I enrolled in the Lindfield Fun-Run this past April with an old mate of mine. We’re both (for want of a more politically correct term) … fat. So it was a completely new experience for the two of us and we had no intentions of actually “running.” I have run before (not in a Fun Run, just run), I think the late 80’s was my last time and I know for a fact that “running” would definitely risk diminishing the degree of “Fun” for us.
The day started badly when I turned up in my thick polyester track suit top (it was pretty cold at that ungodly hour of the morning) and Big Show (his poker call-sign) showed up with a coffee instead of Gatorade. Outraged, I said to him “BIG SHOW, we are supposed to be ELITE athletes, not LATTE athletes… anyway did you get one for me?”
Our newbie-concerns were compounded when we noticed that the number I had pinned to my chest, was a different colour to Big Show’s. I had accidentally signed up for the 10km-Run instead of the 2km-Walk. Oh God, was this legally binding??
We got to the starting line and the activity level was frenetic! They were all shedding their outer garments for professional looking, Olympic level running gear. We were not prepared for this multi-layer approach. Lycra clad people buzzing all around us were stretching, psyching themselves, fiddling with watches and taking pulses. Big Show and I knew we’d struggle to find our pulse under our layer of “insulation.”
Being our first Fun-Run we had a few unanswered questions:
- Are there normally this many people out of bed at this hour on a Sunday?
- Were any of them still up from the night before?
- Should we be stretching? We didn’t want to look out of place.
- Do they know we’re only going to walk? It wasn’t mentioned on our numbers.
- Should Big Show and I drop to all fours as if using a sprinter’s starting block for the best start, as we had seen runners do on tv? I have a fully-fused spine and Big Show is also quite a stranger to “dropping.”
- Is there a medical tent? Just in case.
- Where did all the other competitors put their keys, wallets and phones?
- Were we meant to line up based on our numbers? We hoped not because only deciding to run the day before, ours were really high. Should we force our way to the front of the throng?
- Why is everybody so slim? We seemed to be the only… men of girth.
We were asking each other these series of questions while standing under a large blue blow-up archway, which we assumed was the starting line. As it turns out, it was the finish line. We realised this fundamental error when it dawned on us that we were the only ones standing there and everybody else had disappeared, presumably pounding the pavement.
Indeed, WE HAD MISSED THE START. Our time was going to be abysmal.
As we ambled we still had a few first-Fun-Run questions:
- Is there any food or drinks provided during the race? We had seen the tables on tv where runners get Gatorade in little cups and we both have a bit of a sweet tooth. Some toasted banana bread would really hit the spot at that early hour.
- Are there any mid-race breaks? 2kms could take us and hour or more – what if we need to take a piss?
- Are they going to be timing us? How does this work when we missed the start?
- Before the race started we noticed we were the only runners that had coffees. Are these sort of artificial stimulants allowed? Are we risking our anti-doping status?
To our complete dismay, we started to struggle a bit, not being incredibly fit. However once our second wind kicked in, we were confident the running would become much easier.
About halfway through the race we came upon an elderly lady wearing a hi-vis singlet over lovely dress, who was holding a stop sign to control the traffic. Despite our best efforts we had dropped to last place by this stage and our time had been ruined by missing the start (and clearly not by our level of fitness), so we thought we’d say “hi.” She was really old and it was awesome to see her still getting out and contributing to the Hornswood way of life.
Me – “How are you today?”
Big Show – “Keeping the cars under control? I love your dress! It goes well with the hi-vis.” Big Show was quite chatty and did not appear to be struggling with the pace.
The old lady – “I can’t go home until the last runners are through. AND THAT’S YOU TWO, SO HURRY UP IDIOTS.”
The sweet old lady whacked me on the butt with her stop-sign. I was so shocked I jerked my coffee and foam squirted out the little drink hole. Due to Big Show complimenting her dress, she treated him much more gently, placing the sign on his lower back and shoving him forward to get him moving. Seriously though, I’ll bet Steve Monaghetti didn’t have to put up with treatment like this while competing!
Anyway we made it to the end of the race. Due to the cheering crowd, the looming finish-line, our own misplaced sense of pride and the fact that we spotted a professional photographer, we decided to run the last 10 metres. My apologies for the “quality” of the video, at the time I had not thought of writing this blog.
We then rested, visited the rehydration station and proceeded to use our waters to wash the coffee taste out of our mouth.
Just as we were high-fiving and congratulating each other on a race well-run, we spotted our great mate Andrew Heaven (aka Axe – his poker callsign) who’d actually run the 5km and approached the finish line sucking in air and sweating profusely. Obviously, we proceeded to heckle.
“COME ON AXE, PUT SOME EFFORT IN”.
“IT’S A FUN-RUN AXE, NOT A FUN-STROLL.”
“ENJOYING YOUR WANDER IN THE PARK THERE AXE? CAN WE GET YOU A COFFEE?”
“LOOK AT YOU SWEATING AXE! TALK ABOUT UNFIT! WE HAVE FINISHED AND WE’RE THINKING OF DOING ANOTHER LAP JUST TO KEEP OUR HEART-RATE UP A BIT.”
To recharge the batteries after our run, Big Show and I headed to Goodfields for lunch. We assumed this is what all athletes do after a full morning of exertion. It’s amazing how many nods of recognition and hearty congratulations you get when you wear your medallion and carry your accidental-10km-Run number.
Of course Big Show and I proceeded to wear our victory medals to the next half dozen or so poker nights. I think the lads were pretty impressed. We were actually giving serious consideration to signing up for the Boston Marathon, having conquered the Lindfield… Damn these Covid restrictions. Damn them all to hell.
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