The steadfastness of the appointed hour made us all its innocent victims. It clocked a steady pace alongside nature’s indecipherable calendar and then, at 10am, 15 May (Race Start) struck upon her blowing wind and skies of rain. The rain sat on our jackets, settled into our hair and clung onto our skin even as we tried to shake it off. We hid from it under the tents but it swam in along the ground, lapping around our feet and equipment like a child fascinated by these adult games. It made heroes out of us all. Although we grasped at the thin shelter of the race gazebos where possible, as soon as the starter called time, none remained there.
The kangaroos stood mute as the pack stampeded onto the quiet morning - it too hiding from the weather, wet grass dampening the steps of the 250 runners: a mute carnival, travelling zoo for hiding eyes. Their wet fur looked soggy, yet relief unavailable, hope resting on prior met expectations of the sun coming back at some stage, to dry the land and heat the ground.
Small herds of children from athletics groups bombed the course, under stricter compulsion of parental authority, who insisted that the goal and the method yield not to the inflicting inconvenience of wet weather.
“So inspirational,” applauded Katarina at the first turn. For while the runners at that point may have been dwelling on the unwritten script of miles to come, we on the sidelines were impressed by what they had written on the first page - begin.
Stationed at the finish line barbecue, preparing to offer prize of burger to those who made it home, we played tug of war with the cold air that sucked at the fire, whisking away it’s heat, secure in it’s claim to it’s distant other half. The runners collected their burgers and ran. Instead of relishing glory on the grass, they took off urgently home to replay their memory behind the secure door of a hot shower and warm clothing.
Feat of the day award was given conjointly to two runners who independently missed the 6.3km turn off, completing the 15.4k course in mounting comprehension of their error. Although this is only the second year’s official staging of the event, setting new course records under the wet conditions presents the determination of those athletes, and new records were set in 13 out of 22 categories.