Jogja Marathon – My First Road Marathon In Indonesia

The Course Description From The Event Website
The course is located at  Prambanan – Sleman The Special Region of Yogyakarta. This race runs through some villages’ road with Mount Merapi as the background and several historical ancient temples. The race village is located at  Taman Wisata Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temples Complex) which is 16 km away from the Yogyakarta downtown area.

Race In Style
Jogja marathon was my first marathon in Indonesia, and also my last long run training, 2 weeks , before Rinjani 100. Again, not like my usual dirtbag style runcation, I stayed at a pretty fancy hotel since I got a group discount from Canirunners. We even got our “private” bus to go to the race village in the morning from Jambuluwuk, the hotel we stayed at.
The race would start at 4.45 am, but we got there waaaay too early, probably 3 am. I ended up taking a nap on a wooden bench. My alarm woke me up probably 40 minutes before the race. When I got into the starting line, I think we didn’t have too many crowds, probably as much as a trail marathon race. Maybe this was because of their first year. We started at the parking lot of the ancient temple Prambanan (, with The temple’s light behind the darkness, it was actually quite a view. At the starting line, I placed myself a little bit further up to the front. I wasn’t sure how the course condition would be, I was afraid if it would be a one running lane on the main busy road, it would be sucky. It was pretty dark when we started. I wished I had my headlamp, I stepped on plenty pot-holes or over some pebbles. Soon I got off from the crowds and we had a good space spread out between us runners. We started run on and off between villages and roads that cut through a padi field. At this point I was still on my sub 3:30 goal pace. I was still under-trained but I believed I could pull it off. Despite I had been running sans the sun, I was drench already, and it raised a little concern. Luckily, I had my OrangeMud handheld bottle with a Tailwind juice. When the Sun started to shine, the course were going North and getting uphill, about 300 meters ish elevation gain. I already knew that half of the race would be uphill, and would go down after. So I decided to tone down my pace a little, and I would make it up on the down hill. A bunch of runners passed me, but oh well, I had no business to compete anyway.

Road Marathon With Trail Race Scenery
If you did not know me, I always despise road race especially marathon and longer. I found it is boring to run around through city, highway and what not. But this race was something different, not only I ran through some lovely villages with lovely people, some padi fields, but also Mount Merapi was decorating the background view in front of me. I could not get enough of the view.
When I got into mile 10, I became impatient. I boosted my pace back when I got into the turn around point aid station, where I started to run toward to the South. Then after a couple of miles, the course was getting downhill that helped me to keep my pace. Although the road condition was a little messy, which I did not mind. It kept me entertained and focus.

Blast To The Past
From here to mile 15-16 ish, it was like a dream. I felt pretty good and I managed to move upward, passing a few runners. But after this point, suddenly I could feel the heat and humidity started to burn me out. I think I felt a little overheated and my heart rate felt a bit too hard, so I slowed down my pace. I tried to use my gel to give me a little boost, and again this gel was bad again, the same problem that I had in Guntur Goat Run race. Though it stung my throat, but it was not as bad as in Guntur. At the next aid station I took a gulp of water to wash down my gel and another glass to splash my head to cool off. It felt good. I felt a bit better for the next few miles. In one of the junctions, probably it was a market area since it was busy, I almost made a wrong turn, I miss-understood the marshal’s direction for a motorcycle, thought she asked me to turn right. Then, there was a long road towards the East, and the road was pretty exposed for a good 2 or 3 mile where I became even slower from the beaten heat and humidity. God, this was only 7 am in the morning, blessed the race organizer that they made us started at 4.45 am. I think at this moment I ran pretty slow, which was a disaster pace for my marathon goal, but I guessed it was a wise decision not to die over a marathon. There were a shower station, but I preferred to finish my race as soon as I could then make a stop. Thanks God the next section had more coverage from trees, and here where I started to meet the half marathon runners and probably 10 and 5 K runners. It was kinda good to have people around me running after about an hour by myself. But the downside, some of them were slow jogging, walking, or even did some selfies, so it was another challenge to pass them. After a few turns that make me lost my bearings, I was surprised when I entered one of the ancient temple sites. It was, somehow, magical and so beautiful. I might have stop for a split of seconds just to make a quick observation. I was too lazy to take a pictures, I just wanted to finish this road marathon. From here to the finished line I was on the brink to die from the heat and hit the wall multiple times. I might had run too fast at the beginning that I was total now. I ran in and out of ancients temples sites, which was pretty cool. I forced myself to keep moving, kept telling myself another 5 minutes, every other 5 minutes. Then I went into the parking area, so I thought, and I tried to ramp up my pace. Finally I saw the finish-line gate. And it was done and done.

It was not my best time in road marathon, it was far away from my PR and my race goal, I hit the wall so many times, spiked my heart rate and overheated a couple of times too, but Jogja Marathon was the most scenic marathon yet. It got a special place in my heart, hands down. The volunteers and aid station were great and full of smile. The most impressed me was the local people, they were welcoming and cheering us in every miles, with an encouraging words, and the warmest smiles. And as a bonus, I was surprised to have #7th in Open Male category, and 13th overall. Oh also the Event Organizer made mistake on my age at the result. I had emailed them about this issue, but somehow they did not make any revision for the result, 2 months after.