Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Race to the Opera

Sydney's Harbour Bridge is cleared of all cars as a light fog hangs over the steel structure. A single shot rings out over the Harbour. Within minutes, the bridge is swarmed with runners.

It is the start of Blackmore's Sydney Half-marathon. Over 6,000 participants started the 13.1 mile race at the sound of the gunshot. Unfortunately, my friend Fiona and I didn't hear it. 

Due to disorganization of the race, a failed speaker system, and a serious lack of toilets, Fiona and I, along with 20 other participants, missed the start of the race and were disqualified. 

However, we had all payed $80 to put ourselves thru a self-inflicted painful event - no amount of shouts from race officials would keep us from passing the start line.   

We were 20 minutes away from the back of the pack, and Fiona and I wanted to catch up. We quickly passed the people in our group of late starters, then found ourselves alone on the massive Harbour Bridge. Surrounded in fog it was indeed an erie feeling. 

Eventually we caught up to other racers and through many pained steps, made it to the finish in front of the Sydney Opera House. It was a beautiful day and I was very proud of myself for making to the end, since I had really slacked in my training. 

With a smile across my face I used my remaining strength to sprint the last steps. Ten feet from the finish line, I heard a shout of, "Move to your left!" I dodged just in time to avoid getting hit by a biker. My glorious finish turned into an ungraceful stumble across the finish.

It was a race of unusual circumstances, and one that I'd like not to repeat.

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