Another day, another race. After training for the past few months the day finally came to run the Sydney Half Marathon. It’s a somewhat condensed course with a lot of looping around. I guess this makes sense because they have to shut down a significant part of the city down to accomodate the runners. In addition to the loopy course, we had an ungodly early start time. 6:30am. To make matters even more challenging, the start line was on the other side of the Harbour Bridge from where I live.
Despite all of this, it was an amazing day.
With an early 4:30am wakeup call I laced up my runners, downed a banana and coconut water and headed out. Since this was a Saturday morning and Sydney doesn’t really have closing times for bars I had plenty of company walking down Oxford Street. Me: all amped up to run 13 miles. Them: a bunch of drunk twenty-somethings stumbling around amped up on god-knows-what. What a role reversal, hey?…
I found all of the other runners shivering waiting for the train. Like penguins, we huddled together completely filling the platform waiting for our train to arrive to go the 4 stops to the start line.
The staging area was under the north end of the Harbour Bridge where we were treated to free snacks, sunscreen, and an amazing view of sunrise over the Opera House.
My buddy Matt was also running the race and was willing to take this picture of me looking like a goof in front of the Opera House
At about 6:25 it was time to get in our starting zones. At 6:30 exactly the gun went off and the race began. This is the least apprehensive I’ve been about any of the races I’ve done.
The view behind me in the starting queue.
And we were off! After a slight hill, we looped around and jumped on the Bradfield Hwy and headed towards the Harbour Bridge.
Heading south towards the pylons. Mile 1.
It was really congested over the bridge so I missed a few good shots. This is after another turnaround with the bridge in the distance. Mile 3.
Through the CBD and looping back again past St. Mary’s Cathedral. About mile 4.
Through The Domain, to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and coming back through the silent canyons of buildings in the CBD. Mile 5.
One of the elites screaming past me as we go under the bridge. Mile 7.
Passing Darling Harbour. Mile 8.
Past Pyrmont, and back across Darling Harbour and making the final push back around to Circular Quay. Mile 11.5.
Under the bridge again, only 1 mile to go.
Coming around to Circular Quay, the end is near.
Last sprint through the Quay.
Breathing hard, finish line is in sight. Sprinting to the end.
After crossing the finish line they sent you across to the recovery zone in the Botanical Gardens. I hung out here cooling off for a bit trying to find my friends. As usual, the sheer # of people crippled the cell networks.
Me and my buddies Matt and Sean.
The training and hard work was well worth it. The course was amazing and extremely well organised from the start and finish lines to all of the aid stations. Since it was such a condensed area there were tons of supporters cheering us on. All I can say is thank you and that I’ll do it again next year since I missed my goal time of 2:00 and finished at 2:05:09.
Perhaps the photo-taking wasn’t a good idea? I disagree and am glad to have the memories.