Thursday, January 1, 2009

Taipei Marathon

A week before christmas, four of us travelled to Taipei for the Taipei international marathon. While the guidebook for the Taroko marathon highlighted the participation of only two world-class marathon runners, both from Kenya, the guidebook for the Taipei marathon had pictures and stats for about 8 different high-level male and female runners from abroad. Was this a sign of something? Was the Taipei marathon going to be bigger and better than the Taroko Gorge marathon? The first thing I have to say about the race was that there were so many people that we didn't cross the starting line until eight minutes after the starting guns were fired. I was expecting that the situation would improve soon but the press of moving people continued to be a problem all the way through the ten kilometres of my run, from beginning to end. Just negotiating the eddies and currents in the flow of runners took a lot of my time and attention. The congestion on the course also meant that I couldn't just take off and exert myself because apart from the odd break or opportunity there were people around me all the time. I crossed the finish line having barely broken a sweat and having not had the opportunity to exert myself enough to generate one. The snack pack that everybody was collecting after the race turned out to be a disappointment: three different kinds of bread or cake. One of the things I look forward to after a run is the food, and eating all three pieces of bakery gave me a stomach-ache. One other thing you look forward to upon crossing the finish line is the opportunity to drink some water but it took me ages to find the water table. The organisers had not hired enough portable toilets and we spent the 20 minutes before the race queueing for the right to relief. Overall the race was a disappointment and I will not be participating in it again. However, we tried staying at a new hotel/hostel in Taipei, the Holo Guesthouse, and it was great. I'm sure we'll be back there but we won't be running any more marathons in Taipei. Here we are outside the Holo guesthouse. From left to right: Myself, John, Laura, and Andrea.

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