Last Sunday we took part in a 5.5km run to raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital here in Melbourne. As usual, we were a bit late for the event. Never one to pop out of bed with a smile, the difficulty level was set even higher when it involved both Peter and Aidan getting up early as well. With the starters gun set to go at 8:10am, it was always a challenge. And we wanted to pop by the local bakery for some breakfast on the run! So by any measure for us, this is early. Ok, I know the phrase “the early bird gets the worm.” But have you ever considered what happens to the early worm? YUP, IT GETS EATEN!
So, unlike normal runners who probably arrived at 7:00am, checked in their bags, warmed up and were raring to go at 8:00am, we were still looking for a park. Fortunately, we found one at our planned spot (you can never tell with road closures), we were literally off and “running” to get to the start line as quickly as we could. Knowing we were going to cut it close, we didn’t even plan on bringing any carry-on bags to check-in. We’re Spartan when it comes to things like this. We’re just going to run in the clothes we came in. No warm-up tops. No water bottles. No ipods blaring “We are the Champions”. No phones! So, in the slightly chilly autumn morning, by the time we hurried to the line, we were all warmed up and ready. And as Peter points out, because of where we had to park, we had already put in 1km just jogging from our car!
By the time we got there, we were late by almost 5 minutes. The run had already started and 99.9% of the participants had already streamed ahead, running across swan street bridge. I should have mentioned that we also registered late for the event which meant the only category remaining with still open spots were the top category with active runners! The next category were for the more relaxed joggers/runners. They were the next to start and by that time had already amassed at the start line chomping at the bit to be let loose. Recognizing us by the colour of our race bibs though (Green), they very nicely stepped aside to let us through. Some even cheered. Better late than never! So at 8:15am, we stepped across the starting line and just like that, started our first ever 5.5km run.
So, how did we go? Here’s Peter’s summary of the run.
“With the adrenaline pumping and strangers cheering us on, we pranced across the starting line with steely determination. As we were wearing the Green bibs, we had self-classified ourselves as REAL runners and were determined to start well. Of course, getting there late was not the best look and I did notice there was a gap of 30 metres to the rest of the runners in front of us. Looking like stragglers, we made sure we at least looked like confident stragglers! Sze Wey was just a few paces behind me and behind her, I saw no one except for a sea of purple bibs waiting to mow us down!
Just to make sure of that, we spent a bit of energy catching up to the safety of the green bibs and from thereon in, it was all down to putting one feet in front of the other. I remember the saying a coach once gave about the 400m race being split into 4 P’s. First P is for Push, then it’s maintaining Pace before getting into Position and in the last 100m – Pray because it’s gonna hurt! I think I only remembered the first P. After that it was like Pray all the way that I’ll finish this thing. Having never tried that distance before (even in school) I had to stop a couple of times just to catch myself. Towards the end, I was really running out of legs and maybe should not have refused the croissant that morning for breakfast! So, the finish line could not have come any sooner! – I don’t have a clue how Sze Wey ran all the way – non stop!”
As you might have guessed, the charitable cause aside, the most rewarding aspect of doing something like this is the sense of accomplishment you get when you finish it. It can’t be bought (even on eBay) or even faked. It can only come from doing. So, when we all finished the run, we felt great. Making it back to the car, we admired for a while, the runners who opted for the 15km run. Now here are some REAL runners. Maybe we’ll get there someday. But for now we are just happy . . . . . . . ok, who’s up for the 10km Melbourne Marathon? (NOOOOOOO!, – Peter)
(For the record, Sze Wey will never publish this but since I upload these blogs for her, she finished in the top 20% among the 7,700 runners. Wow!)