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Turtle last won the day on April 18

Turtle had the most liked content!

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About Turtle

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    Who is Betty Ford anyway?
  • Birthday September 25

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    Perth, WA

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  1. I once had one pedal removed/stolen before a BRW in Sydney after I'd put it in transition. Only found out when I took off in the cycle leg. Obviously someone entered who hadn't ridden for ages. Got their bike out of the shed the night before and needed a few bits and pieces...
  2. Human beings.... strange creatures. That's so wrong.
  3. Firstly, thanks to Flanman and Johan who answered my call re: finding someone who'd been to the DPRK. As much as I was keen to do the Pyongyang marathon for sporting but also personal interest reasons, I naturally felt some concern. The couple of people I did meet/spoke to, who'd been in, allayed my fears and I'm now so glad I went. It definitely was a trip/marathon of a lifetime. I went with Koryo group who have been going into the DPRK for 22/23 years now and are the most experienced, well connected and respected travel group for this region. They were incredibly professional. You have to be guided in North Korea, whether you go on a group tour or hire guides and drivers. Naturally, our group was there for the marathon so it was a group of like minded individuals. Pyongyang is an incredible, and yes, despite stories to the contrary, functioning, city. In fact it is really rather beautiful. Willow trees line the river and the blossom came out the week we were there. Although slightly shabby and aging, it is also impeccably clean. You definitely notice the lack of cars and also the lack of visual pollution (signage). Pyongyang is the capital and privileged but we did travel down to the DMZ/border and travelled through the country side and villages on the way. Oxen are still used in the country side and it is sad to see the affects of mismanaged agricultural practices made worse by their susceptibility to floods. Saying that, it is no where near as bad as our media makes out. It's funny: some things we saw or were told were weird, and yet, so much was so much more normal than I expected. We were there the week of the big Kim Il Sung 105th birthday (you would have seen all the media on tv). We saw them cleaning the streets and squares, and practicing their parades. A lot of the women wore their national dresses and we saw them partaking in 'mass dances' which was lovely to see. The marathon itself was an absolute blast. Perfect weather conditions - blue sky an sunshine albeit a little wind. We started at Kim Il Sung Stadium and this year they changed it from a 4 loop course to an out and back. They had three distances: marathon, 1/2 marathon and a 10km. We all entered the stadium in front of a crowd of 50,000 cheering people (the closest I'll ever get to feeling like an Olympian!) and lined up in the centre in groups to 'pay our respects' (ie. bow) to the pictures of the 2 Kims. The North Koreans are well practiced in lining up - us westerners were rather a bedraggled lot! The marathon started first and we went left the stadium out onto the main streets of Pyongyang, past the Triumphant Arch, the Kim Il Sung Square (the big square you see in the media when they're doing their military parades) and out to the city limits. The streets were lined with people and kids clapping and cheering and saying Ppali Ppali (Bali Bali - bit like alle alle/ go go...). Just like any other marathon, parents/grandparents holding kids and waving; kids grouped together watching and giggling etc... In fact this was one of the times we were relatively 'free' to see NK society functioning on a sunny Sunday. Due to tearing an ankle ligament (again) and having a month off running right in the middle of training, I knew I wasn't going to make the new cut off time of 4hrs. Yes, they changed it from 4:30 to 4:00 about two days before I flew out. That's just typical North Korea for you - things change. Roll with it. There was an option to drop down to the 21km but I really wanted to do this marathon so I stuck with the 42. At about 18km I thought there was a slim chance I could make the cut off - then I turned at the 21km straight into a head wind and realised I'd been running with the assistance of a tail wind. Damn! Oh well. As much a I hate wearing a fuel belt, I decided to carry one here as there only water to be provided every 5km. This was fortunate as for a BOP'er like myself (well in this event anyway - The North Korean only put their elite in so the tail end was just foreigners) they started to remove the stations after this and also remove the road marker cones! Talk about NK efficiency! At about 35km the I spied the dreaded yellow sweeper bus. Two North Koreans were standing by the door and as I came up they said 'Miss, you need to get on the bus'. I noticed two runners further ahead from me and guessed that they'd decided to keep running so I declined. "No thanks" and just kept running - not sure whether that was a dumb move or not. They weren't in uniform so I wasn't too worried. I trundled on as I figured, if I don't make the finish line, I'd rather run back to the stadium than take the bus. With 2-3km to go the bus came past again. I debated whether to run around the non-door side of the bus. This time they were a little more forceful and said 'Miss - you are the last (which I was most definitely not), you have to get on the bus' to which I replied "I'm not the last and I'm not getting on the bus". I tried to keep looking straight ahead and not give them eye contact and just keep running. I could see the arms of other athletes who'd done what they were told, resting along the window sill. So on I went, knowing now that I'd missed the 4hr cut off. Oh well. Within about 1km the bus came by and I'm not sure whether there had been a mutiny on board or what but the driver let the runners off. One guy got off right beside me a said 'well done you for being stubborn. I wished I hadn't got on as now I feel I haven't done the full marathon. We all admired you'. Ha ha. So I made it back but they would let me do the last lap inside the stadium. They were already handing out the prizes to the winners. Never mind I still managed to get a medal so I will now engrave it with: DNF, 41.88km, 4hr 26min.!!! Just makes it as unique as Pyongyang itself is. Who knows, when these current troubles die down, I may go back and give it another crack! It certainly was unique. I loved every minute of my trip and I wouldn't hesitate to return.
  4. Kim, you should know from your very own Pyonyang marathon, that toilets are a treat. With Pyongyang, you had to go into selected buildings on the side of the road, and often up a filght of stairs to the first floor! (luckily I didn't need to go).
  5. I didn't hear it but then again our hotel was on a semi-island so that we couldn't leave. A huge hotel of about 48 storeys. I was on the 25th floor and you can open the windows!! Gorgeous view. The river and city look spectacular on a sunny morning. They do have patriotic music on the metro and on big screens in the squares. I'll aim to write a report and add some pics soon.
  6. The North Koreans only put their elite in for the 42km, 21km and 10km - so only westerners up the back! The stadium was full and walking in was like walking in to the Olympics (not that I'd actually know). It was fabulous. Apart from lack of aid stations post 25km and them dismantling the course, it was brilliantly organised and the course this year was an out and back unlike previous years where it was 4 x 10km loops - so, much better.
  7. Well I did it! An absolutely amazing experience. Unfortunately the Friday before I flew out they changed the cut off time from 4hr 30min back to 4hours. Having done an ankle ligament and generally being a turtle, I knew that was out of reach but I made it back to the stadium in 4hr 23-26...wasn't allowed to do the final 400m. So a DNF medal kind of...kind of not. Due to the time pressure, they stopped providing aid stations after the 25km mark for us slowies. They even started removing the road cones which provide directions. Harsh! Towards the end the yellow sweeper bus tried to make me get on and end my race. I refused. With 2km to go this guy goes "miss, you are the last, get on the bus". I rather boldy (stupidly? bravely?) replied "I'm not the last and I'm not getting on your bus. They probably don't get many interactions with tall, western, strong women! A few others had got on the bus and told me afterwards, they wish they hadn't. So I'm glad I stuck to my guns. I North Korea (or DPRK as they like to be referred to) is an incredible place. So normal and pretty in some respects but of course strange and sad in others. Luckily the complete lack of communications kept us in semi-ignorant bliss of what was going on on the grander scale. If/when things calm down I would not hesitate to recommend joining Koryo Tours (sponsors of the marathon and organizer of 6 marathon tour groups). It's certainly a marathon with a difference. My next marathon is Medoc in Bordeaux - a run and giggle around the chateaus in costume and drinking wine. I'm aiming for 8hrs!! ha ha. A bit different to Pyongyang I'm sure.
  8. I hate you too Roxii. I'd love to run a sub 4 marathon... I think I'd retire on a 3:29!!! Great thread though. I'm learning stuff.
  9. Hi, Has anyone used this belt? know where to get on in Australia? Cheers Turtle
  10. Oh Ayto - that's tough. Through and through. Unfortunately I have no advice but thoughts and hugs are with you at this really sh*t time. Hang in there.
  11. Just got back from the KI Imperial. CEM - It's exactly as your report reads. The best organised race and such value for money. Really worth doing. Next year is the 25th anniversary and they're hoping for some quality competitors. This year we had Olympic Walker Rhydian Cowley and his girlfriend Amelia Aslanides take part. Smokin' - Amelia broke the women's record. I think Steve Monaghetti still holds the men's record. Highly recommend putting it on your calendar for 2018. Being a handicap event there's no such thing as being a BOP'er...unless you're fast!!! Ha ha.
  12. Yes. Music whilst running is an aid. No - the person with the earphones doesn't hear other runners, TO calls etc. It's a safety factor.
  13. Music is an aid. It's also unsafe if someone is trying to pass.
  14. I don't wear Hokas because my podiatrist advised me against them. I doubt from an anti-Hoka point of view, rather probably my feet pov. I've pretty much worn Brookes or Mizunos the last few years. He suggested this time for me to go for Mizuno Enigmas. So far so good. I have incredibly flexible (aka unstable) ankles with only 1 ligament really working in one. Great work Willie on doing the research etc. I wish all shoe fitters were 1/2 as knowledgeable. Good luck with the shop.
  15. Great work Paul. It was a tough day out there. The 'weather' was great but the 'ocean conditions' were tough. Such a strong current and very lumpy for the first few km's. Freezing cold patches towards Rotto and sadly the water was dark most of the way despite the sunny weather. Usually you get a beautiful vista of the ocean floor most of the way over. Our team was 35mins slower than last year. We surprised ourselves by coming 2nd in our age group for teams. Hats off to all the solos who made it and commiserations to those who didn't - we saw a guy pulled out at 19km....so sad!