Monday, 26 October 2009

The Coffee Club

After one hours sleep I drove into the city. The car’s radio was on SEN1116, and it was an exciting thing to listen to the pre-race build-up as you drive to the starting line. I parked at the Melbourne Exhibition building and caught a taxi to the MCG. There I power-walked to the starting line just in time to hear the national anthem and the Melbourne Marathon contestants start. It was an amazing feeling to cheer the start, cheer these athletes who were setting off to do something that I couldn’t do in a million years. We clapped for three minutes as they all ran across the starting line.

All up $296,842.84 was raised for the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (the official charity (CPEC)), which was above the goal of $209,000. I ran for CPEC and was decked out in their t-shirt and cap. Other charities had teams competing as well. It was interesting to see the backs of people’s t-shirts, advertising their charity, sporting group, university or workplace. It would have been amazing just to sit down and photograph all the different team’s jerseys. But I had a task. I had to travel 10km. Prove to myself that I could do it.

My event, The Coffee Club 10km was the second race to start. There were so many competitors we left in two waves, the first wave had white bibs and would complete the race in under an hour. The second wave, including me, had black bibs and would take a bit longer to complete.

It was a beautiful morning, clear and crisp, a nice warm 7 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for running. We set off, up Batman Avenue, Flinders St, Swanston St, around the Arts Center, Alexandra Av, Linlithgow Av, Birdwood Av, Domain Rd, St Kilda Rd, Birrarung Marr, William Barak Bridge, down Brunton Av and into the Majestic MCG. The Arts Center, St Paul’s, Flinders Street Station and The Shrine of Remembrance all looked so very very beautiful and heroic in the morning’s light.

I ran/jogged until the Arts Center, where I slowed down into a quick walk and enjoyed the stroll (at roughly 7.695km/hr it was a very quick walk). About every three k’s there were water stations which were greatly appreciated. I would grab two bags of water and run on. Water comes in bags!

Monash University had a large running team and a lot of supporters around the track. I was near their runners, and you felt that the supporters were cheering you on as well. Everyone was cheering you on.

I only saw one person from my work, I walked next to her for a couple of hundred meters, however as she was running and I was walking I thought that I might be putting her off, so I slowed down.

The last drink station was on the Princes Bridge, a drink of water, and you knew that you were nearly home. I picked up the pace down Brunton Ave, with more people cheering you on and then entered the MCG, your heart picks up, no longer feel exhausted and I ran around the MCG, the eighth largest stadium in the world, one of the seven wonders of the sporting world, home to cricket, home to the 1956 Olympics and the Spiritual Home of Australian Sport.

I sped up, enjoying the lap. The MCG looked a quarter full, with most of the 10km competitors already finished, and with people who came to support them, and to watch the end of the marathon. And then I readched the finish line. I could sit down and watch the Marathon winners enter the stadium. I did it. I can walk 10km.

Well not exactly. The following day re-measurements showed that the track was actually 9.2km. I had a good laugh, and remember fondly the TV series “The Games” with John Clarke, Gina Riley and Bryan Dawe where the Sydney Olympic 100m track, was not 100 meters. Hehehe.


Andrew’s Official Time: 1 hour 11min 44sec
Average Speed: 7.695km/hr
Overall Position: 4230/4807

The Coffee Club 10km winners:
Mark Tucker 28min 47sec
Sarah Jamieson 30min 17sec

Average time: 58min 30sec
Slowest time: 4hours 13min 25sec

(The half marathon competitors)

St George Melbourne Marathon winners:
Asnake Fekadu 2hr 17min 32sec
Lisa Flint 2hr 34min and 8sec

(Inside the MCG)

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