Marathon travel is a trend that’s here to stay. Take Brenda: A keen marathon runner and traveller, the Wellington runner likes to combine the two whenever she can. But combining racing and sightseeing can get a bit tricky – after all, you need your legs and stamina for both.
With 10,000 runners gearing up to take part in the Queenstown International Marathon this month, many of them travelling from overseas and other parts of the country, we got some tips from Brenda on how to successfully combine marathon running and travelling.
Time it right
Timing is imperative, Brenda says. “Before the race you want to rest your legs a bit so they’re fresh for the run, and after you might be sore. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan ahead and prioritise the things you want to see most.” It also helps to plan the race for the beginning of the trip – that way after you’ve done the race, you have plenty of time for sightseeing and exploring.
Taking the right gear
Packing for comfort – and of course style – is important. “I make sure I bring my favourite shoes, and the clothes I plan to run in.”
Brenda has some other race essentials too. “I'm addicted to my GPS watch and I will definitely bring this – and make sure it's fully charged for the morning of the race!”
Packing: it’s not just about clothes
Brenda prefers taking her own nutritional products and medical supplies. “Gels are often provided by the race organisers, but they may not be my preferred flavour or brand, so I take my own.” She also brings protection from chafing in the form of a lubricant like anti-chafe balm and plasters for ‘hotspots’, which she’s usually identified on her long runs before the race.
Preparation is key
So she feels fully prepared, Brenda checks any necessary information for the race before her trip. This includes where and when to check in, and the location of the finish line.
For a good night’s sleep and minimum fuss, she also likes to lay out everything she’ll need in the order she’ll need it for the morning of the race, including breakfast.
The best place to stay
The closer to the race, the better when it comes to your accommodation. “I think it's helpful to stay near the start of the race you plan to run so you aren't stressed on the morning of the race just trying to get to the start line,” Brenda says.
Factor in jet lag
Do consider jetlag when travelling overseas, Brenda warns. “Last year I convinced my brother to come to New Zealand from South Carolina for an ultramarathon. That's a 16-hour time difference! He arrived two days before so he'd have time to adjust. I personally would give myself at least two days to get past the fatigue of travelling and jet lag.” But it was worth it for Brenda’s brother, who ran the marathon not only with his sister, but an old friend too. “Back when we were in high school, my brother and his friend Landon ran cross country and somehow convinced me to join the team.” She wasn’t so keen to start off with. “It took a lot of convincing from the guys! I played soccer through high school, and prior to cross country I thought of running as a necessity to get you around the soccer field rather than a goal in and of itself.”
But Landon had a reason to be persistent – he had a crush on Brenda. And his persistence paid off. Not only did Brenda get bitten by the running bug, but love eventually blossomed between the two, who have been happily married for nine years and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their firstborn. Time will tell whether their son will get into running too. Brenda for one, will recommend it to him as a hobby. “It’s become my way to clear my mind and just relax. Sometimes I'll be worried about some problem I'm having at work or a decision I need to make that seems difficult, but once I go for a run, the path forward becomes so much clearer for me.”
She also enjoys the opportunity it gives her to travel. “When we’re travelling, I enjoy going for a run in the area we are staying, I can see so much more than when I’m walking, but still really get to absorb my surroundings, which you don't get to do if you are riding in a car.”
If you’re heading to the Queenstown International Marathon and need some great gear to help you run a personal best, pop into one of our participating dealers or check out our website.
Brenda’s favourite marathons:
“I really enjoyed the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. There were bands at every mile, perfect weather, and beautiful scenery. I also happened to run this race with my husband and my brother, the same two crazy people who got me into running in the first place!”
“The Rotorua Marathon is a great local race. I ran the half-marathon course last year and the best part was the start and finish were only a five-minute walk from home!”
Packing with for the Queenstown International Marathon with ASICS
The gear that will help you run your best time – and explore the city in style afterwards
Need to know
When is the Queenstown International Marathon?
Saturday, 18 November 2017
How many runners will take part in the Queenstown International Marathon?
Organisers are expecting about 10,000, up from 9,544 last year – a record number to date.
Where can I get marathon merchandise?
There’s a great range of official ASICS NZ event merchandise for 2017 available here stock is limited, so get yours quickly before it runs out!