Southern Lakes Half Marathon

Cardrona to Wanaka

I ran in the Southern Lakes Half Marathon (21km) in the weekend which goes from Cardrona into Pembroke Park in Wanaka.

I’ve taken part in a lot of events recently,  so as this drew closer, I didn’t actually have a huge amount of drive for it – knowing I can run 21km and also not feeling fit enough to really smash out a great time didn’t help.

After a busy week, I was a little unorganised come the morning of and it was SO COLD that it took me a while to organise myself.

I went for a quick run at home as a warm-up prior to heading out to Cardrona, as sometimes I find it hard to concentrate and focus when you get to the start line.  The intention was to warm up for longer – but I ran out of time.

There were around 350 people in the race, all jogging around at the start line trying to keep warm. I did a small run and then made my way to the start.

Running a negative split

The plan for this race was to run a negative split – so run the second half faster than the first. Based on what we (Coach Merryn and myself) know about my pace/HR zones we decided to go for a 5.10 pace for the first half and then a faster 4.50 pace for the second half. The plan was to get a time of under 1hr 50mins.

A couple of km’s in I noticed I was going way faster than I intended to at about 4.30 pace and getting swept along with all the other runners. I made a conscious effort to slow down and try stick to the plan as I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain that pace and would pay for it later.

I slowed down to 4.50 and decided to stick with that as it was very comfortable and my HR was only in Zone 2 – well below my threshold, so to me that seemed fine.

Allowing myself to slow down and not have any pace pressure for the first half of the race allowed me to find a really good rhythm and it was very enjoyable and surprisingly unpainful. By the time I got to halfway, my legs felt great and I was mentally prepared to pick up the pace.


I took a gel and half a glass of electrolytes at every aid station (there were three) so this provided me with the extra boost I needed.

Pushing through those final kilometres

I picked up the pace after half-way and dropped down to 4.30ish and started to get into more of a focused/competitive mind frame. As I progressed slowly I could see the goal of running a sub 1hr 40mins becoming a possibility and this provided me with plenty of motivation to keep pushing.

It was great to be able to run strong at the end and it’s motivating to be able to pass people towards the end of the race. I like to pick out people out as targets and make it a goal to pass them.

There was a group of about five girls running together, and I watched them for probably about half an hour trying to get closer and eventually I was able to pass them which was a nice little achievement.

Strong Finish

There were a couple of hills throughout the course and towards the end – having done a fair bit of hill work & the Motatapu Ultra recently I was able to power up these without them really affecting my pace.

I picked up the pace in the last kilometre to finish under 1hr 40mins which was pretty tough, I wasn’t too sure where the finish line was but was sad when I saw I had to run all the way around the park to get to the finish line!

My watch had the finish line at 180 metres longer than 21km – which doesn’t sound like very far but it was a very tough last few hundred metres. Nearly at vomiting point, but managed to get it under control and finished in a time of 1.39.44 – a new PB and benchmark for next year!


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