I am too old, decrepit and lazy to participate, but daiskmeliadorn was keen to improve on her time in the Grunty Fen Half Marathon last year. She's been training hard, using a training and nutrition guide, and has joined up with Frontrunners. I decided to go and watch and cheer her on. I set myself up at the 2 km mark in The Rocks about 15 minutes before the start.
[George Street, The Rocks. The 2 km flag is on the left, as we wait for the start.]
From my position I could look east and see the sun just starting to light up Sydney Harbour.
[The Harbour; Sydney Opera House. Dawn, 15 May 2016]
I didn't have to wait too long before the lights of an approaching police motor cycle heralded the first runner's progress down George Street.
[The leading runner approaching the 2 km mark]
As he got closer I could see that already he had opened up a big gap on second place.
[The leading runner is already about 100 m ahead of the second runner at the 2 km mark]
The trickle of fast runners started to swell fairly quickly and it wasn't too long until the trickle turned into a flood. They were even running down the footpath past the early morning coffee-drinking tourists.
[The pack arrives!]
Unfortunately, I couldn't spot daiskmeliadorn. I had a rough idea of what pace she was hoping to be setting, but I realised they had a staggered start and I wasn't even sure if she was in the group which started at the first gun. I eventually gave up watching and headed off towards the 17 km point, where I hoped to have a better chance of seeing her in a more spread out field. Perhaps my mind was elsewhere or maybe I'm simply lacking the appropriate motor coordination, but I tripped on a kerb and crashed to the ground, landing heavily on my left side. My knee and elbow were grazed, and my thigh bruised. Sadly, my phone was in my pocket and was sandwiched between my thigh and the ground. The screen glass was intact, but the underlying LCD was cracked, making the phone completely unusable. I would later be quoted $180 to repair it.
I hadn't broken any bones, however, and was able to hobble up to a nearby nice sunny spot about 4 km from the finish line (it's an 'out and back' course so the finish is near the start). I got there just in time to see the eventual winner run past.
I had an idea what time daiskmeliadorn was aiming for at the 17 km point so I was on the alert for her arrival about half an hour after the leader, but was surprised to hear her calling out my name as she ran past - I missed her again! I saw her dreadlocks disappearing up the road towards the finish, though, and she seemed to be running pretty well. Not exhausted (as far as I could tell).
[daiskmeliadorn at the 17 km point]
At this time I decided that I needed a coffee, so I limped off to the railway station to catch a train home. I later found out that daiskmeliadorn had beaten her previous best half marathon time, with an outstanding new PB of 01:47:20 which is at the 89th percentile in her very competitive female 30-39 y.o. group (91st percentile of all women, and 78th percentile of all entrants). What a performance!
[daiskmeliadorn & her partner]
I didn't go to the finish line and the photo above, which was taken in Hyde Park after the finish, is not mine. But I imagined this scene and it gave me great pleasure. Not only is daiskmeliadorn rejoicing in her wonderful achievement, but she's sharing that moment with a very special person who understands her better than anyone else.
[Copy of my post on WordPress]