Nothing is more fulfilling than a stress-free fun run and supporting friends at an event.
I recently moved to Australia for a change of scenery. So it was only to be expected when friends wanted to look me up as they flew in for the Blackmores Sydney Bridge Marathon Run.
Last year I ran the half marathon at this event and achieved my best personal time for the 21k (I never did got around to writing about it on my blog but I posted some pictures on instagram here, here and here). This year I had no intentions of running it but instead wanted to show support to friends by taking their pictures at the finish line.
But of course the desire to run was always lurking in the subconscious mind so when a friend told me he had registered on the last day of bib pickup at Townhall, I too fell prey and found myself paying for the 9km distance (oh well, so much for resisting temptation). The plan was to accompany another runner to run it at her speed so we were looking at a relaxed pace with no pressure to break personal records of any kind (lari alun-alun is the term my running group is using these days).
On that Sunday morning, I woke up early and after checking the weather forecast I decided to wear my running jacket and advised Aniza to do the same since rain was expected in the late morning. I then took the train to accompany Aniza to Milson’s Point first as she was running the full marathon; the flag-off was at 7:30am. There we met Yanti, an Indonesian friend also based in Sydney. Yanti had recently lost her beloved pet dog Ruby so the marathon was being run in her honour.
Aniza then introduced me to a few marathon runners also from Malaysia who had come into town just for the event. I met Irwan, Suzanna (who is based in Sydney too, yey!), Radhi and a few others. Great to see them!
When the marathoners finally left the start line, I milled around the area because the 9km wasn’t starting till 9am. Azura and Fani, who flew in for the 9km, finally arrived from their hotel and we took a couple more keepsake photos.
When flag-off finally happened for the 9km, it took 30 minutes for the crowd to get past the start line before we even got to toe it! That’s how many runners were signed up in that category. My friends and I decided to run together for fun, we even pinky-sweared we’d leave no one behind, hehe!
Of course once we approached the bridge, the cameras just kept clicking. So many photos here, like crazed tourists. Here are some of my favourites:
Well after about an hour and a half, we all finally arrived at the finish line. The finishing for 3km bridge fun run and the 9km is at a different location from the full and half marathoners, who end their run at the Opera House.
After my friends parted ways (it was raining and they were cold and hungry so wanted to go back to hotel to change and eat), I went to see Charan at the Opera Bar to congratulate her on completing her first running event, a 9km run at thatI Extremely proud of this friend of mine, well done Charan!
After a short chat with Charan, I then made my way to the finishing area at the Opera House to watch the full marathon runners complete their course. I looked at the digital clock time on the finishing arch and it indicated 3 hours plus, I still had about two hours plus before I anticipated Aniza would arrive. So I decided to park myself at the finishing arch and waited to see my fellow Malaysian runners finish.
It was still drizzling, I wondered how the marathon runners were faring, it felt cold to me.
At about 5:04 gun time, I saw a familiar figure approaching. I could see her hastily taking out a flag I recognized so well, it was Sharon! I screamed Sharon’s name and Malaysia Boleh! and then took these shots.
About 15 minutes later at 5:20 gun time I saw Yanti! Well done, girl! Ruby’s watching you down from heaven!
And then shortly after Yanti, I saw Suzanna! Honestly I have never seen a runner look so happy to finish, her smile just radiated!
It was already 5:45 of gun time when I started to get concerned, Aniza was nowhere to be seen and cut-off time is 6 hours. Mana minah ni? But then, at about 5:52 of gun time I saw two runners running together, grappling with – yes you guessed it – the Jalur Gemilang! They unfurled the flag and then held it together as they run past me! Irwan and Aniza made it! I shrieked in support and snapped these pictures:
Finally a few of us managed to get together for one last obligatory group photo with the Sydney Opera House in the background. Some of the guys broke their PB at this marathon. Congratulations, runners!
A valuable lesson from this marathon was to check the weather forecast and then to dress for it. I heard it got pretty cold and windy for some of the marathoners and they DNF (did not finished) due to this. There is no shame running with a light rain jacket especially if you know the forecast is going to be such. It rained last year too so it looks like a trend around this time of year.
Anyway, I hope to see more fellow Malaysians running in Sydney in the months to come, whether trail or road. Look me up if you’re in town, yeah? 🙂