Maratona Di Torino. Gran Premio La Stampa 2012

Turin, Italy 18 November 2012. It was a cold 2 degree Celsius morning in the Piedmont capital, Turin. I was armed with ear muff, full body compression, a jacket, gloves and my club jersey. I have never ran in that much clothing before, but I can still feel the chill up to my spine even with that much garment.

Some people say I looked like Robocop with all these gear.
I am supposed to be hydrated before the race, but my problem was, my bladder cannot seem to be able contain any fluid intake in this kind of temperature. I was lucky that my hotel was very close to the start and finish lines, so I can afford to leave 30 minutes before the start. It was a beautiful morning. I joined some serious looking elite runners doing warm up laps. I myself felt like an elite when the official photographers kept asking me to pose for their cameras (well it was their job to sell the pics anyway). I don't know if it was down to nervousness or my bladder need some upkeep, I had the urge to pee 15 minutes before the start even though I had peed until the last drop just 15 minutes earlier at the hotel. I cannot find any porta loos around the starting area at Piazza San Carla. The marathon village at Piazza Castello was too far for me to make it back on time. I was panicking, the area was swarmed with thousands of runners (Around 40 thousands participate in all the events that morning). I trusted my instinct and it took me to a secluded area where I finally get to release the overflow.

The Start at Piazza San Carla. I was at the very top of this picture (Pic courtesy of La Stampa Newspaper)
Finally the race started, I was in the middle of the sea of full marathoners. I started the race slow. Well that was the plan anyway. It was very crowded with around 4000 runners cramping in narrow old city streets. I had to constantly watch my step so I wont step on other runner's feet or slip and trip from the uneven surface of the cobbled streets and the web of tram lines. It finally eased up after 2 kilometres when we leave the core of the city and I was able to picked up the pace and maintained a good run until halfway point

My race plan was to run at a steady pace of 5:25/km while taking recovery walk at every water stops to hydrate properly with a goal to complete the race in 3:49:00 or anything sub 4 hours.  My original target for this race was to finished sub 4:30:00 when I started my training in July. But I since made quite a bit of improvement and somehow felt the 6:22/km pace for a 4:29:00 finish was too easy. So I revised my training plan halfway into the programme.

Lonely runner. Everybody seems to be so fast here. 

The race course took us to small towns and beautiful countryside around Turin
Though this is not a big city marathon like London or New York, you do not need to worry about crowd support. The support were mostly descent but it turned to great fiesta like atmosphere in the small towns like Nichelino, Grugliasco and Collegno. The whole towns seems to be out in drove to cheer us. There were brass bands, choirs dressed in traditional Italian costumes and drummers. It really makes you feel welcomed and think twice before you stop for walking. You don't need to worry about refuelling along the route either. The organiser provided sports drinks, water and all kind of nibbles you would not expect in a marathon race. You will find biscotti, rusks spread with jams, bread, cakes, fruits and cheese. Yes cheese!

I found it harder and harder to keep running at my marathon pace. My legs started to hurt especially at the joints. I assumed it is because I am not used to run on the hard running surfaces like what we have on this course. First it was cobbled stone then even the tarmac. But the tarmac here was not the smooth and soft ACW 14 that is common in the tropics. It is hard and coarse (it has to be so the road wont be too slippery on snowy days). The pain became more unbearable and I started taking longer walk breaks at water stops and I walked a lot more after 30 kilometres. I totally abandoned my sub 4 hours target at KM 36 and just hope to finish as close to 4 hours as possible. I was really embarassed when an old Italian grandma kept overtaking me every time I stop for walking and she kept encouraging me to continue running. When I say she was old, I really meant old. She looks more like an old lady at an old nursing home with walking frame more than a marathon runner. She has a prawn like and fragile looking posture. It was just amazing she did not stop to walk. I said to myself, today is probably is not my day, BUT I will not get humiliated further by getting beaten by this old grandma. My pride was all I had left. With that I braced myself and took a step at a time until I crossed the finishing line at Piazza Castello in 4:11:50. Almost 12 minutes off my target. I was disappointed initially, but then I realise, I did try my best given the circumstances and I was humbled by the experience. I will learn from this experience and already looking forward for the next race. Boston is still far, but I can certainly see it on the horizon. Full details on my Garmin Connect HERE.

Almost there. I can see the finish line now

I survived 

Mo Syafei 
Race Statistics:
Bib No: 2344
Nett Time: 4:11:41.80
Gross Time: 4:12:37.75
Rank All: 2631/3853
Rank Category: 688/1133
Rank Malaysian: 1/1
Shoe: Asics Gel Kayano 18


@xiM said…
Good job bro! !I'm impressed with you..congratulations!
Thanks bro,

Lama training dari bulan July.. huhu

ko akan rasa perasaan yang sama masa Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 nanti.. Whatever it is jangan give up

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