After 7 months of having moved to Qatar, I finally did a race. This was a Duathlon (3km run / 25 km bike / 3 km run) organized by a Qatar Petroleum employees’ club, called the Dukhan Water Sports Club.
The 90km drive with Tip was quite a pleasant one on a new highway. The QP security guards at Dukhan politely gave us directions to our destination.
Dukhan is an oil & gas town actually managed by Qatar Petroleum. It has thousands of residences for QP employees. I was taken aback by the beauty of Dukhan Beach upon our arrival.
The race was organized by QP’s staff, volunteers were the staff’s families, security was provided by QP’s own security, QP ambulances were on the route, a simple breakfast and lunch was also provided. I thought all this was pretty amazing.
The race categories were Men, Women, Team Relay, Boys and Girls. A total of 78 participants took. The school girls’ category only had one participant.
Four friends from our running club purchased brand new bicycles just one week previously. The running community here may be small, but they will wholeheartedly support whatever activity another runner is doing.
A few participants I could tell were very serious Ironman types, most though were there for fun.
THE ACTUAL RACE
The temperature must have been 40 degrees by the time the race started. It didn’t feel that uncomfortable though, the sea breeze must have helped.
I noticed the running club members (all very experienced marathon runners) stood at the back when the gun went off. Some of course went flying from the start, I felt very strained by the hard effort as I had not raced for such a long time. Tip was wondering why was I so far behind. All was not lost though as I finished the first run close to my regular run partners (Dave, David Thompson and Joyce Malley). The fast runners (Paul and Tony) had disappeared into the horizon, which was to be expected.
T1I struggled getting out of my running shoes into my cycling shoes, well its only a fun race. We had to run quite a bit with the bicycle for safety reasons, which was OK.
THE BICYCLE LEG (23 KM on my meter)
It took me quite a while to get into my rhythm. The bike route had lots of small roundabouts and speed bumps as it initially went through the residences. I heard a loud noise as I went over a speed bump. My saddle had dipped. Oh No!!! But I could still pedal, and the speed seemed about the same. So we were still in business.
We overtook a lot of the non cyclists until I couldn’t see anyone in front. Gosh I should have paid attention during the race briefing for the directions. I stopped to ask somebody walking whether I was going the right way. Straight ahead Sir, phew we are OK.
The really good cyclists, they were way, way in front.
Again I struggled big time trying to put on my running shoes. As I started my run, I saw Tony Salter and Dave coming in with their bicycles. Tony I know very well, he is an outstanding runner. I thought I would surely be caught.
Last leg (3 km run)The first male had finished before I started my run (so what’s new). The first female (she was greeting everyone) was also finishing. Suddenly we had to run into the desert. Oh no!, what’s this. I plugged along. Paint marks were on the ground to guide us along. I could see a runner in front, so he was my focus. To be frank I did my second run very well. I overtook the person in front as I was “running scared”. I just knew that Tony Salter was going to catch me. But he didn’t and at the finish, when I finally had the courage to look behind, there was no one there.
I was very happy, elated as the previous day, I couldn’t even finish the club’s long run properly.I congratulated and embraced the other club runners as they finished. It was a very nice day.
I was the eighth male (1 hour 22 mins). The first male’s time was a whopping 1 hour 4 minutes. The first female’s time was 1 hour 12 minutes.
Jiri, who won Sabah’s The Most Beautiful Thing 100KM Trail Run was the second male.
We hung around with the other club members for a simple kebab lunch. Tip enjoyed the day, which is probably the most important thing.
Now its time for Ironman Switzerland on 15 July 2012.