Not fun! (about: 2008)|
Ted Stoves from Oslo, Norway (6/30/08)
4-5 previous marathons
| 1 North Sea Beach Marathon
First of all, I ran the 21.1-KM half marathon, which I chose because I was apprehensive about the sand. This apprehension proved well founded. The setting of this unique "jog" is more akin to a deserted coastline of untouched Australia. Broad, white, sandy beaches steeped by rolling sand dunes give this location an almost moon-like appearance - apart from the sea, that is....
Running on sand must be an acquired art. It seems that the nearer the water you run, the firmer the footing, but then you run the risk of getting your feet wet, which is a big no-no. This course was broken down into 3 categories: 1/3 is compounded sand, easy to run on but not as good as tarmac; 1/3 is semi-compounded, not easy to run on but you can maintain your balance and momentum; and the other 1/3 is soft sand or shingle, which is like running with heavy, soggy boots and a chain around your ankle. These soft sand/shingle areas are so energy-sapping that I had no option but to walk through many of them. You place your foot into the sand, your body wobbles, and you stumble and throw your arm out in front to balance yourself before your next foot lands. And so it continues until you reach firmer ground. One of the most demoralizing aspects of this course is that the final kilometer is on this "soft sand," and a teasing "FINISH" banner sits above a line that is not the finish line. The finish line was 100 meters farther away, with the deepest, softest, most energy-sapping sand in the middle. I finished this in a record-breakingly bad time, physically and mentally wrecked and in need of some severe R&R. I will NEVER underestimate the power of sand again and i feel humbled by its ability to turn a man into a wobbling mess.
Be under no illusion: this course is arduous; do not take part unless you are made of STEEL! I wasn't and paid the price. Back to city routes for me.