Mission accomplished: running the Boston Marathon for Haitian orphans
Posted Apr 21 2010 11:07am
Editor's Note: Our new gear editor Paul Shippey just ran his dream race in Boston, but he didn't run the Boston Marathon just for
himself. Paul's also raising money to help the orphans in Haiti . His interesting race report is below:
The big day is over and what a day it was…
Competing in endurance sports brings with it a strange blend of feelings and emotions on race day, and if there was ever an event in my life to stir this up, the Boston Marathon was it!
I have raced some memorable events in my sports career including Ironman SA, the 56 mile Comrades Marathon, SA Triathlon Champs, ITU World Cup and now finally Boston - on the 2500th anniversary of the original marathon in Greece. I can say nothing comes close, of all the aforementioned events, to the euphoria of running this race.
I have also never felt so nervous at the start of any event. To stand in the starting pen with arguably the world’s fastest field of marathon runners was incredible. Every person at the start (excepting the 2000 odd charity and bandit runners), has had to run a tough qualifying marathon in a fast time to earn a spot at the start. That’s what makes this so special, there are no slackers in the field, and when you run 7min15s miles for the first 6 miles or so and the crowd of runners doesn’t thin out, this point is really hammered home.
Now I understand why Boston is truly the holy grail of marathon majors! In most cities events happen and life continues unabated. In Boston, when the marathon happens, it feels like the entire city wraps its arms around the event - the marathon and the city become one crowded, cheering entity. Running past 500,000 cheering, fanatical spectators the entire 26.2 miles is a feeling that cannot be described. Like your first rollercoaster ride - it has to be experienced to be completely understood.
My first objective in Boston was to run, enjoy and complete the event. The second was to raise money for Nuovo Vilaj in Haiti, and my third was to try and run a fast time. I am happy to report that I achieved two of my three goals, thanks to all your fantastic support. The third goal was not met and it’s to be expected in any endurance event. You never know on the day how your body will cope with the abuse you throw at it.
Boston is a hard race to pace with a downhill start and finish, and I will admit the euphoria and adrenaline tends to lift one up and often results in too fast a pace for the first half of the race. I knew this, but felt so damn good for ¾ of the race that I decided to go big and push anyway.
Unfortunately on the day my legs didn’t like this idea and with 6 miles to go I cramped in both legs... From then on I had to endure a hell run to the line and had no choice but to ease the pace and limp to the finish in 3h47m. The incredible support of family and friends near the line helped get me home in one piece. What a day!
FYI: The donations are still trickling in and I will be sending a final update next week with the names of the donors and the total $$ we raised for the orphans of Haiti.