CurraNZ ambassador smashes 30-year-old Australian 50km record

CurraNZ ambassador smashes 30-year-old Australian 50km record

YOU'RE never too old to break records, as CurraNZ athlete Andy Heyden reveals here in his great blog.

Having continued to break his PBs across all distances since using CurraNZ, here the seasoned distance runner talks about setting a new Australian 50km record for the over 45 age group, that had stood for 30 years.

Not only that, he improved his previous PB by a huge nine minutes.

Andy writes: "Back in April after my local virtual marathon PB, I set my sights on my next goal - my 50km PB and the Australian over-45s record.

I had a first crack in June but it was too soon after the marathon. Whilst I ran a small PB (3:15), I was some way short of the 3:06:29 record.

re-grouped and decided to have another attempt at 50km in a scheduled race in October in Victoria.

The event was cancelled so I worked with coach Gary Mullins at TRT Running to help set up our own time trial event. Gary and his laid out a half/marathon/50km on a flat loop in the lowlands out at Richmond on the outskirts of Sydney and arranged for the course to be officially certified and measured.

I had put in a solid block of training with some quality long runs, plenty of hills and some decent tempos. I knew my form was coming along when I ran a 10km time trial in late August in 33 mins with no taper in amongst a 125km week. 

On race day it was a cool 14 degrees and didn’t rise much from there. The course was a short first leg followed by seven laps of 6.68km (and a final 560m). My target pace was 3:43 for the Aussie age group record and 3:41 for the world age group record of 3:04:48 (also the English and British record), which was achievable but would be tough.

I dosed on CurraNZ in the days leading into the race and had two capsules 90 mins before the start.

We set out soon after 6am, around 15 runners chasing the marathon or 50km. I had planned to run with my coach and mate Gary who was also targeting the 50km records. On the day he decided he was going to go out at mid 3:30s to try and break his marathon PB then hold on for the 50km. 

I was churning out 3:44s and 3:43s but going any faster just wasn’t comfortable.

15km in and I got my mental game on and started to believe in myself. Two laps down and five to go.

Gary had now stretched out of sight but luckily I had my mate and awesome runner Dave to keep me company (a valid record needs a cyclist or runner with me at all times to confirm I had completed the course and not cut any corners).

Dave was superb, cool and calm, sharing KM splits and positive vibes. For once my Garmin measurement was matching the course and I knew the average pace was accurate. It had edged from 3:44 to 3:43 and we went through 25km in just over 1 hr 33 mins. Whilst the world age group record had slipped out of reach, the Aus record had not, but I had work to do.

I could see Gary ahead and this gave me more reason to fight hard and push on. I suffered a bit from the push past Gary and my legs started to tire, a few slower kms 3:45, 3:45, 3:47 and the average pace on 3:43 still. I knew the record was going to be close.

The tougher part of the course with the rougher surface, puddles and wind was now behind me and into the nice home straight with a final push, the 49th kilometre in 3:40.

I knew I needed to cross the lap/finish line in around 3:02:10 to give me 4 mins 10 to cover the final 1.12km. Going over the line, the watch said 3 hrs 01 something, so it was 'game on' and a final sprint.

My legs were getting heavy and my heart was pounding, I glanced at my watch leading towards the u-turn and the pace was 3:25. The turn hurt but my legs responded and got back up to speed fairly quickly. I glanced at the watch, head up with 100m to go and finally over the line in 3:05: 53. I had done it, shaving 36 secs off the Australian record. Plus a huge 9-minute PB.

I was spent and staggered around a bit then cheered Gary over the line.

I'm so glad to have something to show for my strong form this year and celebrated with a non-alcoholic beer before the drive home!

After the disappointment of the cancelled trip earlier this year for the London Marathon, the record attempt was a welcome focus.

It's yet another PB training on and racing with CurraNZ. It was very satisfying, although always dreaming big, I couldn’t help but reflect on whether I could have run 66 seconds quicker and nailed the world age group record………