June 1st, I ran Christchurch Airport Marathon – my first marathon since December 2013. I definitely class this as a curate’s egg of personal performance – some part’s good, some parts not so good. As we’ll discover, I had to dig deep to keep on going. I’ll also discuss my learning – the good and the bad.
Part 1 is my thoughts on the marathon while Part 2 will discuss my performance.
Christchurch Airport Marathon: Kogsy’s Review
Now in it’s 34th year, the Christchurch Airport Marathon is run on the Queen’s Birthday bank holiday weekend. Since the earthquakes of 2010/2011, the marathon festival has been run out of the city airport.
It’s a very inclusive event. As well as the marathon, there’s a half-marathon, 10k, 1k kids race and walking events. Altogether, there was 4000 participants across all race classes.
Christchurch’s airport is on the city fringe; where the urban area becomes countryside. While a bit of trek out from the city centre, the location was well served by roads. The free car parking was right beside the start line. The benefit of this was being able to drive right up to the start point without worrying about public transport to and from the event. Getting to a marathon on public transport is always OK; it’s the getting back that’s a struggle!
Toilet wise, well served with large number of port-a-loos. However, in my experience, there’s never enough 15 mins before start time and I was glad I had ‘arranged things’ so as not to need them prior to the start gun. Throughout the course, there was a good spread of toilets as well. This was fortunate because the course didn’t provide many, er, natural alternatives. The sides of the roads were well fenced by private farmland – long on electric fences but short on bushes, making peeing as nature intended very problematic.
There were frequent water stations, serving water and Powerade. The traffic management and traffic marshalling was very professional and, excepting official vehicles and local traffic, we had the roads to ourselves. I also did appreciate the helpers at the finish line to remove the shoe chip.
The course was flat as pancake. Apart from a short diversion into a quarry, it was mostly road. The full marathon distance was made up by a series of loops. With the early start, this meant we were in amongst the lovely Canterbury countryside as the sun came up through the morning mist.
My last – and most important – commendation relates to the medal. I think it is very cool and I like the lanyard it comes with.
What about recommendations? Well, there’s only really two.
- I did find multiple-looped courses a bit monotonous. One of marathon running’s joys is the chance to sightsee in a different way. Seeing the same sights three or four times didn’t help my moral after the 20k mark.
- While it’s not the point of ding these things, the goody bag was uninspiring. It comprised mostly flyers for the sponsors and other random advertisers. The only goody was a gel bar. What really made the goody bag look cheap was the marathon programme. This was purely black and white, not colour. To put this in perspective, last October’s Wairarapa County Marathon is put together on a real shoestring by enthusiastic locals. I’d rate their goody bag miles ahead of Christchurch’s (the M&M’s in a paint-tester-pot were a highlight).
In conclusion, this was a well run, safe and – potentially – very fast marathon. Excellent facilities – toilets, food, kid-friendly diversions – at the start as well as everything a runner needs. Despite my minor gripes, I give this a good mark. I’m looking forward to next year when the marathon moves back into the city centre.
Next time, we’ll dissect my performance. Till then, Keep on Going.