It is only the 2nd of March but I am already getting excited about April being just around the corner. I don't think anyone can really argue with the proposition that April really is the best month of the year.
Locally it has three of the best races on the WA Marathon club calendar, the Bridges 10k (1 April), the Challenge 10k (15 April) and the Perth 32k (29 April).
Bridges and Challenge are both pretty quick 10k courses, especially Bridges and they always draw a big field.
To accommodate the much promised but not yet commenced waterfront development, (which is looking very much like another Liberal Government non-achievement), it has been announced the start/finish area for the Bridges 10k has been moved back to near Langley Park and will now be run in anti-clockwise direction around the bridges.
The race will start west of Plain Street on Riverside Drive heading West towards the Narrows, over the Narrows on the Eastern footpath, through South Perth and onto the Causeway before running back along Riverside Drive to a finish on Langley Park. If the weather is anything like it has been for the past week or so, or how it was last year, this means a headwind when running on the South Perth side and tailwinds at the start and finish. I quite liked the clockwise direction because it was easier to tuck in out of the headwind at the start before things spread out too much but it will be nice to come off the Causeway with a tailwind to drive you on to the finish.
My only gripe is with Challenge 10k still starting the 3km and the 10km together as the 3km always has heaps of kids who put themselves right up the front at the start. It isn't a particularly wide start area and it can be quite dangerous. I'm not sure what the solution is but I think one needs to be found.
I have found the 32k to be an essential race for runners training for a June/July marathon such as Gold Coast or Perth. The course profile is flat similar to both Perth and Gold Coast and it provides an excellent opportunity to run some or all of the race at marathon pace, supported by drink stations while still getting in 20 miles. It can be a big confidence booster if you get it right and it is a great feeling knowing that you are already on track for your goal time as early as April when you still have 6-8 weeks to go.
April is also of course, the best month of the year for big overseas marathons with Rotterdam on 15 April, Boston on 16 April and London on 22 April.
I'll post up details of where and how we can watch these races closer to the time but the elite fields for the men's races make me think that we may see the world record go again.
London has an unbelievable 10 runners with sub 2:06 PBs while Boston has "only" 5. Rotterdam has one of my absolute favourite marathoners Moses Mosop who ran 2:03 in his debut at Boston last year, then broke the 25k and 30k world records on the track before winning the Chicago Marathon in a course record 2:05 when it is said he was only 80% fit. I reckon if conditions are good at Rotterdam and the pacing is right, he might go under 2:03.
Boston’s Mens Field
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) 2:03:02
Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia) 2:04:53
Levy Matebo (Kenya) 2:05:16
Wilson Chebet (Kenya) 2:05:27
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (Ken) 2:05:52
Laban Korir (Kenya) 2:06:05
Wesley Korir (Kenya) 2:06:15
Bernard Kipyego (Kenya) 2:06:29
David Barmasai – (Kenya) 2:07:18
Dickson Chumba (Kenya) 2:07:23
Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya) 2:07:36
Peter Kamais (Kenya) 2:07:37
Mathew Kisorio (Kenya) 2:10:58
Frankline Chepkwony (Ken) 2:10:59
Jason Hartmann (USA) 2:11:06
Michel Butter (NED) 2:12:59
Antonio Vega (USA) 2:13:47
London’s Mens Field
Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) 2:04:40
Patrick Makau (Kenya) 2:03:38
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) 2:03:42
Abel Kirui (Kenya) 2:05:04
Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) 2:05:13
Martin Lel (Kenya) 2:05:15
Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) 2:05:18
Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) 2:05:23
Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) 2:05:25
Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) 2:05:27
Marilson Gomes dos Santos (Brazil) 2:06:34
Markos Geneti (Ethiopia) 2:06:35
Yared Asmerson (Eritrea) 2:07:27
Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea) 2:07:28
Abreham Cherkos (Ethiopia) 2:07:29
Abderrahim Bouramdane (Morocco) 2:07:33
Adil Annani (Morocco) 2:10:15
Scott Westcott (Australia) 2:11:36
Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) 2:12:03
Rotterdam Men's Field
Moses Mosop (Kenya) 2:03:06
Sammy Kitwara (Kenya) Debut marathon - 58:48 half marathon
Peter Cheruiyot Kirui (Kenya) 2:06:31 (paced Makau in Berlin and Kipsang in Frankfurt last year)
Basically, all the top Kenyans are racing with 7 days of each other. Previously the Kenyan federation said that Abel Kirui was pre-selected for the Olympics as he had won the previous two World Championships but I have seen more recent reports that they may now be backing away from that. In a way, it is not surprising given that there are four other guys who have now run sub 2:04.
And of course, the last reason why April is the best month of the year is that it is my birthday at the end of the month, although as you get older these are less welcome than they used to be. This one is a bit of a significant one though as I move up to the M45-49 age group.
Training has been going well and I ran a really solid tempo workout this morning. My workouts are getting progressively more specific which means that they are also getting a bit harder each week. Next week's Tuesday intervals will be 8 x 1km with a 2 min jog recovery which will give me a further indication of where I am at and how I should train over the next couple of weeks.