Midnight Sun Marathon, Part En

It’s 9.30am, and we’re in our hotel room in Tromsø.

The marathon starts in eleven hours.

I’m pushing a fever from a travel cold.  As I’m calculating how to optimise my Panadol intake for best performance, and contemplating the logistics of taking enough tissues to last me the 4 1/2 hours I optimistically expect to take to run the course, I realise maybe the time has come to withdraw.

We wander down to registration.  I make the decision to switch to the 10km run.  I figure even if I can’t run it, I should be able to walk 10km in two, maybe three hours, and if anything, the cool arctic air will do me good.

I encourage Brian to remain in the full marathon.

Running the marathon was my idea.  I convinced Brian it would be fun.  We have been training for over eight months, and now at the eleventh hour, I’m pulling out, leaving him to complete it on his own.  I can’t help but feel a little guilty.

The 10km run starts at 7pm and the full marathon at 8.30pm.

We spend the rest of the day resting, and loading up on pasta.

7pm comes round, and I’ve made it through the start line.  The course winds along the waterfront, flanked by snowy mountains and cheering Norwegians.   It’s hard to not remain energised.

There are 25 New Zealanders enrolled in today’s event.  I reason none of them would be crazy enough to travel 30 hours to run 10km in the arctic, so therefore I’ll likely be New Zealand’s only representative in this race; I ignore my cold symptoms and push on.

I finish at the hour mark.  Not my best time, but not my worst either.  Nonetheless I’m exhausted and don’t think I could have carried on any further.  Pulling out was the right thing to do.

I finish in time to see Brian off on his race.   The full marathon.  42km.  He’ll be finishing sometime after midnight, 10am NZT.

I’ll be cheering on the side-lines.

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