The beauty of running is its lack of discrimination. Anyone can participate. Young, old, fast, slow: everyone lines up and runs on the same streets at the same time.
No one tells you that if you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to do a lot more than run.
I felt confident in my training and my abilities as a runner. I run often, and I run strong. As the Laguna Phuket International Marathon crept closer it started to hit me- but the nerves were streaming from everything leading up to getting to the start line. Will I sleep through my alarm? Will I forget my passport? Will the line ups to the porta porties be too long and I will have to run 21KM with a full bladder? LOL, all these were my legitimate thoughts.
Few days before race day, we did a check list such as passports, hotel reservations, flight details and race confirmation only to realized that our names were listed in the full marathon 42.1 KM instead of the 21 KM Half Marathon. Fear, anxiety and panic crept inside of me. We immediately contacted the event/ organiser to informed about the mistakes and they informed us that upon our arrival at the race expo, they will be able to rectify the mistakes.
We took the noon flight and arrived at Phuket International Airport on schedule. We rented a car and drove straight to the race expo only to be told that we were 10 minutes too late! Nothing could be done. They cannot rectify the mistakes. My heart was shattered into pieces. The event organisers tried to justify the situation and informed us that it was alright to just participate in the Half marathon 21 KM, however, we won’t be entitled for the medals, no finisher-tee, no timing chip..hmmmm….
Devastately, we drove to our hotel, showered and had an early dinner in silence. Then hubby made a decision at the eleventh hour to run his first ‘virgin’ full marathon 42.1 KM… I rooted for him! And this is his story:
At the starting line, I felt like everyone else. Nervous, anxious, excited. No months of training, no hundreds of miles run BUT here I was, ready to take on what had always seemed like an impossible challenge.
The gun sounded and I was off. Feeling great. Keeping a steady pace. Enjoying the sights and sounds. This went on for about 10 KM without a hitch. I was on pace to hit my goal and everything felt great. With the rain slowly toning down and my body slowly adapting to the low temperature, I continued my jog and stopped at all the water stations.
People around me were smiling, running, talking, cheering, singing etc. The feeling of running all alone with hundreds of strangers encouraging you and pushing you to keep moving is beyond exhilarating. I couldn’t help but feeling overwhelmed with emotions. I continued to run. I smiled, ran and smiled some more. I ran like it was the only thing that mattered.
I kept putting one foot in front of the other. That is, until around 30 KM. Where I hit the wall. Yes. THAT WALL! The one you always hear about but never understand until it happens. The kind of wall that leaves your body saying, “Hell no”, regardless of how much your mind says, “Yes”.
For me the first time in my history of running, I felt angry. And above all, disappointed in myself. I slowed to barely a jog, and finally a walk, my mind wanted me to push through, to fight the pain, but my body simply couldn’t. I was sore, tired, thirsty, hungry and outright uncomfortable in just about every way you can imagine.
Then my thoughts of my wife and children crossed my mind. Bring back the medal…….Bring back the finisher-tee….I got this! Do it for my wife and kids! Bring home this awesome journey and tell them that I did it! I am a 42.1 KM finisher. I am officially a marathoner!
So, I walked. Then I walked some more. And a little more. I jogged a few steps, and quickly went back to a walk. Hands on hips. Sucking wind. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
35 KM. 36 KM. 37 KM. I passed the KM markers. Slowly, but I passed them. Jogged a few steps further.
38 KM…………39 KM………..My walk had slowed to a crawl. I listened to the other marathoners around me, complaining. Gasping for air. Keeling over in the grass to stretch. Sipping coconuts for energy. I started to doubt if I’d ever cross the finish line, or if the ambulance would eventually come pick up with the rest of the stragglers…LOL
At this point, mental strength took over, physical strength is secondary. At this point, the clock ticks around 6 hours. The rain is long gone and the sun is up and shining brightly. Then I saw the magic number 40 KM. You have no idea how excited I was after seeing the sign, Suddenly out of nowhere the energy just hit me hard.
Every 200 meters I ran felt like forever, it was the last stretch of road before reaching the finishing line. Yes! My feet were alive again, they wanted to cross that line so badly that I started sprinting my last few hundred meters towards the finishing line, and I heard the host calling out my name: Segar Rajoo from Malaysia!!
The moment I sprint passed the finishing line, I felt relieve, I felt freedom and there’d be no more running….Just my RUN-CA-TION in Phuket with my wife. It was no easy task, but I did it! There was that sense of pride and excitement. And that feeling was one of a kind, sensational and somewhat magical!
Long story short. I did it! Clocked 6 hours and 30 minutes. MY first full marathon 42.1 KM- Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2018. It was an unforgettable experience, the whole journey was simply incredible and I urge those who are still contemplating to join a 42.1 KM, JUST DO IT!
I’ll work harder. Do better. Run faster. And get stronger. That’s the thing about marathons (Literally or metaphorically) They smack you in the face, kick you in the ass, make you feel like dying but keep you coming back for more…
Because the biggest rewards in life are the one’s that have to be earned.
Running a marathon isn’t about the miles/KM. It’s about the lifestyle. It’s about giving something your everything, then a little more, even when there’s absolutely nothing left to give!