Monday, July 10, 2017

My First Half Marathon @ Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017



"It's not the finish line that matters, it's having the courage to start."

Just last week, I ran my first half marathon in Gold Coast Airport Marathon. It was joyful, it was magical, to be honest, I am still so stoked to the fact that I actually did it and survived. Lol No pun intended!





Pic credit to GCAM Facebook.

If you don't know yet, Gold Coast Airport Marathon held annually is one of the premier marathon in Australia. The 39th Gold Coast Airport Marathon held on 1-2 July 2017 attracted more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities across a number of races, including the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ACIS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge and Zespri Junior Dash 4km and 2km races.

Why Gold Coast Airport Marathon?  
  1. One of the flattest, fastest and most scenic courses in the world, the best place to strive for a personal best time. 
  2. It is the first marathon in Australia to be awarded an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label.
  3. The perfect weather to run in July with low humidity, mild temperatures, little or no wind in the morning. 
  4. Get motivated and support from the huge crowds cheering along the route.
  5. Easy to reach, fly direct with AirAsiaX.

 
On 29th June 2017, we flew to Gold Coast via Kuala Lumpur with AirAsiaX. Did you know AirAsiaX Kuala Lumpur - Gold Coast route was first launched in Novermber 2007 is the only airline that flies from Kuala Lumpur to Gold Coast with 11 weekly direct flights? We also love the fact that we could easily check-in via web, mobile or the kiosk at KLIA2.

 
Oh my gosh.... I am so excited for my first ever runcation. Thankfully, the eight hour flight journey was smooth and comfortable, not to mention the delectable inflight meal. 


Lip-smackingly good Chicken Satay, so tender and succulent. Yum~

We arrived in Gold Coast early morning and make a quick stop at ASICS Sports & Leisure Expo to collect our race kit. Although the queue might look long, but the collection process was fast and fuss free, thus within 15 minutes we are done.
 
I also managed to print a personalised wristband to help me pace my race. Ohh no.... honestly, I did not set any goal, especially since this is my first half marathon, but I guess it will be good to help me stay on track? 
 
There are over 80 exhibitors at the expo, plus a huge display of the latest ASICS footwear and fashion. 
 
The expo also has information booth which provides important participant information for race days such as maps, shuttle bus timetables and road closures. 

A group pic with GCAM #teamMalaysia
 
The night before our race, we had our dinner at NightQuarter, a weekend night market located in Helensvale, Gold Coast. Basically, this is Gold Coast's 'Eat Street', music venue and night market shopping area which is strategically located adjacent to the Helensvale Train Station.
 
Carbo-load! :p
PRE-RACE 


The night before jitters and the super early wake up call, I don't really manage to get a good sleep the night before the race. Gosh.... I am excited, scared and happy at the same time, such a mixed feeling, incredibly nerve-wracking.

 
Pre-run meal.


We leave our hotel with a coach at 4.30am and reached the Southport at 5am. Did some warm-up stretching and we were so ready to start running.

 
Baggage Drop tent
All tents are well organised, designated accordingly to the runners bib no. We can leave our belongings placed in a plastic bag affixed with the tear-off tag on our race number.

THE RACE

 
Awaiting flag off with Joanna. 
The Asics Half Marathon starts at 6.00am. It was so chilly in the early morning with temperature falls to below 10℃. Sorry for the blur photo, but I was shivering with cold! 
We heard the gun, took off running and I was soon by myself. After the first 5K, I started to feel warm and took off my windbreaker.

 
The picturesque sunrise.

 
Throughout the run, we are greeted with the spectacular Gold Coast View.


Such breathtaking scenery.
Oh yes... I took these photo while running. :p

 
One of the many things to love about GCAM, there is plenty of water stations offering water and Endura energy drinks to keep runners well hydrated.

 
Another plus point, great support and cheering from the locals along the running routes. Ohh... so much love for the positive vibes!

 
20km, nearly there!
At this point, I was far behind my actual race pace, my right knee started to hurt at 16km and I just couldn't run anymore. But that doesn't mean I'm quitting. I'll just continue and walk to the finish line. I can hear the little voice in my head goes, don't you dare to give up now!

 
Finally, here I am at the finish line. Yay..... I did it!
How did I do? Well, there's always room for improvement, but crossing the line at 3:12 was pretty OK to me considering the few stops I made in between for photos and selfie. :p

POST RACE

 
After the finish line, we made our way to the exit according to our T-shirt size.

 
The bling!

 
At the Nu-Pure Recovery area, runners can access to the medical centre and refreshments such as Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, oranges, lemon and lime Endura Rehydration Formula and bottled Nu-Pure water.

 

 
Group pic with #GCAM17 #TeamMalaysia

 
After the race, we make our way back to the hotel with the Gold Coast light rail. The ride is free for GCAM runners, to and from the race.

 
And after a quick freshen up, we had our post-run meal at a cafe nearby to our hotel namely Lot 1. Lovely foods and great service, the cafe is actually owned by a Malaysian. So my fellow Malaysian, do show them some love if you are ever in Gold Coast.


Run first, wine later. :p
A night of celebration with good company at The Collective in Palm Beach with amazing foods, interesting cocktails and great ambiance.  

All in all, despite the huge volume of participants, GCAM was well-organised and everyone truly enjoyed the event. Whether you are an experienced runner or an amateur runner, the easy flat route is definitely the best place to strive for a new personal best time or attempt your first half or full marathon. 

Runners Tips 
  1. Run and train to build up your stamina prior to the race.
  2. Don't do or wear anything new on the race day.
  3. Set a goal and make them happen!
  4. Last but not least, don't forget to have fun.
My first half marathon, my first overseas race, my first race in Australia was made possible thanks to AirAsiaX and Tourism & Events Queensland (TEQ). I'm so looking forward to come back next year. The beautiful course, the perfect weather and the unique run experience made the travel worthwhile. In the meantime, stay tuned for my sharing on the fun times we had in Gold Coast as the tagline goes.... Come for the run, Stay for the fun! XOXO


 
 
 

4 comments:

  1. The view are really beautiful. I love Gold Coast in the morning - I literally woke up and waited for the sunrise when I was there.

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  2. This is amazing! Kudos to you. Wonder when I'll be able to do my first. PS: I love your nails <3 :) Cheers!!

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  3. Been updating with your status on IG and yes gotta admire for your courage to make it thru!

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  4. Can I just for to Gold Coast and not run? Of course I can! And I WILL! :P

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