607088-melbourne-marathon

What a difference a day makes.

That was the sense I had running around a waterlogged Newcastle this morning. Yesterday had been the calm before the storm and my 15k marathon pace training workout along the Fernleigh track unaffected. But to line up for the same type of workout today would have been near impossible. The overnight wind and rain had thrown the city in disarray – not nearly so much as other areas – forcing a cancellation to the normal group Sunday run.

This weekend isn’t the first time I had some good fortune with the onset of foul weather. In 2012 after a disappointing run in the London Marathon in April I prepared for the Melbourne Marathon in October. It was important that I demonstrate to myself that I was still a strong marathoner and my ability had not completely left me. Also, given that the Olympic ambition was pretty much gone I was keen to try an Australian marathon and running into the ’G’ seemed like a pretty cool idea!

To this point all my marathons were attempts to qualify for something or had been championship events with final placing the measure of success. Running Melbourne in 2012 was the first time I had released myself from that pressure. I didn’t need to try and run a qualifier, I could just have fun, and I could set my own pace. I set my target on 2:16. Respectable but achievable.

To this day I am grateful to two guys who helped me out that day and in doing so launching Scott Westcott the marathoner 2.0.  I had asked Ben Toomey well before the event if he could ’pace’ me for part of the race. Despite me not following up in the weeks prior Ben had held it in his mind, organised his entry with Tim Crosbie* and was there ready on race morning. He was fit and ran to 16km like clockwork without as much as a couple seconds variation in the pace I had requested. All I had to do was follow him for 16km. In addition Keith McPherson from Sydney had also affirmed my request for some help and ran himself into the ground to 21.1k. It was an awesome effort and was close to a personal best half marathon effort for Keith at the time.

Having the pace taken care of for half the distance makes running a solid marathon so much easier. I was counting duck’s on Albert Park Lake and enjoying the sights and sounds around the course during that first half. We also had a little bit of ’chirp’ going on in the group as well. Once Keith stepped off passing halfway in exactly 68:00 I had to increase my concentration and lift physically as the fatigue set in.

Melbourne 2012 is the only time I have ’negative split’ a marathon as I closed it out in 67:59 and an overall time of 2:15.59. Finishing strongly after a conservative start was a new way to run. It was fun and not so intense for the first 2 thirds of the race.

This race gave me hope. I used my ability to finish strong and my experience in understanding what lied ahead. I had just won an Australian Marathon title which I had never done before and had earned an automatic spot at the 2013 World Championships. At age 37, perhaps there was a little life in me yet?!

The next day I received a text from Tim O’Shaughnessy, distance co-ordinator with Athletics Australia;

“Sitting in my office looking out at waves forming on Albert Park Lake and rain coming in sideways, what a difference a day makes.”

Yes it does.


Picture from Couriermail.com.au features; Dave Thomas, Nathan Hartigan, Vlad Shatrov, yours truly, Keith McPherson, Ben Toomey, Jonathan Kipchirchir CHESOO and John KYUI.

Tim Crosbie* is the elite athlete manager for the Melbourne Marathon amongst all the other ‘hats’ he wears!