Melbourne Marathon 10k event – 12th October 2014.

This was a race plan that went off track long ago. I was signed up for the half marathon very early on but came to grief in April when I ran my longest run interval of 4km before pulling up extremely sore on the outside of my knee. Months of resting for a few weeks and then trying to run again didn’t help so I finally saw an osteopath and a physiotherapist. The physio confirmed my fears and diagnosed me with iliotibial band friction syndrome. This wasn’t going to be a quick fix but it could be done with a lot of glute strength building!

So the race plan had to change. There was no time to recover and train for the half. I switched to the 10k and knew I could run/walk it and not do myself any damage and, most importantly, enjoy the day with the team. Unfortunately the issue hadn’t resolved itself at all and I was still in pain at the start of September. Plan C time. I decided to not run before race day, a whole month off, and just play it by ear on the day. It was still all about being there with the team and I knew I wasn’t going to hurt myself further otherwise I would have pulled out altogether.

I was terribly nervous leading up to race day. I had only run with other people once before and I felt like I held them up because they ran faster/longer than I did. Despite their assurance that they just wanted to run as a team, I felt bad for a long time. For the Melbourne 10k, I had 2 wonderful women, Rachel and Kate, say they were going to stay by my side, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to run it all and possibly not any of it. This made me so nervous!! I didn’t want to hold anyone up again but I learned a valuable lesson this time, one I wish I had learned the first time and one you’ll have to keep reading to find out…

Race day was preceded by a wonderful team dinner the night before. It was great to sit and chat to most of the team and get some of the nerves dealt with and meeting points organised. I find it very hard to sleep the night before a race but I did manage it and soon it was time to get up and head to the city!

Rach, Kate and I lined up for the 10k, took some selfies (of course!) and then it was time to go! I was still nervous about running beside team mates but I decided to just do what I could and walk when I needed to because I trusted that the girls were happy with that (I’d made them promise they would run ahead if they wanted to). I managed a few walk/run intervals but by the 3k mark I was already feeling a tightness in my hip and a sharp pain at the side of my knee. The running was over for the day, I wasn’t going to risk not making the finish line. For the next 7k we walked and chatted, laughed and enjoyed the scenery. It was such a lovely day and I had the best time. I still can’t believe how fast the time went! We made it to the finish line and collected our awesome medals which says “Run as one”. That’s exactly what we had done and I am so thankful to both Rach and Kate for sticking with me. Operation Move is all about support and encouragement and I saw the best of it that Sunday!

The day just kept getting more exciting from there. We waited near the finish line for the half marathoners to come through and cheered each of them as they went by. So much pride!! They’d all done a fantastic job. Then it was time to head over to the other finish line and wait for Zoey and Karen to bring it home in the Marathon. I’ve never sat and watched the finish of a marathon before and it was an experience I’ll definitely have again. It was amazing! People dancing over the line, so ecstatic to be finished, others almost crawling, in so much pain and cramping badly but determined to get to the line. Then there was the two men practically carrying another man over the line because he didn’t have the strength to go on (one of the helpers happened to be the husband of a Mover!) there wasn’t a dry eye in the place!

It was an amazing day, full of team spirit and personal triumph. There’s so much more to race day than racing.


Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. I have got goose-bumps reading this. What a wonderful experience and what a great team ! Have the best day !

    • Zoey Dowling

      Thanks Me! It really was an amazing day. I thought I'd be sad about not fulfilling my goals but I wasn't even one bit sad thanks to this amazing team!

  2. Zoey Dowling

    Tears! I was so happy and proud to be there with you after all you had been through. It would have been so easy for you to give up and you didn't! xx