The 2012 HBF Run For a Reason had 20,000 participants this year, most of whom ran past me at some point.
The day started with a fair degree of shivering as we waited on the train platform in the dark, digesting our special, pre-run breakfasts and making happy stranger chit-chat. A bus ride followed; depositing us at the start line with 45 minutes to spare. Here we watched the sunrise as dozens of men took the opportunity to urinate on a nearby wall (they really can’t hold their coffee), and shivered until the race started. A couple of celebrities roamed about as I snacked on my special, pre-race jelly snakes then did stretches by the curb.
At 8am the race began and having allocated myself to B group (finishing under 1.5 hours – ha ha!), I absorbed the warmth of football player types surrounding me and wondered whether they waxed or shaved. Sidestepping a couple of runners who did not see the raised curb and went flying into a bituman kiss; my 14km journey began, weaving down to Riverside Drive and up to the freeway.
(I always get a kick out of these events; not just because you get to run backwards up the freeway and through a tunnel normally filled with cars, but because everyone seems happy to be there).
With my euphoria abating and toes defrosting, I soon realized that 14km was a really, really long way.
My run was punctuated with thoughts of ‘gosh, there’s still 5km to go’, ‘is the 11km marker ever going to show?’ and ‘wow; I’m glad I don’t have a friend shouting at me to run faster like that bedraggled chick because, unlike her, I would swear.’
Silently, I divided up the pack in an effort to distract myself from the unreachable 11km mark: there were the Real Runners; buff, gorgeous specimens with sleek, shaved bodies; the Surgers – people that ran in 200 metre chunks, then walked, ran past you again, then walked; the Pushers who shouted encouragement at their victim/s, thus masking their own pain; the Gaspers; people who may never have run in their lives before and announced themselves like steam trains for a kilometre before you passed them; The Circus escapees who come to every event dressed to attract the cameras, and a steady, reliable group I like to call the Turtles.
Being a Turtle(I include myself here) has it’s benefits. We finish; we don’t sustain injuries or make dashes to the toilet; we go slow enough to enjoy the view – the foreshore, other runners taut behinds and the golf balls stuck in the fence; we consider the weather and really dont mind how long it takes us to arrive at the finish line.
The finish did arrive eventually and I took advantage of the free fruit and water, then made my way to the tents, wolfed a coffee and sausage bun down, and posed for a team photo. Then I jumped back on a bus, made more chit chat with strangers, caught a train and walked home from the station.
All in all; the perfect day.