Race Report by Lisa Jay
Cathy and I set off on our Danish adventure on Friday morning from Luton Airport, everything went like clockwork and we arrived in Denmark to unplanned showers. After navigating the world’s smallest metro system we dumped our bags at the hotel and headed by bus to the Expo so we had Saturday free to explore. The Expo itself was OK, a few good stalls and some photo ops! We picked up our ‘rose’ skintone coloured T-Shirts, numbers and a rather funky white duffle bag commemorating 40 years of the event. I’m left feeling a little nervous because EVERYONE in Copenhagen, especially at the marathon expo looked super-athletic (must be all that bike riding).
Having a choice of parkrun tourism we headed upto Amager Strandpark which promised to be the most scenic as it was along the coast, I’m sure it probably is – however the mist was thick and we could barely see anything, we did however managed to make out that those swimming in the adjacent pool has opted for the no swimwear which was a scary sight at 8:30am. The run itself was pleasant enough, loads of people over for the marathon (including some from UK) the RD was kind enough to do an English briefing. The course was two laps and pancake flat, my plan for a steady leg loosener ahead of the main event actually meant I ran a PB for the year so far ….. probably as I wasn’t looking at my watch. After thanking our hosts and wishing everyone good luck we headed back to our hotel buffet breakfast and get into hardcore carb loading (worth noting that both the bacon and pastries were disappointing!).
Spent much of Saturday sightseeing by bus, the weather brightened up to a fantastic sunny day and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city, food was great and we saw quite a few white marathon bags – all being worn by athletic looking types.
Race day …. no hitches with organisation and our hotel was a short walk from Start Line…. the sun was already starting to come out. I was initially a little nervous as I was undertrained I knew I was looking at my first post 5 hour marathon, as soon as we’d dropped our bags, I said good luck to speedy Cathy and found my “I just wanna get around and finish” tribe hovering in the 5 hour start pen and waited for the off. Quite a relaxed start as we moved forward from the very back, when we hit Start arch we were greeted to the sound of heavy metal blaring out and an impressive amount of supporters cheering loudly.
The course itself is pancake flat bar a couple of inclines to go up and over bridges, it’s fair to say the people the people of Copenhagen fully embrace the event and very little of the route was without crowds and lots of spots had music stations dotted around (one was an amazing choir). I got into my stride, ran the first 10km then settled into a run 6 minutes / walk 1 minute, the sun was blazing down and I took water and flat energy drink from every station (2km or so apart), when I hit half way at 2:45 (big arch and fanfare) I was pretty much on my target for a 5:30 finish as I usually run a negative split. At 31km we were back pretty much doing the first part of the course again and this is where the wheels fell off due to (a) the hot sun and (b) lack of proper training … my run/walk strategy change to a “run in shade / walk in sun” mission which was slow going, I had no aches or pains I was just exhausted and nothing was in the tank, at 40km I grabbed two full cups from the Red Bull station and started to crack on for Finish, at that point I knew I missed my target but I could easily get under 6 hours no trouble. Like all marathons the final km felt like a parkrun, everyone was going in the opposite direction on bikes or walking with their medals and T-Shirt on.
As I crossed the line (there was still some crowds yay) – I was told that there was no medals left, gutted not just for me but for those who were doing their first marathon – a lot of them from around the world. I could have quite easily burst into tears but then I saw Cathy looking lovely and refreshed and holding a beer for me! We sat on grassed and chilled, Cathy kindly loaned me her medal for pics as she finished well over an hour before and we donned our T-shirts and posed with the union jack. Finished off the night with a lovely meal and chill in Nvhavn which is definitely the coolest place in Copenhagen to eat!
I must admit not getting a medal did annoy me, just because it’s totally avoidable and caused by pure greed on the organisers part (they were still selling places at the Expo!) but I thoroughly enjoy the weekend, great city and fantastic company.
I have ranted lots on Twitter and they have promised to send me a medal, give me two Grey finishers T-shirts (as pink ones are horrible), refund my money and I have confirmation of a free place for next year – so looks like I’ll be going back, fully trained and ready to take on what is a Wonderful! Marathon (see what I did there).