Hunter Valley Half Marathon

Saturday 20th July - Ride to the Hunter Valley

Along with the race this weekend, one of my goals was to have a good solid ride to the Hunter Valley, and some down time hanging out with some awesome mates! The 185km ride took us through Peats Ridge, Wollombi and Broke before arriving at Pokolbin. Bern, Charlie and I set off at a gentlemanly hour and were lucky enough to have great riding conditions.

Check out the Garmin File on my Twitter Page (https://twitter.com/OwainMatthews/status/359803039877562368)

This was my longest ride (in terms of duration and distance) to date and I loved every minute of it. Apart from a few bumpy bits of road and some disgruntle truck drivers the day went to plan. We had a couple of stops to keep it sociable and rode through some amazing scenery while keeping a modest pace. This ride is a MUST for anyone looking to go to the Hunter Valley.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out around the Hunter sampling a few cheeky wines and some good food.

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Sunday 21st July - Race Day

It was pretty nippy up in the Hunter Valley on race morning, but the sun was out and it was a pretty good day for running. There was a group of us racing and as we were staying across the road from the start we strolled over to the race fairly late. The course was challenging out and back loop, with lots of hills and long stretches of road to occupy your mind, but the scenery was beautiful. The event as amazing and all the runners and volunteers were so friendly, and its one I'd definitely go for again.

I knew Scot Westcott and Mitch Robbins were running and I had no intention after my ride yesterday of trying to go off with them. I sat back at over the first couple of km's and didn't really begin to make any ground until we hit a very large hill at 3km, at this point I moved into 3rd (as the lead 2 were away) and remained there for the rest of the race, running solo. It gave me a good opportunity to work on my form, focus on running efficiently when I was getting tired and trying to think about being in this situation in my next Ironman.I tried to use the back half of the course to remain in 3rd and work the hills to extend the time over the guys behind me, while cheering on the BTC crew as I headed back into town.

I was pretty happy with 3rd considering where I am with my training at the moment and that the 2 guys who beat me were pro athletes. Looking forward to a rest week now and building up towards Port Douglas Triathlon in September. Well done to Dani, Nic, Loza, Bern, Charlie, Sonya, Saxon, Jeff and Kya who all competed and ran well too (lots of podiums and prizes), and Myza for her support.

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