Month: March 2016

Marathon 9’s biggest hit: pão de queijo

During the breakfast that we hosted after marathon number 9 we served a typical Brazilian snack called pão de queijo (literally bread of cheese). So today I won’t write about running, training, or fundraising, but instead I’ll reveal the much requested recipe.

Pão de queijo


  • 600g of tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tea spoon of salt
  • 200g of parmesan or romano cheese
  • 3 eggs
IMG_0411Tapioca flour can be found in the baking aisle of major Australian markets under the name Arrowroot.

Preparation method: read the captions in the photos.


Marathon 10: race preview

Tomorrow I’ll be running marathon number 10! It is the last one in Canberra and will be a mix of official race and my own made up course. I’ll start at 7:30 with the Weston Creek Half Marathon (WCHM) that goes from the Black Mountain peninsula down to Phillip and back (see map below). After the WCHM I’ll get my backpack and follow the race course once again just continuing a bit further to pay a visit to The Runners Shop. I want to pass by and thank them for the pair of On Cloud shoes that will be given to a lucky supporter after marathon 11 (check the details of the prize draw in my previous post).

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Course map. Click here for an interactive version and .gpx file

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Elevation profile. Red Hill is going to be interesting.

From there I’ll head northeast, climb Red Hill and pass by the Parliament House before reaching Lake Burley Griffin for the last 1.5 km. I’ll finish in Kingston, more precisely in front of Brodburger where I’ll have a well deserved after-marathon burger.

This time I’ll have the company of Matthew Geleta for the whole marathon. Matt is doing his own fundraising event to help provide education to Ebola orphans in West Africa. He is running 2000km in 20 weeks finishing with a marathon in Sierra Leone. It will be a pleasure to share the roads and trails with him tomorrow. I’ll also have the company of Ethan and Ruvi for the last 10km. These guys will bravely face the steepest part of the race.

If you want to run with us, you’re more than welcome. If not, join us for burgers afterwards. We are expecting to arrive between 11:30 and 12:00. I’ll be using the real-time tracking app again. I hope this time it will work properly.

Don’t forget Give $10 for 10 and go into the draw for the pair of Cloud shoes from On.



Give $10 for 10: running shoes draw

To celebrate marathon number 10 I had the idea of promoting a “Give $10 for 10” campaign to encourage people to donate as little as ten dollars to cancer research through Can Too. However, I thought that would be even more interesting if I had a prize to draw. I contacted my friend Emily from The Runners Shop in Canberra and shamelessly asked her if they could donate a pair of running shoes for the draw. The next morning I received the good news: “I have a sponsor for the shoes” – she said – “On is happy to donate a pair of On Cloud“. I must confess that I had never heard about the Swiss company On before and I went straight to the web to check it out. Their website gives a very good first impression and I enjoyed reading about their story. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the shoes as I have never tried them. However I did look for reviews and I must say that I am now very curious to try them. Some reviews can be found here, here or here.

So, it is On! (pun intended) I have a prize to draw and the rules are the following:

  • For every $10 donated through my fundraising website you’ll receive an entry number for the draw.
  • Donations from 16/03 (the day of my first post about this on Facebook) until marathon number 11 (mid April, exact date to be confirmed) will be valid for the draw.
  • I’ll ship the shoes anywhere in Australia (overseas supporters are welcome to continue donating but unfortunately won’t be considered in the draw).

You can get in the draw by donating here. Gook luck everyone!

UPDATE 1 (15/04/16): the final date for donations is 16/04/16 and the draw will take place on Sunday 17/04/16

UPDATE 2 (17/04/16): some overseas supporters are keen to cover the postage costs if they win the shoes. So they’ll all be included in the draw.



Marathon 9 – the birthday marathon: race report

After the lonely marathon in January and a rather low influx of donations for cancer research, I decided to organise a more eventful marathon in February. I set the marathon on a Saturday, a couple of days after my birthday, and invited friends to a big breakfast after the run. What better than 42km to celebrate my 42nd birthday? 😉 In a bold move I put the invitation on Facebook. I knew I was under a serious risk of having way too many people to cook for, but I really wanted to get my fundraising back on track and boost the donations to Can Too.

A big line-up was expected for the marathon with people intending to run from as little as 5km up to the full distance. Joe (the same that ran 10km in the marathon in Rio and a similar distance in marathon 6) wanted to do a full marathon without walking for the first time. I prepared two marathon courses in such a way that we would start from our own homes and meet at around kilometer 10. With a prediction of a 5 hours-long marathon and the breakfast scheduled for 10am, we were in for a very early start…

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Course map. For the full statistics check the Garmin activity.

The night before

By Friday we had around 40 people confirmed for breakfast. That meant a long night preparing things for the next morning. While Marcele was making quiches and baking cakes, I was making banana bread and “pão de queijo”, a Brazilian savoury snack that literally means “bread of cheese” (not really a bread though). I finished rolling them after 1am and went to bed to have a little rest before the marathon. The plan was to wake up at 4:30, get ready in 30 minutes and leave home at 5am. The first people that I was going to meet were my friends Ping Koy (from the ANU)  and Tim (from Bilbys Triathlon Club – the same guy that ran with me the last part of marathon 7 during the Triple Edge Endurance triathlon).

I woke up at 4am, looked at the clock and thought: “Nice! Still 30 minutes of sleep.” The next time I heard my own thoughts they’re saying: “Hmmm, these 30 minute have been really effective. It seems like I slept for…” I jumped from my bed, eyes wide open: 5:08 am! I rushed to the computer, sent a message to Tim and Ping Koy (PK) telling I’d be late and got ready as fast as I could.

How to mess up the first quarter of your marathon

I left home trying to setup my GPS watch and the app to track my run. During the first 2 km I was trying to run and type messages in my mobile at the same time and I almost fell twice. I gave up messaging and just ran as fast as I could to meet them. I found PK just before the 4km mark at the south bridge of the Gungahlin Lake and we ran together to the meeting point with Tim. When we got there Tim had already left. He had to drive to Sydney that morning and my delay meant that he couldn’t wait any longer. Sorry Tim!

PK and I headed south to meet Joe who had messaged me just then to tell that my tracking app wasn’t working properly. He was way ahead from the meeting point but that shouldn’t be a problem as we were running along the bike path in opposite directions. There was no way we could miss each other… except that we did! Joe went up along the path on the east side of the road and we were coming down on the west side. After a couple of calls we turned back but Joe was already way north. We pushed a bit more to see if we could catch him but that would take a while…

The first lights and the lakes

When we got back to the Gungahlin lake we met Geoff, another friend from the ANU. Geoff is training for the Australian Running Festival marathon in April and was keen to run as far as possible. The sun was finally up and we were all happy.


Geoff, PK, and I somewhere in Gungahlin

From there it didn’t take long to reach Yerrabi Pond and by then we had finally found Joe and were joined by Oliver (also ANU) and Brendan (from Gungahlin Parkrun). I recognised Brendan’s face at the Bateman’s Bay marathon (the all pink marathon) and on a later occasion he knocked at my door to pick up his daughter. Small world, our daughters are very good friends from school. Brendan is also training for the ARF marathon in April and he did a loop with us before heading to the Gungahlin Parkrun.


Brendan joining for a short 3km loop before going to the Gungahlin Parkrun. Oliver (in green) and Joe also in the picture.

We headed yet again south for a loop around Gungahlin pond where PK left us after more than 20km with me. He showed that, despite the chronic back and neck pain, there is stil a lot left from the great runner that he was in the past.


Almost 20km and we’re still happy. Some out of focus, but still smiling 😉


Oliver and I around Yerrabi Pond.

Heading north again Joe had a quick support visit from his family. Janet and James met us just at the crossing between Gundaroo and Mirrabei Drive and James ran with his dad for a while. What a great supporter!


Joe, James and Janet.

Mulligans Flat

As you may have noticed, there are multiple mentions to the lakes around Gungahlin. The reason for multiple loops around Yerrabi Pond was to make sure that we had access to water at least every 10 km and also to make easier for people to find me. On our last stop at the bubbler before heading to Mulligans Flat we found Mary (or she found us). Mary was training for the Six-foot track and was also going for a long distance run. For Joe and I, the loop in Mulligans Flat started at 28.5 km and ended at 35km, arguably the toughest and most critical part of a marathon. In our favour, the views, the trail, and a break from the hard surface of the bike paths. A lovely place to run.


Mary leading in Mulligans Flat. She was looking very strong and comfortable. Joe and Oliver just behind her.

Again the Lake and final stretch home

After Mulligans Flat we went south, once again to Yerrabi Pond. I was expecting another group to join us for the last 5km to the finish line. It didn’t take long for Emily (on her bike) and Katie from the Bilbys, as well as Ethan, Richard, Sam and Tekle (ANU) to join us. It was really nice to have so many enthusiastic people in the final 5km.


Mary leading the ANU students. From left to right: Tekle, Sam and Richard.


100 metres to go: Mary, Richard, Sam, Tekle, Ethan, Geoff, Joe and Katie

Party time!

We finally got home and it was party time! Marcele and Clara (wife and daughter) did a brilliant job with the decoration: everything was all in the bright orange Can Too colour and the table was amazingly set with great food. I didn’t have much time to rest as someone had to cook the eggs, bacon and mushroom. There were friends from work, from the Bilbys Triathlon Club, from a previous Can Too program, and close Brazilian friends from Canberra. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday and marathon number 9.


Marathoners and cooks

Thank you all for coming. I really appreciated your presence. You made my day very special.

Special thanks to the runners that joined me as well as those who donated to Can Too, after all this is the reason why I’m doing this!

And above all, my gratitude to my girls who have always been so supportive and understanding. You organized an amazing party!