. They manage the line and flow. Again, you will have to squat when using most toilets. There were “western style” toilets, but not as frequent. No hand sanitizer or soap/water to wash your hands is available. Near major sights like the Imperial Palace there were “real” bathrooms. So you can always divert from the course and use them if that makes a difference. The one thing that stood out to me was that every toilet line was always long. Some races you will find shorter lines eventually, but not at this race. We stopped twice to use the bathroom, and the lines both times were long. Expect a bathroom stop to add 10-15 minutes on to your time. I do commend this race on having volunteers stationed at each toilet area.

Course Fuel and Food

Pocari Sweat and water are the beverages offered along the course. Pocari Sweat I learned has MSG in it (I had no clue. I should have done my research ahead of time!) Read about it. Know what is offered before running just in case you need something else. Unfortunately you cannot carry your own water bottles in. I believe you can take in unopened commercial products, like bottled water that has a seal on it. Please check the official rules. I scanned the ‘course restrictions’ document and it is located in the Tokyo Marathon icon on my home page. We did see runners with Camelbak hydration packs on. I am guessing they put their empty hydration packs in their checked bags, went through security (metal detectors), and then filled them up later? I mentioned a product in an earlier post, the Salomon S-lab Sense Hydro Set (a handheld collapsible hydration flask). You can add your electrolyte tablet or powder to water and mix in this flask after the race starts. There also were bananas and tomatoes along the course. The bananas were full sized which was nice. You peel them yourself. Volunteers did wear gloves when handling food, for those health conscious individuals. I carried my own gels and chews in my SPI belt, so the only thing I needed was water and Pocari sweat.

Volunteers

There are volunteers everywhere! They have volunteers organizing the bathroom stops, and ones holding garbage bags along the course. The water stops have plenty of volunteers handing out water and cheering you on. They were simply amazing. They always had a smile on their face, and they were extremely polite. The volunteers make this race wonderful. Even at the family meet up/baggage pick-up area the volunteers would congratulate runners. I saw someone post a video of them clapping in sync as runners picked up their bags. I can’t thank the volunteers enough for all their help in making this an amazing and successful race. Volunteers wear different color jackets which mean certain things. I can’t remember what each color represents, but I do know the green jackets meant the volunteer could speak English. At the Expo you will see a display of what each color jacket means.

Volunteers. THANK YOU! They were so awesome. I spotted a doctor running as well. He was a medical volunteer on the course.

 

The Course

The course is very flat. There were a few bridges (near the end) with slight elevation. It wasn’t bad though. I think if you were racing, they would be slightly annoying since they are located near the end. But for my friend Brian and myself, they were a change of pace.

***UPDATED: The 2017 course is different than what I ran. Please click here for the updated 2017 course. More details on the 2017 course can be found here.

A view at mile 22-23. You can see how many people there still were on the course. And I was not running fast. I finished in 5:20? 

A view at mile 22-23. You can see how many people there still were on the course. And I was not running fast. I finished in 5:20? The course includes a couple “out and backs” which have the potential to mess with you if you’re racing. Running out when people are returning can get frustrating and play tricks on you. The turn-around seemed far away, but know in advance at what mile you will turn around and you’ll be fine. I personally didn’t find them to be terrible.

Brian and myself on the course. Cherry blossoms! Tomatoes that were part of the food offered on the course. I actually enjoyed them!

Brian (a fellow Headsweats Ambassador) and myself on the course. Cherry blossoms! Tomatoes that were part of the food offered on the course. I actually enjoyed them!

The course goes past the major sights of Tokyo including the Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Fish Market, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Ginza Ave, Tokyo Museum, etc. (in no particular order). It really is the best way to see all of Tokyo by foot! I was surprised at how close the course was to Sensoji Temple (see picture above). We went to that temple the day before, but we didn’t even need to because it was right there on the course!

Course limit: The course limit is 7 hours and there are checkpoints along the way. Make sure to know ahead of time what they are.

 

Medical Aid: Medical aid was offered at various locations along the course. Please consult the runner handbook for where they will be located and what they offer, if you will be running the Tokyo Marathon. I did see medical runners (doctors wearing vests) along the course as well! I am a medical runner for a couple different local races, and it was nice to see this service being offered elsewhere!

Crowds

The crowds also were my favorite. There were people everywhere! I believe the runner handbook says 1.5 million spectators. And they cheered their hearts out. They even knew one or two phrases in English to cheer us on. And they LOVED high-fiving everyone. I ended up high fiving everyone because it was just fun and they got so excited. There were many forms of entertainment along the course as well. There were groups of dancers with music. I am sure there is a formal name for them, but I don’t know what it is. There were dancers with flags, children dancing, people banging on drums, everything! I’ve never seen anything like it. They took it so seriously and it seemed like they were so honored to entertain the runners. I practically stopped at every group to take a picture. It was beautiful. Simply beautiful. One reason I don’t listen to music while running a marathon is to soak it all in. Complete strangers come out on their day off to cheer me on. The entertainers are there to entertain. Why would I block all that out by listening to music? I love hearing the crowds and being aware of what’s going on, especially when I’m in a different country. You don’t need music on this course. Soak up the experience. Be present. Enjoy the gift of running. Tune-in to the music the crowds are making.

Many runners wore fun costumes, and that is entertaining as well. My favorite was a guy playing a Ukulele while singing to his “Bride”. We saw Super Mario, Waldo, Tomatoes, Pokémon, Winnie the Pooh, monkeys, and more!


The Finish

As stated before the finish is at the Tokyo Big Sight. After you cross the finish, you are given a towel (better than a foil blanket!) and a finisher’s medal. You are given a bag of food, water, and a Salonpas pain spray that was valuable! You have to walk a bit after collecting your freebees to get to the family meet-up and bag collection area, which always is exhausting after running 26.2 miles. But with over 35,000 finishers I don’t think they could do it any other way. I maybe walked a half mile back to the family meet-up spot, but it felt like 2 miles since I had a blister that popped and I was in pain. Everything is very organized as expected. Because the end is at the Tokyo Big Sight (like a convention center), there are normal bathrooms and showers inside. There is also a Starbucks inside for the coffee lovers. I saw people getting massages and I’ve heard rumors of acupuncture. My little toe had a blister and ingrown toenail, so I had a bloody shoe and needed to go to medical after I finished. I missed out on the massage. I also felt bad keeping my husband waiting. I quickly went through that area and met up with him. Ending at the Big Sight was nice because if the weather was bad (which it wasn’t), being indoors would be helpful. Luckily the weather was warm; it was in the 60’s.

You may want to change your clothes, eat a little something and rest before walking to the metro. Or even get a massage.

Enjoy the after party!

 

Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita, どうもありがとうございました

-Jill Monroe

A Race Experience Abroad – The Amsterdam Marathon

A Race Experience Abroad – The Amsterdam Marathon

Running is such an amazing sport because it constantly introduces you to new people and places. Headsweats Ambassador Kim Cowart experienced this first-hand when she had the opportunity to race in the Amsterdam Marathon earlier this month. Read more about Kim’s experience in Amsterdam and what she learned from racing in another country!

My three passions in life are running, writing and traveling.  My dream is to combine all three writing about my running adventures in far away places.  My most recent adventure was at the Amsterdam Marathon.

What set this race apart from so many other big races is there were three races in one day: the full marathon, a half-marathon and an 8K.  The day before the race, we took part on the Good Morning City run which was an easy jog through Amsterdam.  Four miles later we had a better idea of the layout of the city and had already seen many of the highlights.

Because the streets in Amsterdam are quite narrow, the start times were staggered.  Full marathoners began at 9:30.  The course was a loop course, starting and finishing in Olympic Stadium.  Spectators dotted the stand above, giving them full views of all the action on the track.

The energy was electric with music pumping at the start, and big screens around the stadium so we could see the elites take off.  Five minutes after they began, I crossed the same start line.

Amsterdam is the most beautiful European city I’ve ever seen.  The weather was a perfect 50 degrees with plenty of shade from the gorgeous trees lining every street.  The half marathon course follows most of the full course.  The advantage of the full marathoners is we got to run around the Amstel River which offered the most scenic, bucolic views.  Horses running across the fields, sheep grazing in the pasture.  Yes, we even ran by a few iconic windmills.  I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all real.

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A view from the race course.

While this is only my second European marathon experience, I have traveled to numerous other big marathons like New York and Boston.  Here are a few points that set Amsterdam apart from the rest of the pack.

First, the race is cheap.  At around $80, this race is by far the cheapest big city race I’ve ever run.  By comparison I paid over $250 to run New York and $180 to run Boston.  Half marathoners only paid $45 to run through the streets of Amsterdam.  The support didn’t suffer; in fact, it was even better than some of the bigger races with plenty of water, energy drink, food and bathrooms along the course.

Second, there was music at every kilometer along the race.  I didn’t know what a difference this would make in my mood until around the 10K mark I realized I was starting to look forward to the bands and DJ’s that dotted the course.  A marathon is 42 kilometers.  So, yes, there were 42 music stations to keep us pumped and it worked.

Third, we started and finished in Olympic Stadium.  Not only was it just plain cool to run around the stadium, but it made it easy for spectators to cheer on their runners.

Fourth, there were a variety of distances to choose from.  Most big city races limit themselves to the full marathon, and for good reason.  Logistically it’s difficult to close down the streets on a Saturday or Sunday.  Accommodating tens of thousands of runners can be a challenge as well.  But Amsterdam made it happen.  By staggering the start times, more than 35,000 people ran either the full marathon, half marathon or 8K.

Finally, the views were spectacular.  It was like running through a postcard.  Every turn offered stunning views of canals and tree-lined streets.  While many streets are cobblestone, we avoided most of that.  My legs were grateful.

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With my finisher’s medal!

It wasn’t all roses.  I was disappointed at the finish line offerings.  The only food at the finish was bananas.  There was water, but only in little cups.  There was also plenty of Isostar, their energy drink of choice, but my stomach did not agree, so we declined.  There were food trucks, but I wasn’t willing to spend money on them.  They did distribute free toothpaste, so there’s that.  I would recommend packing some extra food in your drop bag.  I didn’t and I lived to regret it.

Also, more than 16,000 runners ran the full marathon.  European streets are narrow.  This makes for a tricky start.  I had no intention of racing, so I was fine with going with the flow.  There is an attempt to organize runners by pace at the beginning, but they aren’t strict about it so there were quite a few people who started at the front and slowed the crowd.  It wasn’t until mile 10 I felt I could find a comfortable stride.

My last complaint would be transportation.  We did a dry run on the busses to the stadium, only to wake up race morning to find the busses were shut down.  Not even the concierge at our hotel knew that would happen, so we scrambled to find a taxi that could get us somewhat close to the stadium.  Getting back to the hotel after was tricky, too.  We walked quite a ways until we could find a tram to the hotel.  I ran with some money just in case, and I was glad I did.

Overall I loved the Amsterdam Marathon.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love the diversity.  I loved the energy.  I loved the beauty.  This flat course is well-worth your money.

Headsweats Ambassador ‘GingerMantra’ Tackles her First Marathon

Headsweats Ambassador ‘GingerMantra’ Tackles her First Marathon

“I want to be stronger, I want to be healthier and I want to be a better athlete”

On Sunday February 23rd, Headsweats Ambassador Tambra Means, aka ‘Ginger Mantra,’ ran her first marathon in Jacksonville, FL at the 26.2 with Donna to Finish Breast Cancer. Everyone’s first marathon is a huge milestone – one we all remember because it empowers us to realize we’re capable of so much more. It fuels our spirit to sign up for another race, an even longer one, and pushes our muscles and minds to go farther. In her own words, here’s a play-by-play of Tambra’s first-ever marathon:

TambraMeansThe race weekend started like most, we hit the road early to get to the Expo that would be held at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, to pick up our race day packets and bibs and checkout the other Expo offerings by running gear companies that were there. We arrived shortly after lunch on Saturday and headed straight to grab our packets and I was excited to see my fellow #RunDONNA Ambassador Marcia before heading into the exhibit hall. Note – My Race Recap 2 will be coming next week which I will highlight my amazing opportunity as one of the 2014 #RunDONNA Ambassadors. This race had been my first half marathon, which I ran in February of 2013 and I really loved the display of support for breast cancer patients and families that they offer for runners to be a part of. There are huge signs that are relocated on race day to the Memorial Mile on Jacksonville Beach and also a large garbage truck painted pink that we all get to sign and it is parked along the course. Sometimes the things we see are a bit emotionally overwhelming, but they bring out the huge heart of all the runners in our communities.

PreMarathon

Inclement weather prevented me from finishing my 26.2 miles and we were stopped at mile 24 and bussed to the finish. Though I was just 2 miles shy of my completing my first marathon, I learned much about myself and know what I need to work on to be prepared to finish my next marathon. I am still searching for that special race and hope to be able to check “marathon” off my bucket list in 2014!

Read more about Tambra’s first marathon on her blog here.

Meet our Athlete of the Month – RunKino!

Meet our Athlete of the Month – RunKino!

If you haven’t already seen Hideki Kinoshita a.k.a. RunKino at a race, you most likely will in the near future. This marathon runner is all over the place – running races, pacing friends, raising money for charities, offering giveaways to his fans, you name it. And for the month of May, Kino is the FIRST EVER Headsweats Athlete of the Month! Below, he answers our questions on how he became a runner, why racing is such an important part of his life, and what’s in store for him next.

Kino after finishing The North Face Endurance Challenge - Bear Mountain 50K on 5/4/2013 at Bear Mountain, NY. It is one of the most technical and challenging courses in the Northeast. +/- 9,700 ft of elevation change over 31 miles.

1. How long have you been a runner?

I ran my first race in June 2007, but it was a “one and done” type deal. It was a New York Road Runners 4 mile race for the first ever Japan Day in Central Park, but I found it so hard that I did not want to run another one. After cheering for a couple friends at the 2007 NYC Marathon in November, I caught the running bug and joined my first running club and started training for races. That is when I became a “runner.”

2. When & where did you run your first marathon?

I ran my first marathon a year later at the 2008 Yonkers Marathon on 9/21/2008 in Yonkers, NY. It is the second oldest existing marathon. The oldest is Boston. Yonkers is known as a very hilly course used by veterans to train for target fall races like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. The cutoff was 5 hours, and I finished in 5:00:15. Luckily, the RD did not cut me off. If I had been cut off and my first marathon was a DNF, who knows how I would have felt? I might have quit after that.

3. What’s the key to your training success?

The key to my training success is to focus on a reason to motivate myself to put on my running shoes and go out the door to run at 7am in the morning or late at night, when I could be sound asleep. My current focus is to improve my marathon PR time so I can BQ and enter the 2014 Boston Marathon, and run it to honor the victims of the bombings.

When I start to make excuses to myself not to run, I just think of four names: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, & Sean Collier. When I think of their sacrifice, it puts everything into perspective and I quit making excuses and go out and run. Any pain I feel during races, I try to suck up because I am one of the lucky ones to have survived Boston unscathed. I feel lucky to just be alive. Running is a celebration of life, and I no longer take it for granted. There are so many people who aren’t able to run, so those of us who can are very fortunate.

My good friend Justin Wood and I have kicked off a fundraiser for The Boston Foundation, to help the city out. I am currently training harder than I ever have, typically logging 60 to 100 miles a week, in order to BQ. I recently lowered my marathon PR to 3:15:12 at the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon in Minnesota on 5/11/2013. Here is our fundraising site, in case anyone want to take a look at it: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonMarathon2014

4. What’s your favorite running gear?

My favorite running gear, from head to toe, is: a Headsweats Supervisor (I own several with various logos on them), Phiten Titanium Necklace, whatever charity jersey I am representing, a SPIbelt to pin my bib onto and carry my gels, 2XU compression shorts, RaceReady Long Distance Shorts for ultras, Phiten X30 Titanium Compression Calf Sleeves, injinji Midweight Mini-Crew Perfomance Toesocks, & inov-8 X-Lite 155 shoes for pavement or Hoka One One Bondi B shoes for trails.

5. What’s the funniest/strangest thing to happen to you at a race?

When I ran the 2012 LA Marathon, I ran a fast first half in 1:36, but then began suffering in the second half, which took me 2:01, finishing the race in 3:37:00. It’s not too shabby of a time, but in the last half mile, I was outkicked in the end by a 20 year old guy wearing a full body Gingerbread Man outfit from the movie Shrek. It was really embarrassing because I am usually the one outkicking people to the finish line. The guy blew past me and I just couldn’t keep up with him. It was a combination of him being fast and me bonking badly. He finished in 3:33:42.

6. What charities do you support?

I have raised close to $70,000 for a number of charities. Aside from The Boston Foundation, which I previously mentioned, I also continue to run and fundraise for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), Back on My Feet (BoMF), and the Mount Sinai Medical Center’s WTC Health Program. To learn more about my fundraising endeavors, please visit my fundraising sites below.

Boston Marathon Relief Fund: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonMarathon2014
PanCAN Charity Fundraiser: http://tinyurl.com/RunKinoPanCAN
Back on My Feet NYC Fundraiser: http://tinyurl.com/RunKinoBoMFNYC
WTC Health Program Fundraiser: https://philanthropy.mountsinai.org/kino

7. Let us know any races you have completed & upcoming races – are you training others or is it for yourself?

Wow, I just ran my 135th lifetime marathon / ultramarathon, so there are too many races to list. In the past 3 weekends, I ran 4 marathons and a 50K ultra in 5 different states. Besides the BQ goal, I am finishing up a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon in all 50 states. I have 2 states left and hope to finish them off this weekend at the Colfax Marathon in Denver, CO on 5/19 and then at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT on 5/26. To see my list of sub-4 states, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/50sub4.html

For my marathon and ultra history, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/history.html & http://www.marathonmaniacsdb.com/Maniacs/MyMarathons.asp?ManiacId=1382

For my ever evolving upcoming marathon and ultra schedule, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/schedule.html

I have begun to pace others in races, as a way to pay it forward from the numerous people who have paced me at races in the past like Marco Cheung, Mike Moschitta, Wayne Bailey, Derrick Tsang, Rick Thiounn, Dave Carlsson, and Emily Hansen. Without these caring folks, I would have never achieved my first sub-4 race, my 50th state marathon in Hawaii in a sub-4 time, and 100 miler finishes in Ontario, Canada and in North Carolina. My first official pacing assignment was the 2013 New Jersey Marathon, in which I teamed up with pacer veteran Otto Lam as the 4:00 pacers. I finished in 3:59:58 and he finished in exactly 4:00:00, so if you average our times, it comes out to 3:59:59, which is a perfect pacing job for the 4 hour group. I couldn’t believe it.

I can’t claim to “coach” any individual runner, but I do encourage others to build up their miles with me and join me at marathons and ultras to prepare for goal races and 100 milers. Many of these friends end up qualifying to become fellow Marathon Maniacs. They know who they are, and they (along with their significant others and parents) jokingly continue to call me a “bad influence.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this Q&A! I hope you try out Headsweats brand athletic headwear and see for yourself what a great piece of apparel it is and how it can help you perform to your potential. It sure has helped me over these past few years of distance running.

Sincerely,

Hideki “Kino” Kinoshita

@RunKino on Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

Berlin or Bust

Berlin or Bust

Eight time Ironman athlete, Penny just competed in the Berlin Marathon – reaching a Personal Best! Penny heads to Amsterdam to race this weekend. Read on for her crazy training schedule before the marathon:

Leaving the Ironman world for 2012 I wanted to give it everything for the Berlin Marathon. I chose a very audacious training plan and took it day by day. I was scared of the plan but determined to get it done. Some days were harder than others. I saw some amazing sunrises, got some inspirational messages from friends, ran all over the UK in search of perfect trails, wore a different Headsweats visor each day and ate a lot of Maxifuel Viper gels.

I ran 1,168 km in 11 weeks.

Had 5 rest days.

I had 61 days where I ran every day.

The 39th Berlin Marathon was the day to test this crazy plan.

I was ecstatic to be hitting the start line healthy, strong, and in the sun for once. I don’t remember much of the race, just pushing hard at each moment and thinking of all the messages of luck I had.

Each 5 km I had a time written on my arm and I was two minutes below it right the way through. When times got tough I just thought of all the mornings I had gotten up at 5 am to fit in my run before work; I had to make that count. I kept pushing and pushing. Crossing the finish line I knew I had done a Personal Best but tears filled my eyes (there is need for a Tearsweat for racing visors!) and I missed stopping my watch straight away. I had done it. I had really finished the journey I set out on.

I ended up doing 3.05.35 and being the 71st lady back. It was great in the athletes village as I got an ovation from the helpers and loads of help at the ladies tents…even a special photo with them!

Champagne please!