Twilight Half Marathon 2013

It’s hard to know where to start with this recap. What happened last night was such a unique and completely unexpected situation that I am still trying to work out what I think. 

The whole day I had been wary of the weather. It had been stinking hot and sticky, the most obvious lead in to a big summer storm. I had checked the weather radar before leaving home. There was a storm on it, but it was to our south and it didn’t look like it was going to hit. I figured if the race needed to be cancelled because of it, I’d find out once I reached the event.

The skies were pretty clear and the race begun like any race normally begins. With an exceptionally long toilet line and a lot of pre-race standing in line waiting for the gun to go off jitters. 

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If there is one word to describe how I was feeling for this race it was awesome. I felt relaxed, my pace (which was actually a bit faster than anticipated) felt natural and I felt super. The sun started going down and there were a few spits of rain. Completely expected spits of rain. I ran up and over the bridge in the race for the first time and was flying along to the first turnaround. 50 metres out from the turnaround at the 6km mark I looked up and could see a sheet of water coming towards me. 

About 15 seconds later, the wind, the rain and small flying debris all hit me at once. At this stage, I wasn’t too concerned as I figured the rain would pass quickly. A minute later I was completely saturated, about 3 minutes later I was running through puddles that engulfed my shoes. Soon after, the street we were running on lost power and the only way I could *really* see was when the lightning struck and lit up the sky. It was insane and it was scary. The rain was so heavy and so strong that it felt like I was being stung all over my body. It seems to strange to say it, but I never really contemplated anything other than keeping going. If nothing else to get to the safety of the finish line.  

As it turns out, this is what we were running through (for those not in the radar know, red is very bad, orange is not so good either):

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Obviously I didn’t realise this at the time, and I still figured that the rain would soon pass. As I made my way up the hill back up to the bridge back towards the start line it was like I was fighting a river. The amount of water coming down the hill was insane. Once I reached the top I thought I was going to get blown off the bridge. 

We reached the other side and it was only then that I realised how truly bad the storm was. Trees were down all over the path and the grass and road were both quickly turning into rivery lakes. As I neared the turnaround I was told that the race had been called off. It was too dangerous and people were getting injured. So many thoughts go out to a man who was hit by a falling tree and is in a critical condition in hospital. 

At the time I was annoyed. I reflect on it now that I was so caught up in the adrenaline and the goal in my mind that I figured I was saturated, why not let me keep running? Particularly as the rain was making me run faster than ever before. But the more time that has passed between the run and now I realise how dangerous the conditions were and how lucky I am to not have injured myself badly through a fall or through something falling on me. 

For the 10km I was out there, I felt better than I ever have before in a race. My good mood and high spirits were helped immensely by the best support crew I could ever ask for. Seriously, look at how many signs they had for me (sadly a lot of them were only seen post-run!). 

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Was the twilight run what I expected it to be going into it last night? Absolutely not. Was it an experience, an adventure and something I will remember for the rest of my life? Absolutely. 

And at the end of all that, I still got my medal!!

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