2011 Colombo Marathon

Craig Jordan, SCT
Overall position: 39 // Finish Time: 3 hours 45 mins
Coach’s remarks: The most travelled TeamT2A member of them all, Jordo… To be only 1.15hrs off the Kenyan Pro’s is quite special Craig, I would say on a London style course, this would of been about a 3.15-3.20hrs. In saying that, you need it as several members in the team are calling you out, two of them chicks 🙂 Thx mate for sharing this, team, enjoy another Jordo event in a far flung destination

Quick report on the Colombo Marathon.  It was good to get a feel for Sri Lanka and how things work here, I think it will definitely put a unique spin on the 70.3 next year for those doing it.

The organisation of the race definitely had some interesting features with first of all them not having a note that I had paid for the race.  Despite waving my official reciept at them which I thought was pretty good evidence I had paid they had not one but two list with my name on it saying I hadn’t paid.  so despite me thinking my receipt was cool evidence apparently it was trumped by their two lists and I was $50 lighter.  I didn’t actually mind as all the entry fee goes to a charity that builds schools in Sri Lanka so at least good for my karma.

The second surprise was being told everyone in the full and half marathon needed to do a medical.  I told the guy he was having a laugh especially as we had to wait an hour for the doc to arrive then God knows how long to get out pulse taken.  I few targetted sales words later and he’s got a piece of paper saying if I die I won’t sue them and I have my number.

Number three, they put me in the open race group rather than the vets.  I didn’t complain about this but the guy said not to worry and as I’d made a bit of a scene already I just left it (mistake!)

The race course is pretty interesting ranging between major highways in Colombo and semi tracks along some canal somewhere.  you are never really out of populations centres though so it makes for good crowds along the route and plenty of local support.  Apart fromt he first 5km the race was on open roads so involved dodging buses, trucks, car, bicycles and tuk tuk’s which was interesting to say the least and down right dangerous at times.  The real killer though was the weather, at 35 degrees and 60% humidity it was basically like Dubai in May.  Add to this that they only provided warm air temprature water every 5km and you had a recipe for disaster.  No ice, no sports drinks, no bananas, no gels.  On the start line I noticved I was the only person there with a fuel belt on and very nearly threw it to Jun, I’m so glad I didn’t, people were keeling over left right and centre on the second half of the race from serious dehydration.  The first 6 athletes were Kenyan and 3 of them ended up in hospital.

There were four races starting at the same time, a 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon.  The 5km and 10km was mostly being run by high school kids.  The lined us all up at the start with the marathon runners at the front, the half marathon next, then the 10km then the 5km with the predictable result when the gun went off the 5km and 10km runners came screamming through us.  All a bit of a good laugh though and I did enjoy the atmosphere.  I was amazed how many barefeet runners there were, much more than when I’ve raced in Africa but they run pretty damn well!

After about 3km I was already well into my fuel belt supply and already noticed a few people beginning to flag but there was absolutely nothing available until just after the 5km mark, far too long in these conditions.  I won’t go into my usual detail but up until the half way mark generally quite a number of people were around me and running pretty well but I was surprised how little they were drinking and thought maybe it was just a problem with me.  From the 20km water point onwards I actually walked through the stations and filled up my drinks bottles.  This probably cost me somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes right through to the end but I’m so glad I did it.  At first those I was running with just thought I was dropping but I’d catch them again after 2-3km.  By the time we got to 30km though they simply started to drop like flies and a lot of them were really in distress and I never saw any of them again.

I just kept ticking along at my own pace, it was much more a race of attrition than speed so my hopes of a 3:20 went out the window fairly early on, there was just no way that wa shappening in these conditions.  I ran the last 10-15km with a couple of Sri Lankan guys, one of them was about my age the other early thirties.  In the last kilometre the older guy dropped away badly and lost around 90 seconds getting to the finish.  Funnily enough I felt better at the end of this race than when I ran Istabul last year.  I think it was partly being fitter and partly being forced to run a bit slower because of the humidity but I never had anything like the sore legs I experienced lasty year.  I finished in 3hr 45mins and found out I was 39th overall.  The winning time was 2hrs 28m with Kenyans in the top 6 places so I had to be pleased with that.  I was only afterwards in the shower I was talking to the older guy I was running with and he told me he was second vet (he actually got third later on) so I thought maybe I had won the vets.  That’s when I found out my not being more firm at registration worked against me.  The origanisers didn’t want to know my protests again despite having my “official” entry showing age and catagory.  In the end it’s not that important but still annoying.  I’m not sure if it will get changed on the race webite but I’ll keep annoying them anyway 🙂

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