What a great day! Blue skies, not a cloud in sight. I picked up Ben and together we took the bus to the start, where we caught up with Katherine who kindly offered to clear the way ahead of us. 85,000 runners were at the start of the world largest fun run – sadly many with headphones in their ears, which is a real challenge, more for me than Ben. An almost bigger challenge was an over-eager event official, who seeing us at the front of our start group, was adamant that we have to go all the way to the back of the pack because – even though “he does not want to be discriminatory” – believes that Ben is in the way of all the runners and we risk to be run over. Little did this guy know, as Ben finished this race way ahead of most of the runners in his group. We still had a perfect and fast start and the ‘Blind runner’ and ‘Guide’ signs on our back made it easy for others to move around and not between us.
Up the first hill into Kings Cross Tunnel and down to Rushcutters Bay where the vocal Hare Krishna group’s singing and drumming quickly got us into a nice rhythm to attack the first hill up to Edgecliff. Down the other side, across Double Bay, and before we knew it, we where at the foot of the (in)famous Heartbreak Hill. Like last year, Ben just put his head down and we started battling our way up to Vaucluse and the top – never looking up, just pounding away and overtaking many walkers along the way. Katherine was such a great help clearing the way ahead of us. Along Military Road I realised that if we were able to keep going the way we did it would turn out to be a brilliant time for Ben. With 4 km to go, I didn’t want to raise his hopes yet and I waited with telling him until I knew that with a bit of effort and luck we would be able to finish under 80 minutes. Flying downhill towards Bondi Beach Ben was pushing so hard that I had to slow him down a little, as we needed some more strength for that last nasty slight incline towards the finish line that surprises so many first-timers of this race.
Watch Ben’s little video below. Sorry about the quality, this is my first attempt at videography, and I’m still trying to figure out Apple’s iMovie.
Once we had clear sight of the finish and with the clock ticking towards 80 minutes, Ben’s sprint took me by surprise. With 20 meters to go, he suddenly rushed forward and ahead of me, stumbling over my feet and making me loose a shoe! Katherine and I just caught him in time to cross the line together after 80 minutes and a handful seconds – a new PB of 8 minutes!
A great effort and the result of hard training. It’s looking very promising with four weeks to go until our Centennial Park Ultra and 12 hours for a 100 kilometres.
We did not rest but made our way back up the hill to Bondi Junction and Paddington (Ben’s home). Tomorrow it’s back to the gym getting ready for another week of hard training….