I haven’t run much for quite a while. From September 2015 to July 2016 I was constrained by a hamstring tendon over-use injury. And when I tried starting running again I sustained two thoracic vertebral fractures, due to osteoporosis in my spine. That abruptly ended my return to running.
Last Sunday, however, I took time out from my normal early morning routine of coffee drinking and novel reading to attend the Blackmore’s Half Marathon – as a spectator. I was not permitted to drink coffee anyway, as I was preparing for this coronary artery angiogram and Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring at the Sydney Adventist Hospital (run by vegetarians!) because a cardiologist believes I have serious Ischaemic Heart Disease.
The main reason I attended the Blackmore’s Half Marathon was to cheer on my daughter, daiskmeliadorn. Under rain-threatening, cloudy grey dawn skies I set myself up at a location where I was sure I would see her. I stood at a point about 8 km into the route where the field would be somewhat thinned out compared with the start, and where the race course narrowed to just a single road lane as they ran across a pedestrian crossing. I had my supporter’s sign with me.
[Waiting for the runners at the 8 km point, Blackmore’s Half Marathon]
It wasn’t too long before the leading runner came through, with his pursuers not too far behind.
[Leading runner and eventual winner, Japanese teenager Kei Katanishi, goes through the 8 km point of the Blackmore’s Half Marathon]
I had a good idea when daiskmeliadorn was expecting to go through, and I watched and waited. The numbers increased and soon they were running through thick and fast.
[Lots of runners go through the 8 km point]
I watched, and watched….but eventually the numbers declined, leaving only their characteristic detritus behind, along with one disappointed father.
Fortunately, just across the other side of road, the runners looped back on their way towards the finish, making that point the 19 km marker of the 21.1 km race. So I moved myself and my sign over to where there was already a trickle of runners passing through.
[I move across to the 19 km marker]
Not a great deal of time passed until I saw her running towards me. Yay! Oh joy!!
I waved and reached for my camera – but by the time I figured out that I didn’t have the camera switched on, she was running past, looking cool as a cucumber. She ran off down the road and I got this parting shot of her disappearing down the road towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
[daiskmeliadorn! That’s her with dreadlocks, wearing a white and red Sydney Frontrunners shirt, next to the guy with the blue top]
I checked my watch. Although I didn’t know exactly what time the race started, it looked like she was perhaps headed for a good time, close to her previous best of 01:47:20, set in the May 2016 SMH Half Marathon. I packed up my sign, collected my umbrella – thankful that it wasn’t needed – and took my coffee-deprived body back towards the train station to go home. About 15 minutes later, on my walk to the station, a message from Sam flashed up on my phone: daiskmeliadorn had finished! Time: about 1 hour 43!!! What a performance. How proud I was to see how daiskmeliadorn had worked so hard and trained conscientiously and was rewarded with a great personal best time.
[Sydney Frontrunner, daiskmeliadorn, and her partner, Sam.
Photo credit:Picture taken by a friend of daiskmeliadorn]
That achievement is nothing, however, in the overall scheme of things, by comparison with what you and I can see in the picture above. As I commented after the SMH Half Marathon, these two people have a wonderful partnership in which they provide magnificent mutual support and rejoice in each other’s successes.