I was excited to organise my year of running 13 marathons in 13 different states and/or countries, and in choosing the Queensland marathon had elected Caboolture to avoid the large scale Gold Coast Airport Marathon. The risk was it was on only two weeks after the big week in Antarctica and Punta Arenas, but I was confident I could do it. I booked flights to Queensland for me and for my two daughters and we flew into Brisbane the day of the event. As the name suggests, the marathon starts on dusk and runs on through the night.
I was attracted to the fact it was run through an historic village and was in laps – lots of them. In fact the laps were 400 metres. Every hour the running direction altered. There were multiple events ranging from a half marathon through to as many laps as one could do by dawn. The marathon was just one event.
The week before the marathon, not long after arriving home from Chile, I developed a nasty upper respiratory tract infection. This had already done the rounds of the tents in Antarctica and I had hoped to escape it. I’d been quite unwell for a few days, even having to take some time off work for the first time in many years. Once again, everything for Caboolture was booked so I decided to have a crack at it and hope for the best.
We found some noodles and muesli bars at the local supermarket and I ate those around 4:30pm. It was tricky thinking what would be best for nutrition with a 6pm start time. We then made our way to the historic town. It was a quaint little set-up with a ring road between the buildings. It was on this ring road the race was run.
The temperature was around 30 degrees Celsius when we set off. The first few laps were quite fun – my girls were sitting in one spot and I waved each time I passed. There were heaps of other runners who all knew one another and were calling out and chatting as they ran, both to one another and to spectators.
It all started to go bad from about 5km. I wasn’t feeling well and running became a struggle. The sun started to set and while there were flood lights in places, there were some really dark patches where I couldn’t see the ground. We changed direction and with that my pace slowed even more. The girls took it in turns running or walking sections with me. I just wasn’t feeling it and thought it was unfair for the girls to be sitting by the side of the road for hours while I walked around and around. I decided to quit – a DNF two weeks after the highs of South America. Awful. But I knew it was for the best – I wasn’t well and probably shouldn’t have started in the first place.
What was good about this event? Well if you belonged to the running club I think it would have been fun. There was a lovely atmosphere and the write-ups in Cool Running were all very positive. It is a weird little event and attractive for that reason. If I ever went back (which I won’t) I’d be better prepared with an esky of food and drinks, and some more comfortable chairs for the spectators!