My first Marathon on the Gold Coast, Queensland

Traveling and running, are my two big passions, apart from eating as well, that is. And how nice, when all 3 events collide with each other, in the best possible way.

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The Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2014 (#GCAM14) was a great reason to re-visit Gold Coast, Queensland, partake in a life changing experience (i.e. running my first full marathon ever) and then pigging out on great cuisine and seeing a bit more of Queensland after.

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Burleigh heads beach at dusk

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But the preparation was not without sweat and tears. Early morning runs that started at 4:45am, because Kuala Lumpur is just too hot to run, past a certain hour of day. Oh, yes, we definitely did the time and slogged out the mileage each week, and as the marathon date drew close, I looked upon the hour, not without a fair amount of fear and trepidation.

Would I be able to make it.. ?

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It was the 36th Gold Coast marathon held on 6 July 2014 and this brought us to a well organised race bib collection event at the Gold Convention Center on Broadbeach. Runners were given 2 full days prior to the race to collect their numbers. The only delays were seen at the late entry queue, and last minute form submission counters.

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Cross checking details programmed into the race bib before entering the merchandise section

The great thing about GCAM14, apart form the buzz on race day, is actually great vibe and shopping opportunities at the Convention Center, the day before the races, where popular, as well as less known sports apparel and equipment vendors set up exhibition booths for runners to patron and shop at.

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I loved the energy and positive vibes walking around the place. It all kind of gears you up, for the races. Also, if you have forgotten to take anything with you, then was a good time to pick up missing items with the 10-30% discounts on offer.

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20140704_174953 A battery operated mobile electrical muscle stimulation unit to aid muscle recovery and tone. This unit lasted over 20 hours on a full charge, and offered 2 outputs for 2 users

On race day, we decide to drive and had planned to park at one of the 4 designated free parking areas exclusive to the event. We thought this would give us more time for our breakfast preparation. This strategy worked as we drove past a whole load of people queuing up for the shuttle services at bus stands along the Gold Coast  Highway. The drawback though was that, if you didn’t start driving out early, the traffic jams nearing the designated parking zones were pretty bad. We (and many other cars) made a quick decision to park in a nearby housing area which required a longer walk to the event but solved our problem of being stuck in the traffic congestion.

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The discomfort of dressing minimally  for the run and having to wait in a long queue… brrr.. cold! 

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Optometrists cheering the runners

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Since Cumi was doing the half marathon, we get there for 5:30am, because he was going to flag off at 6am. I had to hang around till 7:20am, the flag off time for the full marathon. The weather was nippy, to say the least, so you really had to try and keep warm before the start. However, the sun was up by the time our gun went off, so that was fine.

Some runners would wear a pullover at the starting point to be discarded when the race began. The runners would then collect it at the end of the race. Many clothes was seen strewn on the roads and on the lawn when the runners left the start.

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I caught the sunrise on my mobile phone, at around 6:30am. It was beautiful! 

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photo moment, with some rather cool running buddies, Jamie, Nick, Choon Yuen & Sharon

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Last chance to drop off your bags, before the big race

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The gun goes off.

I find myself running and feeling like it’s the best feeling in the world. I look at my watch, and notice I am keeping a good pace. Before I realise it, I am in Burleigh Heads, the same place I was carbo loading for dinner, just the day before. I passed tons of energetic supporters who were leaning on barriers and waving me on in encouragement. Kid were giving me high-5′s and saying, go-go-go. Well, I definitely intended to “go”, all right.

And soon the Broadwater views on both my left and right opened up in the early morning sunshine as I headed past Southport Bridge.

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People say that at 30KM, you hit the wall.

For me, it was different.

The last 3KM in fact, were the hardest. But don’t get me wrong, the distractions along the route, were just breathtaking – thee beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches on my left as I continued along Main Beach Parade. This is the best part where you can enjoy watching surfers take on the pounding waves.

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And of course who can discount the super gorgeous Surfers Paradise, with many more people cheering me on too. I particularly liked the run past Hedges Avenue or ‘Millionaires Row’ where some of the most luxurious homes on the Gold Coast are located. Some folks even came out of their mansions to encourage us on. Props have to be given for the fantastic organization of the run – from start to finish, the water and aid stations were well planned and not too congested.

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Finally, I was nearing the 30KM mark and I was still running well. Some folks hit the wall, at 30, but for me, the last 3KM were certainly the hardest. I guess if I could do it all over again, I would have done a couple of things different, but still, being my first marathon and all, I think I did pretty well.

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Steel drum rhythms by the lawn

What can I tell you?

Hard work pays off.

If anyone asks you, or tells you otherwise, they would be lying. And we all have to run our own race.

There’s no fool-proof formula for finishing a marathon well, but I will say this. You need to run the first part with your wits about you, the middle part with determination, and the final leg.. dig deep, and run it with your guts. Just go for it, and don’t think about failing or your legs giving out. It’s all in the mind, so trust your feet to get you past that finish line!

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I did it. I finished, and I ran all the way without walking.

I have now popped my Full Marathon cherry, and life as I knew it before, is over! I now have to keep striving for a better race, a better time on the clock.

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these guys were the unsung heros who kept us going .. what great encouragers! 

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42KM, done and dusted! 

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I once said, I didn’t want to do a full marathon, just HM’s.

And then I said I would just do ONE FM, and be done with it.

But now, I seem to be planning my next one, and how I can beat my own best time. Isn’t humanity weird that way..?;)

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“The thrill of victory…. 

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.. and the agony of defeat”  P7067510

Definitely thrilled with the outcome of my first Full Marathon.. here’s to many MORE! 

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Some businesses took the opportunity to promote their products and services by offering some free stuff…

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Families come out to support their spouses in full force! Really love the energy every corner you turn

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Some opt for physiotherapy after the run… 

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While others choose to stretch and sooth aching limbs in the sea water…

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Finisher t-shirts and shiny medals, are given out to the deserving finishers, of course

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Laying out on the lawn in preparation for the prize giving ceremony

20140706_080253A Taiwanese Banana?

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Keep on running, don’t stop! Baby steps at a time:) 

 

We ran the Gold Coast Marathon as part of the #thisisqueensland campaign,  in conjunction with Tourism Queensland. As always, CCFoodTravel maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

 

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* How we got to the Gold Coast :
We arrived in Brisbane via Malaysian Airlines MH 0135 on the evening of Thursday, the 3rd of July, at 1950 hours. It took us approximately 40 minutes to clear immigration. We then picked up our rented car from Hertz, just outside the arrival hall. It was a mere 5 minute drive to Novotel Brisbane Airport, were we spent the night. Just follow the signs to SKYGATE, The Circuit, Brisbane Airport, and you will arrive at the hotel. Arriving late, you will be happy to note that there is a Woolworths just next to the hotel, were you can grab an easy dinner – options we like include, a whole roasted chicken, sandwhiches, pasta and salads from the bar, health snacks and fruit juices. Early the next morning, on Friday the 4th of July, we took the Pacific highway for the Gold Coast, which was approximately 1 hours drive from Brisbane. It’s advisable to ask for a GPS device at Hertz or which ever  car rental you choose, because you will need it to navigate around without hassle. We have also used Europcar before, but we prefer Hertz because they actually gave us a better, more updated GPS device. Do note that if you choose to drive, some hotels on the Gold Coast offer complimentary parking, but some will charge you a daily rate – it’s best to budget for and check with the hotel you plan to stay at. Driving would definitely be a great way to explore the Hinterlands and other parts of the Gold Coast, should you decide to stay on after the marathon. If you plan to stay on in Brisbane, please note that the parking fees are substantially more expensive, and you need to check the signs which tells you if you can park for just 1 hour, 2 hours or 6 hours etc. All the machines take credit card, so it’s easy, and you don’t need to put the slip on the car (like in Malaysia) as it is all computerized and in the system, the minute you key in the registered number plate. Finally, the drop off of your rented car is easy, as you can self drive back to the airport and leave the car at the Hertz parking bay, on the day of departure. Hassle free and you don’t need to get to the airport too early (you can still use the car, and drive around and explore Brisbane), as it will be a midnight flight going home to KL via MH0134 at 2320hrs. 
 
 
 

Comments

  1. congrats for running all the way! and for still looking so fabulous in the end!! :D

  2. congrats on running all the way till the end … and for still looking fabulous at the end! :D

  3. Congras!!! Now to move it another notch!

  4. I enjoyed my first marathon last year, but no plan to repeat. I will stick to skiing. Congrats on finishing without walking.

  5. Awesome job Mei! :)

    You look so good after running the marathon to boot! (no pun intended)

    I like the camera finish, that’s a nice touch for the Gold Coast marathon!

  6. Abel Lim says:

    Congratulations, it was not an easy feat. haha. Amazing, see you there next year?

  7. Congratulations :)) fantastic achievement. I was there GCAM14 as support crew as I was carrying an injury. The crew I train with leading up to the marathon were a first timers. 5 friends running the FM & 4 friends the HM as well as 1 ran the 10km on the Saturday. Amazing to be there & I only hope I can complete one soon as I am good to run. Cheers

  8. Awesome post. I am inspired to sign on for the Gold Coast marathon next year! Will bring my family along too, as I can see it is so family friendly!

    • Definitely family friendly. And you can take your kids to Movie/Sea World after the races. Our post on that is coming up next. Stay tuned!

  9. It’s on my running bucket list! Wild Horses can’t hold me back .. GCAM15 here i come! Great tips.. where did you stay on the Gold Coast?

    • Hi Slinky. We stayed at the Mantra Hotel, on the Goldie. It was really central and convenient. There is a daily parking charge for the car, though, if you are driving. It was approximately $17 per day.

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