A marathon in paradise.

Paradise Island with a “Mother of a Marathon.”

Next weekend I’m running the Rottnest Marathon for the 11th time. Without doubt this is my favourite marathon as it takes place in what I can only describe as ‘paradise’; from a runners point of view that is.  I admit some peoples idea of paradise may be a tad different to mine, maybe involving Casino’s , dancing girls, nightlife etc. For me it’s peace and quite, beautiful beaches and time with the family,  away from the hussle and bussle of life. Rottnest allows you and your loved ones to transcend back to a time before electronic devices (can we even remember that far back now?) when kids (and old runners) just enjoy being kids. How I miss the seventies…..

I’ve attached a few images of the Island but they really don’t do it justice, it really is so special you need to experience it yourself. The marathon itself it testing due to the heat and hills but the scenery helps, at least for the first couple of laps anyway , I’ve attached a post I wrote last year on the event below.

This weekend is the Rottnest marathon, probably my favourite marathon and one unfortunately this year I am going to have to miss. I’ve ran ‘Rotto’ ten times but being two weeks out from the World Masters marathon was just too close. I am big believer in a day a kilometre (‘ish)  to recover, at my age anyway. It normally takes me between 3-4 weeks to really get over a marathon. I know other runners who can recover a lot quicker. My mate Tony ‘T-train’ Smith takes about 12 hours and always winds me up on Strava the day following a marathon by running a sub 4min/k average run. Suicide but he seems to get away with it.

Rottnest is a small Island 30k from the Perth coastline. A pristine Island with numerous untouched beaches and no cars allowed so everybody bikes, or runs. It really is from a by-gone age and I’ve been holidaying there since the kids were babies. This year there is an inaugural half marathon so I have a race to keep me interested but it’ll be just two laps rather than the obligatory four I’m use to.  ( http://www.rottnestisland.com )

Each year we stay in the same apartment on the beach and as you can see from the photo below when I say on the beach I mean on the beach. A week at Rottnest is the perfect ‘down time’ after the Winter running season and the last marathon of the year. I have the 6 inch ultra marathon in December ( http://www.6inchtrailmarathon.com ) but that’s more of a long training run getting back to nature running some glorious trails. Next race of any significance isn’t until March next year when I race the Darlington half, then it’s Perth, City to Surf and Rottnest again. Maybe throw in an ultra or two, a sprinkling of shorter races and off we go again. Almost forgot the Australia Day Ultra in January ( http://australiadayultra.com ). I may race the 100k but I’m worried I’ll put too much weight on !!

Another glorious day on Rotto.
Another glorious day on Rotto.

Right back to Rottnest. A four lap course, with four good hills, runner unfriendly in my view. i.e. long undulating up sections with sharp down sections where you seem to get to the bottom too quickly before the next rise. It also gets pretty warm and windy. Finally did I mention the four hills, remember you need to times that by four for the four laps. So 16 runner unfriendly hills, 4 laps, it gets hot (and humid!) and windy. I’m not selling this am I, but the reason I love it so much is because of all the aforementioned issues. It is a hard marathon and these days there are fewer and fewer hard marathons where everybody is looking for a quick course. Rottnest is more about finishing rather than a time. It’s about going back to a by-gone age where life was just simpler and enjoying running a small marathon with good friends. There’s even a good pub on the Island where everybody congregates afterwards with the compulsory marathon war stories which get wilder and wilder the more they drink. This is then followed by the obligatory run to the last ferry when you realise you’re late.

Rottnest really is special and I urge you to click on the link at the start of this post to see the Island for yourself if you are not in Western Australia. You never know next year we may be lining up together at the start line together.

Assuming you didn’t sign up last year here are a few more images to try and convince you to come along in 2018, it really is worth the trip, big time !

On the new course you actually run past “the Basin”


The local wildlife, the friendly and adorable Quokka.


Rottnest even looks good in black and white. Briefly in the lead in 2015, didn’t last long.