Headwind hampers athlete

Big effort. . . Gore Athletics Club member Hannah Miller looks comfortable as she competes in the Woodlands Marathon in Houston Texas on Saturday. Miller finished in second place overall and first place in the womens event. PHOTO: SCOTT FLATHOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

Hannah Miller gave it her best shot, but a headwind in the second half of the Woodlands Marathon has helped thwart her bid to run a world championships qualifying time.

The Gore Athletics Club runner was hoping to qualify for the marathon event at the International Amateur Athletics Federation World Championships in Oregon in July.

She completed the race in 2hr 38min 29sec, outside the time she was aiming for of 2.29:30.

For all that, Miller was the first woman home and second overall in a field of 791.

Miller said the first half of the race went well and she achieved her halfway time goal of 1.15.

“Then I hit a bit of a headwind and missed one of my hydration stops, so that made it a bit challenging to stay on pace.”

In hindsight, given the conditions she might have changed her race plan.

“But that was the goal pace and I had to give it a crack.

“It made the second half brutal, but that’s why we race, to test ourselves and see what’s there.”

Her average pace for the race was 3.46 minutes per kilometre.

Apart from a short stint where she ran alongside a male half-marathoner, she ran the event solo.

“It definitely would have been helpful to have someone to work into the wind with and to just mentally match that energy.

“I have trained and practised alone and was prepared for both the physical and the mental grind.”

It was disappointing not to achieve her target but she was proud of her effort.

“I had the phrase ‘do not go quietly’ written on my hand and that was definitely my mindset throughout.

“I was committed to leaving everything out there even if it meant red-lining around mile 19 and grinding the last seven out. ”

She could confidently say there was nothing left in the tank when she crossed the finish line.

She was also pleased that when she starting running into the headwind she did not lose her composure.

“I knew dwelling on the fact I wasn’t going to hit the time would put me in a reactionary space and hinder my performance further.”

Instead, she chose to focus on winning the race and completing a sub-2.40 debut.

The support on the sideline was very uplifting.

” It was really special to run past wee girls on the side line and hear them scream ‘go girl’.”

She would attempt another marathon after she arrived back in New Zealand in April.

“Beyond that I will look to compete at Oceanias in Aussie in early June in the 5000m and 10,000m.”