The insane part was not the road but the running. I was perfectly immune from traffic. Or certainly from the kind that hurtles along at 80kmph; a bone crunching wall of metal and strengthened glass, uncompromising in the face of 80kgs of me. No, the usual lorries and SUV’s had been regulated to back-roads in favour of more pedestrian traffic. For Sunday was the appointed day of Sydney's annual City to Surf fun† run.
It shouldn't be that hard. After all, Bondi is no more than 5k from the City centre. And yet the sadists that run the event feel it is necessary to take 70,000 people around 14.4kms of coastal cliffs.
Granted the views (panoramas across the harbour, encompassing the city, water, parks and the iconic Opera House, the long sweep down to Bondi, past rolling hills and ocean) were magnificent. But who had the strength to enjoy those?†† Not your correspondent, that’s for sure. I was too busy watching the rest the competition pass me by.
No. Madness was not the only thing to overtake me. I was passed by pretty much everyone taking part in the race. I was about a kilometre in when the first cartoon character sauntered by. A dragon as I recall. There were innumerable spider-bat-super-men and I was left in the dust by at least one giant valentine. It was on the upward slope of the appropriately named heartbreak hill that a man pushing a pram jogged along nonchalantly, as though I were stationary.
But the final insult came two days later when the timings came in. I was pleased with my own time; 88:59 – 8 minutes improved over last year. Then I saw the time for my friend the uber-competitive Hideko; 88:36 – 25 seconds my better.
Time to take up cycling
† A deliberatively provocative use of the word. I have already drafted a missive to the Advertising Standards Institute of Australia.
†† Actually Mark was probably enjoying the view. Mr. Cahill finished the race in just over an hour, and there’s every chance he didn’t break a sweat. Good job Mark!