After trying to run under 3 hours in the last two years I finally did it this year and set a new personal best of 2 hours 54 minutes.
2008 Stanchart Nairobi marathon was my fastest race so far but it was the easiest run compared to my two previous marathon. I finished the marathon feeling physically strong unlike the last two years when I could barely stand on my feet after crossing the finish line.
This year I had trained to run at a pace of 4 minutes per Kilometre and that is what I did from start to finish. If I had pushed harder maybe I would have hit a better time??
My only mistake of the race
I started the race from my favourite position, which is behind the crowd. At the back I was happy to flirt with the few female runners but the small talk later proved to have been a big mistake.
A short while after the marathon had started I decided to check the time on my wrist watch only to discover I had forgotten to activate my stop watch at the start. The flirting had distracted me such that I forgot something so important!!
Marathon Route to nowhere
Without my my wrist watch on there was no way I was going to keep track of my time, I thought of activating it at the sight of 10K mark but it wasn’t to be, the organisers had not marked the distances on the route. I didn’t understand how they failed to provide such crucial information. Every runner I met with at the finish line complained about the lack of markings on the route.
With the wisdom of having run two marathons I stuck to my race pace of 4 mins per Km. With some runners charging ahead there is always a great temptation to follow them but this year I did not make the mistake I have made in previous years; running beyond my ability. Later in the race I overtook many runners who started full speed, some were slowing down others were dropping out of the race.
No Hitting the wall
I had feared my pace would drop near the end but to my surprise my calves never felt sore, thanks to the hill repeats, stretching, diet and long run I did during my marathon training. I knew I had a beautiful race but since my wrist watch was off I wasn’t sure whether I was still within my target of a sub three hour finish. As I cleared the final 300 metres I could see the timer on the finish line indicating 2:50s, I made a final push and crossed the finish line in 2 hours 54 minutes. The official time recorded by my championship chip and written on my finishers certificate was 2 hours 54 minutes 23 seconds.
It is only after I crossed the finish line that I realised that I could have run a faster time. I finished feeling strong, I walked around comfortably and I did not feel any muscle pulls.
This year I proved to myself I can run faster and am now looking at the future with hope and determination.