Having not done a race in my local town for a while I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to eat breakfast in you own apartment, jog to the start and be back on the couch sipping a coffee within an hour of finishing. Bergen Marathon was a great experience not just because I got to sleep in my own bed but also because Bergen is a beautiful town that is showcased amazingly by the two lap marathon course.
This was going to be a different race experience to those I had over the past two years. Having not done a normal road race for some time I was a little unsure how this one would turn out, I knew I had the energy for it but didn’t know how my legs would stand up to the beating of over 42km on the road. My calves seem to have adjusted to mountain running so much that they seem to shudder as I slip my feet into road shoes.
Still, the sun was shining and as I looked into the mirror before leaving home I smiled to myself, for some reason I knew today would be a good day.
The course is two laps and climbs just under 500m over the entire distance. The old course record was 2:36 and I was told that the guy who had it was running, as well as other previous winners. I had a plan though, I would stick to 3:45 min per km for the first half then see where I was and push harder on the second.
As we got underway, a lead pack of three shot off covering the first km in under 3min 20secs! Bollocks, I didn’t want to let them out of my site but also knew the importance of getting into my running stride. I settled into 3:30 min per km about 100m behind them which is where I stayed.
I reckon the best advice for a marathon is if you can smile and thank marshals, you aren’t going too quick. Considering I was saying “Takk” to every single person who cheered me I reckoned I was comfortable.
Two thirds into the first half with the big ascent and descent done, the lead pack of three had shed someone. I caught him and smiled as I eased by. Third place, I would be happy with that but the leaders were only 100m ahead and the race was long.
A cut back in the course gave me a good look at them, they weren’t smiling… It’s not like me to be too confident but for some reason I thought to myself “I’m going to f**k you guys up”.
A little kick in the course 2km from half way and the start of the second lap allowed me to catch them. Making sure too look super fresh, I didn’t waste much time going past. If I could get a healthy lead now it would be quite a blow to moral.
I had paced the first half knowing I could either match it or go quicker on the second. Now running behind the guiding cyclist I concentrated on doing just this. Still smiling and thanking people just as much but feeling the pace wasn’t quite as easy to keep on this second loop I kept going. Coming round the final bend the cyclist seemed to want a sprint finish, I put in a bit of pace but was glad to finally cross the line.
I had won a marathon! My final time was 2 hours 26 minutes and 20 seconds. I had no expectations for time but to run like this on a hilly course and finish 10 minutes beneath the old record gave me a pretty good feeling.
Kenneth Smeby Ran a great race to finish second also beating the old course record, by 4 minutes and Sondre Øvre-Helland came in third.
My next race will be Toughest Malmo. With some natural and man made obstacles in my way I might feel more at home but a tough race it will be all the same.