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  • Writer's pictureThomas Alexander

2021 - A Year in Review

This time last year I was injured, depressed and on the verge of quitting running following scans and tests that couldn't find what was wrong. The worst part was seeing everyone else out there on the trails and when your social circle is mostly other active runners, it can be very isolating.

Fast forward 12 months and I just had the best year running ever and now I'm someone who actually enjoys running on the road! This isn't a "things will always get better", East-17 seque (it would be if I could sync that here) but a turnaround that I'm amazingly grateful for.

When I raced triathlon, I never swam, ran a bit and rode a lot, because that was the best bang for buck, time-wise. Trail running is so cathartic but was never about competition for me which this last year on the road has reignited for me. That said, I'm not one to overestimate my abilities and the enjoyment in competition is about having fun and racing people no matter where we are in the pack.

The start of the 2021 NYE 8km - Focused Ninja Photography

Times are a way of benchmarking pace over time so useful as sub-goals but my main goal for the year was to enjoy running and all of the metaphors for life that we get out of it. I'm excited for 2022 and the fun that lies ahead, might be faster, or slower than 2021, but I'll be smiling regardless. So, for the record, here's how the races of last year played out:

Herdy's Frontyard Ultra - 26 March 2021

17 hours, approx 120kms. 27th place.

Received a free entry the week before this race, thanks Carly, whilst training for Busselton Half Marathon so totally unprepared had a great night but called it early when I started getting a sore quad. A great and fun event but not sure how these will work in my calendar as if I was racing properly my competitiveness is likely to see me bang myself up.

Asics Bridges Fun Run 10km - 11 April 2021

36:11.94* - 3:37/km - 31st of 952 - 10km PB.

Now this was fun! Torrential rain all morning made for a very slippery lap of the river in the Saucony Endorphin Pros. Even pace throughout and really enjoyed this one.

Slippery when wet

Busselton Half Marathon (cancelled) - 23 April 2021

1:19.47 - 3:47/km - run virtually so unofficial PB only

Thanks Covid. Originally in February, the race was postponed due to lockdown and then cancelled in April the night before with another lockdown. I drove 6+ hours there and back that night before headed out very frustrated to run a half round the streets. Unofficial PB and still my goal in a race setting.

Perth 32km - 9 May 2021

2:03.32 - 3:51/km - 4th place.

One of my best races of the year for consistent pacing, felt really strong and a nice distance. A bit like a marathon before the painful bit starts.

Rottnest Marathon - 13 June 2021

2:52.16* - 4:06/km - 8th of 235 - PB

Maiden marathon (I did run Auckland in 2017 after signing up the day before on a holiday) and most fun I've had in a race. Awesome course, even with the hills, weather, location, company, everything. Definitely on the calendar for 2022 and highly recommended.

Can you see why I loved Rottnest Marathon? Those views!

King of the Mountain - 27 June 2021

1:11.52 - 4:29/km - 10th of 266.

My only trail (yes I'm counting it) race of the year and that one hurt! Having not run any hills that year the climb smashed my quads although the downhill was so much fun it made up for the pain!

Col Junner Spring To It Run 10km - 11 July 2021

36:21 - 3:38/km - 5th of 78.

This one hurt too, went out strongly and died at the half way point. Big positive split but had run 20 kilometres that morning before the race so probably not the worst result but still missed the elusive sub 36... again!

Perth Half Marathon - 1 August 2021

1:20.48 - 3:49/km - 39th of 957.

Gale force winds and rain made this one an experience! Race went to plan on the way out for the first half but lost contact with the group I was pacing with and lost a little time on the way back. Trusted the garmin to pace me under 1:20 but it lied to me so kicked myself for missing that mark.

Cool, calm and positive splitting like a boss lol

Bibra Lake Marathon and Birdy’s Backyard Ultra were both DNS in August following a trifecta of minor injures and a chest infection. An expensive couple of weeks!

Perth Marathon - 17 October 2021

2:55.56 - 4:10/km - 35th of 701.

Disappointed in this one not because of the time but felt like I was mentally weak and lost that internal battle but take a lot of lessons away from that. Great to run with so many friends and supporters on the course too.

John Gilmour 10km (track) - 29 October 2021

36:30.00 - 3:39/km - 11th of 53.

First time on the track, humid but otherwise great conditions and another pacing fail, not realising how inaccurate watches were on the track. Despite that, paced my race consistently and happy with the slight negative split. Next time!

Fremantle Half Marathon - 28 November 2021

1:23.26 - 3:57/km - 14th of 1088.

Hottest race of the year and the time tells that story. This one was for fun so wasn't focused on times and had a great time, best atmosphere of the year with laps through the town and big crowds support.

Hot, humid but fun!

NYE Run 8km - 31 December 2021

29:04 - 3:38/km - 3rd of 233.

Awesome way to end the year with friends and a quick race round the river. Pace was a bit slow but was laden down post-holiday feasting. Definitely love evening races though and was a good race for 2nd before being blown away in the last kilometre, thanks Tris.

I'll be doing a lot of these races again in 2022 but there's so much on the calendar I don't like to get too far ahead of myself so one thing at a time. First up is Busselton Marathon on 12 February. Likely to be hot but a chance to benchmark fitness before other races get underway and will decide what's next depending how that goes.

At the end of 2021 my PBs are currently:

1km 3:02

5km 17:29

10km 36:11

Half Marathon 1:20.48

Marathon 1:52.18

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