The Hallora Marathon Festival 2019 Report

  • Location: Hallora Recreation Reserve, Victoria, Australia
  • TIme: 03:37:46
  • Overall Place: 8/46
  • Full Results

Crazy enough this was my first marathon, I’ve run 50 km, 50 miles, 100 km and 100 miles but not 42 km. It was also my first run more than 10 km that was solely run on asphalt roads and pavement paths, in true naive fashion I ran it all in trail shoes that are too tight and should probably be replaced. To top it off I haven’t been able to run due to hip/back pain that I picked up after taking a fall whilst running the GSER100 3 weeks ago. I tried running an easy 5 km 2 days before The Hallora Marathon but no luck, I couldn’t even make it out of my street. Before I go any further I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining or that I’m some underdog because of my injuries or lead up. I know how powerful the mind is, it’s known for 3 weeks this race was coming up and over the past 4 days my hip/back had gotten 100x better day by day. It probably sounds like I’m crazy but I really believe the brain is capable of affecting our bodies physically when it needs too and can make us ready when it’s go time. I feel finishing The Hallora Marathon with a decent time proves this.

The Hallora Marathon is a low key marathon located in the West Gippsland area of Victoria. Run by race director Daniel Pratt the race aims to raise money for The Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation (Peter Mac Foundation) whilst encouraging physical activity. During the day 24 km, 16 km, 8 km and 5 km distances were all offered alongside the 42 km marathon distance, however I’ll be focusing on the marathon distance. The 2019 course had runners start at Hallora Oval in Hallora before making their way through the local town of Drouin via the Main South Road, from there runners would run into Civic Park then to Western Park. To make the marathon distance runners would then run back to Civic Park from Western Park and then back to Western Park. With a total of 482m (1,581 feet) the marathon was quite hilly for a road/pavement marathon but that was overshadowed by the beauty of the rural town of Drouin and all of it’s surrounding lush green farmland.

The race started at 7am and a group of around 100 runners were lined up at Hallora oval ready to take on the 24 km and 42 km distances. I was nervous as hell, not because of the competition or the course, I was nervous because I didn’t even know if I could run further than 100 metres. My body hasn’t allowed me to run for 3 weeks after hurting my back/hip and from getting rhabdomyolysis during the GSER100 and here I was running a marathon. So when the word “GO!” was yelled I was shocked to find I could run, it wasn’t comfortable and it required a lot of focus to get my left glute and quad to fire properly but I was running. “Ok” I thought this is a start. The first 15 -20 km’s we’re uncomfortable physically, and mentally I was anxious, I was just waiting for my hip and back to blow up, but it never happened. As I ran they neither got worse or better it was a constant state of being uncomfortable however somewhere around the 20 km mark it went away, instead it was replaced by sore quads and hamstrings that weren’t used to running on the road. But the positive was this was the pain I was used to, I’d forgotten about my back and hips and before I knew it I entered “the zone”. Entering the zone is how I manage to finish these long distance runs. The constant pain becomes the normal and time starts to pass by quickly, the present is all that matters. When’s the next water station? Can’t wait for more jelly beans, these are the only thoughts going through my head. Sometimes the competitor in me will start trying to catch any runners in front of me or try to get away from runners that may be behind me or try and finish under a certain time but mostly it’s emptiness. At times the pain of running and the anxieties of how far away the finishing line is comes to mind but I know the thoughts will pass and before you know it, they do. Anyway for the last 20 km or so this is the kind of state of mind I was in. The worries of my hips and back took a back seat and I really start to enjoy myself. The amazing volunteers that we’re stationed at the frequent water/jelly bean stations and the companionship and friendly rivalry of fellow runners made the remainder of the run a really enjoyable experience. Encouraging each other and chasing each other, it all helped to black out the pain in my quads, calves and hamstrings. I was able to take in the my surrounding and appreciate the beautiful, green farmland you come across in the Western Gippsland area and the old fashioned towns that come with it. Honestly tough by the last 5 km I was hurting, my toes and feet were killing me from the tight shoes and my quads were screaming at me from the impact of running on roads and pavement. However 5 km turned to 4 which turned to 3 then 2 then 1 and as I made my way to Western Park and ran around the footy oval I was greeted by the finishing line. Somehow I’d finished, my final time was 03:38:46 and I placed 8th out of 46 overall so I’m pretty stoked with that, all things considering.

In summary the race and event was great, Daniel Pratt (The Race Director) and the volunteers did a fantastic job. The whole event had a great, positive, community spirit to it. It was also very well organised, especially for a low key event. There was water/jelly bean station every 5 km or so which was really impressive and they were manned by awesome volunteers, the timing system was flawless, the course was easy to follow, a bus was organised to take runner to the starting line for free and volunteers collected gear to take back to finishing line, safety and traffic management was well done and there was plenty to do after the race at the finishing line. I had a great time despite my injuries, I enjoyed running through Hallora, Drouin and Warragul it showed me the beauty of Western Gippsland with it’s farmlands, old fashioned towns and local residencies. Lastly the people were amazing, again the volunteers and race director and lastly the other runners. What a great event to run my first official marathon.

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