Greenbelt Half Marathon…21.1km…Race Recap

1 May

My sister Helen, once told me that she wanted to run a half marathon. It was a bucket list item. I offered to help cross that off her list and tried to convince her to sign up for one. After a failed attempt when we came to Adelaide for the Adelaide Half Marathon last year, we successfully managed to agree to giving one a go this year. So, on Sunday 30th April you found us, standing at the start line of the Adelaide Greenbelt Half Marathon.halfmarathonpre

We weren’t alone at the start line, we’d managed to gather a crew that included my husband Dave, her husband Scott, Scott’s Dad Ian and another friend Jonathon. Together we huddled at the start line, discussing what times we hoped we might achieve, and generally just chatting to pass the time and catch up.  I was most interested to find out how long Helen thought she might complete the half in, because, while I had said I’d love to run it with her, I was a little scared that perhaps running with her was actually out of my ability… she casually stated that she had done a “comfortable 10km in 1 hour” recently – and knowing my all-time PB at that distance was 1:05 I started to get a little concerned… though she assured me she couldn’t maintain that speed over the longer distance, and had never run more than 17km.

Without much more time to think about it, we headed to the start line – trying to self-seed ourselves a little we headed for the back of the pack, and let Scott and Jonathon head to nearer the start line.  Right on 8.00am we started.  The course itself had to be altered after heavy rains in Adelaide a few months back knocked out one of the bridges into town.  This meant we essentially had to run a bit of an extra circle near the start line, to ensure we could finish in an appropriate location.  This meant lots of little ups and downs, and what felt like we were running around in circles. When looking at my GPS tracker later however, it didn’t look as bad as it felt.  As we set off I commented to Helen that we were maintaining a decent pace, and if we kept it up I’d be headed for a personal best – but we chugged along, a little slower on the ups, while trying to maximise any downs.

At about 3.5km we saw Scott, on the other side of the river – and a good few kilometres ahead of us.  We cheered for him as loud as we could (he didn’t hear) as we continued on our way. At 4.5km we found our first water station – and I was introduced to what would become a tradition – the water station selfie.  I had told Helen that I would be walking through the water stations – grabbing a glass, ensuring I got three good mouthfuls, and then going again – its all of about 10 steps of walking, but I find it necessary to ensure that I don’t inhale all the water, end up choking, and having to stop anyway.  So, with this in mind, Helen and I grabbed our glasses, said “cheers” and “cheese” and took a drink and a gel.waterstationselfies

Not long after this we caught up to Dave.  I was quite surprised by this. He ran with us for a bit – I told him that I thought Helen was going to kill me today – as we were still maintaining a pace that would have me do a PB. While I wasn’t specifically complaining about doing a PB, I wasn’t sure if I could maintain it either…  We did discuss that perhaps we’d kill each other as we both stubbornly wouldn’t want to slow the other down… We finally left the suburb we started in (Athelstone) at about the 10km mark, as we began to follow the River Torrens down Linear Park and headed to the city. Helen and I continued in much the same fashion running consistently, stopping for selfies at the next water station (10.5km) and then again at 13.5km – though that selfie Helen said we had to look a little tireder… 😉  The trip along the Torrens was really quite pretty. I have to admit that the short sharp uphills started to take their toll after a while (although I was known on one particularly steep hill to actually say “Thank you Emma for putting hill repeats in my training program” – I felt much more prepared to run up hills with my recent training). I did however appreciate the long slow downhills after the short ups, which gave us a chance to get our breath back after each pinch. The path was nice, it was well signed and the occasional volunteer was always encouraging.

As we hit the final water station (and of course the final water station selfie) I suggested to Helen that she may find the next few kms tougher, but we just had to keep hanging in there.  Historically for me this is the no-man’s land – not quite close enough to be almost finished, but with a few kms in your legs you’re starting to feel pretty tired – the mental battle here can be challenging. However, the kilometres had been ticking over fairly consistently with the company and chatting, and she was quick to remind me that I needed to just keep thinking positive.  She also was now in unchartered territory – anything beyond this distance was a PB for her and there was no way she was quitting now. Fair enough I said, and again we continued on our way.  At this point we had run the whole way (excluding the 10 steps or so at each water station).  We were still consistently doing 6.25-6.35min/kms…. I was still trying to keep a fairly constant pace, whilst desperately hoping I could maintain it to the end…

At 19km we knew we were now less than 15min from finishing. That spurred us on further. We discussed at what point we hoped to be able to increase our speed a bit more as we approached the finish line…. Helen suggested 20km, I suggested 21km hahaha…. She was still looking strong. I was shaking my head in amazement.  An extremely nasty, short steep hill greeted us at about 21km – and briefly I wondered if I was going to have to walk up a hill for the first time this run, only 100m from finish – however thankfully, despite almost having no air left in my lungs, we crested the hill and headed for the finish line. It was there we saw our impressive cheer squad – and distressingly for me, Helen found yet another faster gear!!  As we saw Helen’s family, my older brother David and his family, my Auntie Dot, Helen’s mother in law, and of course Scott (as he had finished 45 minutes ahead of us!!) we also saw the finish line – what a joy!! I tried desperately to catch up to Helen and together we finished the half marathon.  It was indeed a PB (2:18:01 – beating a PB I set in 2013) – but almost 30-45 minutes quicker than my recent half marathon efforts! I need Helen to run with me more often! Our official time was a little slower than this unfortunately, however it was gun time only, and therefore the fact we started at the back of the pack was to our detriment.

As I pulled up the pain in my left knee was fairly substantial, but otherwise I didn’t feel too bad. I have to say that running with my sister was a wonderful way to undertake a half marathon. The kilometres ticked by quickly, and I really didn’t notice the normal “no man’s land” kilometres of about 17-19km. We managed to finish about 45 minutes after Scott, 30 minutes after Jonathon, just a few minutes ahead of Dave, and Ian rounded us out with an impressive 2.46hr run. Despite her solid run, Helen hasn’t yet displayed an excitement or interest in signing up for another event… so I’ll have to keep working on that 😉

Was great to be able to come home and run with some family, and have some great encouragement from even more family! The scenery was very much a “home” feeling for me – with big gum trees lining the river banks, lush grass banks, and cooler conditions.  The weather was a beautiful 16 degrees on starting, and probably only about 20 degrees when we finished – absolutely perfect. I’m really happy with my PB time, and very thankful I was able to hang on to keep up with my sister on the day.  It is encouraging to see the consistent training I’m doing paying off.  So, with another half marathon under my belt, it’s time to prep for the next events… stepping stones in the training for the next Half Ironman on the Sunshine Coast in September.


greenbelt half

Plenty of PB’s to be found on this course


This is me looking distressed as Helen finds another gear (and plenty of air) only about 50m to go!


With some of our cheer squad


Most of the runners – Dave, Ian, Scott, Helen and I (Jonathon had already left)


One Response to “Greenbelt Half Marathon…21.1km…Race Recap”


  1. This is life... - December 31, 2017

    […] I’ve come an agonising 44 seconds off a 60 minute 10km (still a personal best regardless), did a 21.1km fun run with my sister (she pushed me to another personal best), knocked 30 minutes off my Olympic […]

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