The race was not until the afternoon so I had myself a healthy but large breakfast at my Hotel. The Geman precision of their train system flows over to other aspects of their lives. The layout for my breakfast was measured, stacked and meticulously set out. Even the freshly boiled eggs were put in little jackets.
After my full breakfast I relaxed in my room and contemplated what lay ahead. Becoming more daunting the more I thought about it. It later proved to be harder than I imagined.
Around 11:00 I put on my New Zealand uniform and attempted to get a photo though somewhat unsuccessfully.
The race start was 3 km up the road so I got myself there in plenty of time.
After the usual preparations and handing in of bags to be transported to the race finish I lined up at the starting line with 153 other hopeful runners from countries all over Europe and Britain.
The race started gradual up but soon became nasty with 3 km of steady climbing.
|The downhill view of what I ran up|
Felt the pressure from the start as I positioned myself in about 30th place. After 3 km I was struggling and was aware there were another 20 within seconds behind me. I tried to block that out and keep focussed ahead. Thankfully it started to improve for me and I worked my way steadily up the field. I had managed to get in to 19th place with 400 metres to go but aware there was someone chasing me down hard. I scrambled painfully over the last stretch to the finish and collapsed over the finish line to complete the 9.6 km [6 mile] uphill race in just over 49 minutes. I had completely wasted myself and when I began to recover felt a great sense of satisfaction but also relief. I had beaten my kiwi running mate, Pat by 30 seconds which has been a rarity over the last 5 years.
After the race I developed a chill looking for my bag and shook continuously for the 30 minutes on the bus ride down to the race start. I staggered to my Hotel and had a sleep for 2 hours. I have never been so exhausted for hours afterwards in any of my previous hundreds of races over my 30 years. I was however extremely proud to have finished 19th in a huge and highly competitive world championships