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 at the 8 km point, Blackmore's Half Marathon]
[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, Japanese teenager Kei Katanishi, goes through the 8 km point of the Blackmore's Half Marathon]
[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 of the Blackmore's Half Marathon]
[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.

[runners' detritus]
[runners’ detritus]

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.

[19 km marker]
[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.

[daiskmeliadorn and partner after Blackmore's Half Marathon 2016]
[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.

About oldblack

ageing and decaying, misanthropic,
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