|I’ve already sworn on this blog that I would never run a road race again, a resolution I made only ten days ago in fact. But it was hard to resist the temptation to compete in the Red River Runners Half Marathon in Hanoi last Sunday. So I’ve already broken my vow.
It was more for sentimental reasons that I ran.
First of all, I’m a member of the Red River Runners group, so I wanted to have the fun of racing against my fellow training compatriots. Then of course, there are so few organised running events in Hanoi that I wanted to have the luxury of waking up and competing in my home town. And finally, it was bound to be a small cosy race, with less than 40 people entered for the 21k. Small events are always nice and friendly, something I’m always a fan of.
The course was designed to do a tour of Hanoi’s biggest lake, Tay Ho or West Lake. Starting from the UN International School, we ran out the gates of Ciputra, down the road to hit the lake at the water park before doing an anti-clockwise tour of the water. The event was billed as a “back-to-basics” so there were no traffic restrictions, few supporters, no banners or no loud boom box music. Only water stops every 4-5 kilometres reminded me that I was in fact doing a race and not a training run.
Also I was wondering what would happen if I went out really fast and tried to hang on in there. Last time I religiously stuck to just below my AT rate, pottering along at 170. This time, I went hell for leather from the start, trying to keep up with the boys. And accordingly, I died a slow and painful death from 15 kilometres on. In the end, I registered a 1 hour 47 minute result, 8 minutes slower than last week in Siem Reap.
But hey, it was enough to win. And winning meant an all expenses paid trip to Mai Chau lodge for two, which I definitely hope to cash in next year. Heidi, Adele, and Matt did any excellent job, not only organising all the numbers and routes and free t-shirts, but also begging, borrowing and stealing such top class prizes for competitors.
Incidentally, the first man home was Phi in 1:30:39 after a tactically well-paced race. Next was Simon Ernst, then Oliver, both fresh from their Siem Reap halves. Fourth in was John Shirley after a 3:20 marathon in Singapore just last week.
The best thing though about doing the half marathon was heading to Jafa afterwards for the three pints of beer and steak sandwich recovery meal.
And this time I promise, 2010 New Year’s resolution… no … more … road … racing.
Roll on 2010!