I was jogging down the street when a woman reached her hand out towards me. “Coconut water,” she shouted as she quickly popped the tab.
“Wow,” I glanced over at Barret, “their giving us each a full can. This is too good to waste.”
The coconut water was a lot more appealing than the neon orange Gatorade being dispensed from a paper cup ziggurat. Barret agreed, so we ambled along the street with a can in hand. A smattering of families stood along the sidewalk while one couple enjoyed a champagne brunch on the median in the middle of the road. They looked like salmon trying to swim upstream.
I wasn’t intentionally ruining my run time for City 2 Surf, but I hadn’t counted on all the freebies. Even the runners themselves were a great source of distraction. Of the 81,000 people who signed up, about 67,500 people finished the race and a fair few of them were costumed. There was everything from Lego people to a six pack of beer running in tight formation.
I quickly realized though that the distractions were pretty much the only thing that made running appealing. Take away the confetti, music, and costumes and all you have left is a mass exodus of achy hips and ankles. Mine included.
Barret and I were in the Blue Group. At 25,000 strong it was the largest running category of the day. I’d felt a little guilty when I signed up for that group because it was specifically for people who wanted to run the whole race. There was no chance of that happening, but my coworker convinced me it was best to start as early as possible. Plus, she warned, I didn’t want to be stuck with all the strollers in the Orange Group.
The crowd had thinned out by the halfway point, but it was still tricky to drift to the other side of the road without tripping too many ambitious people behind me. That didn’t stop me though from zigzagging around to hi-five kids, take photos of the view, and pick up all the freebies.
At the top of Heartbreak Hill, the steepest part of the run, there was a young boy holding a bowl of sliced oranges. I zipped across to pick up a slice as did an older man in running gear. He reached into the bowl after me and declared, “you’re a legend.”
The boy solemnly received his praise and continued to stare off into the distance. “Good luck,” he finally replied with the kind of serious expression that only a four year old could wear. He must have seen all the people running up behind us.
I appreciated the gesture but I didn’t need good luck to get me to the Bondi Beach finish line. All I needed was the possibility of more freebies and a chance to rest my aching body on the soft beach sand. What can I say, I jog for all the right reasons.
About: City 2 Surf