It’s no wonder the Gold Coast Marathon attracts so many runners from the southern states; its warm, bright, colourful and the event itself truly world class. This year the Gold Coast Half Marathon is doubling as the Australian Half Marathon Championships and also my ’tune up’ event leading into Rio. It is the racing component that I am most looking forward to this year.

As I have approached Sunday’s race I have enjoyed the break from the routine of recent training. A race is a great opportunity to reduce the training, take a few easy days and test myself, after all, that is why I train isn’t it.

Is it better to train to race or to race to train?

My first attraction to running was the competition against myself, it was challenging how fast I could run over an 800m or school cross country course. Race day for me meant putting everything into an event and finishing feeling utterly and totally spent. As I developed and received good coaching I understood that well planned training improved the capacity for me on race day. I could run harder for longer and in some ways I became used to the discomfort that a big effort brings.

Finishing an event where I have been stood up the most intensive of tests have left me with the most satisfying feelings of accomplishment. While this is my experience I also accept that for many of the 27,000 runners competing at the Gold Coast this weekend have a kaleidoscope of experiences on race day. Some are within their limits, others are overcoming major adversity in order to finish their chosen event and many still have no right to line up on the start line at all let alone finish. But finish they will.

One of my running hero’s Pat Carrol made a great comment today at a luncheon I attended. He outlined that “if you are fit and healthy this weekend then you owe it to yourself to make the most of this opportunity because you never know if you will get this opportunity again”.

This was a great reminder for me personally and no doubt for many in attendance. The sun rising over the spit at 6:40am over a group of fit young men punching out steady 3min/km pace passing 13km is something I want to be a part of…..

Because as Pat so forthrightly said, I may never have this opportunity again.

Wishing all runners in the Gold Coast Marathon a great run tomorrow!