What I love about a great running event like the Great Ocean Road Marathon is the people you meet.
Every runner has their own story, journey & reason for being there and we all share a few things in common. A love for running, and the challenge of it. Further to that, each has their own unique & typically colourful personalities & idiosyncrasies on display before the start. Whether it be their clothing, accessories, warm up routine and rituals to get them ready to race, it truly is a wonderful spectacle to observe.
The start studded field of past, present & future champions lined up on a delightful sunny morning in mild conditions with a bit of a headwind to add to the challenge of it all. What a great event that allows you to mingle with, chat with and compete on the same playing field with Olympic champions. You can even rub shoulders with these running greats, at least until the gun goes.
The race itself of course is superbly stunning as it twists and winds it's way up, down and around this spectacular coastline to Apollo Bay. According to my local mate at the Apollo Bay Hotel, Rudyard Kipling regularly visited the region, describing the Otways as " absolute paradise" and this is just one special way to see it.
Another is to explore a sneaky back road out of Apollo Bay in search of another route to Beech Forrest through some of the most beautiful rainforest areas I have ever seen. But alas, that is a whole other story (rather calamitous).
Back to milking the cow...
Running events bring together wonderful people who love to share their stories of challenge, and reward. One of those ladies chuffed from her own run on the Saturday spoke of the merits of some of her coach's training tips when approaching the hilly parts of the course. Her coach, none other than Monners himself recommends the rope pulling metaphor which we quickly dubbed, " milking the cow". Imagining clasped hands reaching forward and milking the teet with every step, "The arms drive the legs", was one of my own coach's favourites. I was inclined (boom boom) to put this into practise myself during the race with great effect. Thanks for the tip Allana.
What follows is many gruelling & unrelenting minutes and hours running with, and working with fellow runners that may join you, push you, drop you and be dropped by you with barely a word spoken, until you finally get to meet and congratulate those that have ultimately helped you to the finish line. And new friends are made to trade your story with..
We bask collectively in our glory and satisfaction of achievement; of finishing another training campaign, another run, another race.
This is what running is all about, we are in it together, part of a running community. We are all friends and that love the sport.
That's the GOR ticked off, and with two new PB's. What's next?
Less than 22 weeks til Melbourne Marathon, 25 weeks til NYC, here we come!!
Or are you looking to run a Personal Best at your next race start?
As always, Run Well.