With the whole Seoul Hangang Marathon experience still fresh in mind, I decided to subscribe for half a marathon in Shanghai. This particular run is quite a bigger event, taking place in the heart of the city. Isn’t Shanghai a terrible dirty city to run the marathon? While some might expect that this ‘smoggy city’, once called the ‘opposite of nature’ by Yan Arthus Bertand, would be a bad place to be running *kuche kuche*. Actually, I can see stars at night, and there are a number of great facilities to exercise in the city. Out of curiosity, I compared world records the local ones and it seems that Shanghai can compare itself with the other world marathons. The overall record of men’s Shanghai marathon being 2:09:28 (world record is 2:03:59, ran by Haile Gebrselassie in Berlin) and the record of women’s Shanghai marathon being 2:26:19. (world record is 2:15:25, ran by Paula Radcliffe in London.) So I feel pretty comfortable running here. I am just trying to avoid running on the street as it is a bit dangerous. Perhaps the biggest difference to last time is that besides colleges, both my dad and my girlfriend will be joining the half marathon run as well. I will commence training from this week, if I can find the time to tear myself away from the computer.
Those happy faces are me and my collegues, Frank-Jan, Zdenek, Marten and Arjan from ING – just – before we started running our (half) marathon. Perhaps we were even happier when we finished – it would have been better, or at least more fair to share a before / after picture I suppose.
Together with Suna us ‘westerners’ participated in a Korean marathon. The 15.000 participants made me wonder why I haven’t actually see people train on the streets of Seoul more often. I always thought the latter of Koreans preferred hiking over running, perhaps I was wrong; Most participants seemed to know what they were doing.
Naively about the consequence, I agreed to undertake this 21.0975 km long challange in early 2009 – This tenderfoot aimed to finish his first ‘professional’ race within 2 hours, or at least… to finish at all. To do so, I decided to eat more healthy food (less burgers, more fish) and I stopped drinking coffee completely, but more importantly I undertook a ‘special’ training programme: A day to day running schedule to get in shape for half a marathon, downloaded from the Internet. In a timespan of 80 days, I ran a total of 360 km in preperation, usually during lunch breaks. The amounts increased until I ran 20km every Sunday, rest on Mondays and Saturdays, and maintaining with about 8 ~ 10 Km during the remaining days of the week. I guess that the people at the gym know my name by now.
I wanted to be prepared because of our charity run. Just weeks before the race, we decided to raise sponsors and donate the money to Unicef. My office reacted very positively, perhaps too good! The common awareness of my collegues pointed out that I shouldn’t let them down.
I aimed to have fun, and accelerate my pace at the end of the race. It worked, I finished at 1 hour and 44 minutes, my new (and first) record. As you can see on the graph, the start of the race I slowed down, mainly due to the vast amount of people running before me on the street, creating a funnel effect. Later, I could accelerate due to the latitude and goal in sight. I raised 1.286.714 KRW for Unicef in total we raised a stunning 6 million KRW. I’d like to thank all my 29 sponsors, (I know who you are!) for your support, it was a great motivation to keep on running!
Now I am wondering what would be next. The Hong Kong mountaintrail would be a little too much, but I am dreaming of finishing the New York City marathon, perhaps in 2010 / 2011. We’ll keep you updated!