Marathon #2: preview

It hasn’t even been a week since I wrote a post about my recovery from the first marathon, and here I am writing marathon #2 preview. It finally sunk in, it is one marathon every month!

The second one is here in Canberra on 19 July. Running in your city makes it much easier to prepare a course: You know the trails, the roads, the climbs, and the distances. The problem is that I know and enjoy much more than I can fit in 42 km, so I had to select what I want to put in. I made five different maps before reaching the one below, so let me take you through the process.

marathon2map

Planned course for marathon #2: From Yerrabi Pond to Lake Burley Griffin. Couldn’t resist to add two steep climbs: Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. You may be interested in looking at the original interactive course.

First, as you certainly noticed, there are climbs. I really enjoyed the climbs in my first marathon in Benasque, especially along the trails, and I wanted to include some of the local peaks in my Canberra run.

The second thing that I had to take into account was the logistic. Leaving from home and finishing at home would be the most self-sufficient option: no car, no need to bother friends or family to pick me up, no stress. On the other hand, counting the almost 34 km to get to the city and back, there would be not much distance left to run in the city with the friends that want to join me.

Talking about running friends, this was the third factor. Some told me that they would like to join me for 5 km, another friend would be happy to do from 10 to 12 km, and my wife is keen to run 4 km. But with that many people joining, we could even celebrate in the end. So, an extra factor to consider was the end point. Finishing close to cafes would open the possibility of going for a breakfast afterwards (or lunch depending on the time).

So, that’s how I ended up with the map above. I will start at the lake close to my place (Yerrabi pond) and run 4 km with my wife, probably with the dog as well, and we’ll try to drag our teenager daughter from bed on a Sunday morning to be the photographer. The friends that live in the neighbourhood are more than welcome to join us. It will be a very easy start.

From there I’ll head south following the gentle downhill from Gungahlin to Belconnen. I’ve done this segment many times and it should be the easiest part of the whole run. I should reach the east side of the lake after 12 km and from there I’ll go through the University of Canberra campus, up to Gossan Hill Nature Reserve and then Aranda before reaching the base of Black Mountain. This is the only part of the course that I’ve never run before. I bet I’ll miss some crucial turns somewhere but I have my Garmin to put me back on track. It should be fun.

Running up Black Mountain has always been one of my favourites lunchtime runs but I’ve never done it from the west side. It is going to be interesting to hit the stairs with 20 km on the legs. At the 24 km mark I should be in front of the CSIRO and back to a flat surface. I believe there will be some friends interested in joining at this point. It should be a nice flat run along the Lake Burley Griffin, past the National Museum of Australia, Acton terminal, and Ronds Terrace, before turning left towards the War Memorial.

After this nice flat 8 km stretch, the second steep climb: Mount Ainslie. Maybe some of my friends from the Bilbys triathlon club will join me at this point, who knows? If anyone indeed shows up, I’ll be praying they have sore legs from the Saturday bike ride because I’ll be at my 32nd km at this point!

I should be back at the War Memorial by the 37th km. With 5km to go, this would be the last chance for those wanting to do a shorter course to run with me to the finish line at Acton Terminal.

Don’t forget why I’m doing this. So, please, donate to cancer research.

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