A few years ago Hamilton’s Jason McCarthy would have laughed at the thought of describing himself as a runner. Running was the last thing he thought would appeal, but since challenging himself to get moving to help improve his fitness and lose some weight, he has gone on to complete a marathon – and is set to repeat the experience.
Hamilton runner Jason McCarthy completed his first full marathon this year and is continuing to pave the way towards his own finish line. Previously Jason completed two half marathons and ran regularly at a community park run, but competing in the Kirikiriroa Marathon in March was a whole other field of achievement.
The Kirikiriroa Marathon, which launched this year, is a Hamilton event designed to encourage experienced runners, as well as first-time marathoners to participate. The running course highlights significant features throughout Hamilton such as the Waikato River and bridges to create a scenic view for national and international runners.
“For me running is very relaxing and there is a definite goal to it,” says Jason.
“In the end I’m not competing against anybody else, I’m racing against myself, so for me it is a very individualistic thing. I’m not going to beat the rabbits or the endurance athletes, I want to beat myself, and that’s what it is all about.”
His main aim going into the marathon wasn’t to finish at a certain time, but simply to get across the line. He knew that he may have to walk at some point, but was determined to get there before the cut off time.
“I ended up walking the last 10km because I couldn’t run anymore. I knew my body could take it, but mentally I wasn’t prepared to go any further, because I hadn’t gone more than 30km in training.”
Six hours later, when he reached the finish line his family were cheering him on in celebration of his birthday and how far he had come.
“I entered in early November [last year]with my mother and that was our birthday present to each other.”
He hopes that he has helped to promote the health benefits, physically and mentally, that he has achieved from running.
He believes that often exercise can be the best thing for someone with mental health issues.
“There are doctors, counsell holistic approach to treating issues.”
Jason credits most of his physical and mental growth to the Hamilton Lake Park Run that takes place every Saturday at 8am. He says when he first started, Parkrun organiser Lex Chalmers, thought that he was going to have a heart attack on his first day.
Despite this setback, Jason was stubborn and kept at it. He appreciates how far he has come over the three years, but believes there is always room for improvement.
“It is not just about a process of running to point A, to point B and back to point C, but it’s also about pushing yourself and learning a lot about yourself.”
So what’s next for Jason? He has two more half distance marathons coming up at the end of the year and is currently a committee member of the Kirikiriroa Marathon event.
He says he is still eyeing up one of his goals to run (no walking) a whole marathon and hopes to achieve it soon.
“If I can do it anybody can do it.”
The Kirikiriroa Marathon launched in Hamilton last year and is designed to provide a challenge for experience marathoners as well as an opportunity for first-timers to enjoy the marathon experience. Being held on March 18, 2017 event options include the full marathon, 42km team relay and walkers. The course begins and ends in Hamilton Gardens and goes as far north as Horotiu Bridge. The Kirikiriroa Marathon is supported by Hamilton Road Runners, Hamilton Marathon Clinic, and Te Awamutu Marathon Clinic. Kirikiriroamarathon.co.nz
Entries for the Kirikiriroa Marathon are open now (kirikiriroamarathon.co.nz). For more info on the Hamilton Lake Parkrun check out the Hamilton Lake Parkrun Facebook page.