Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Doomben 10000

For my monthly running fix, i fronted up to Doomben Racecourse at the break of dawn on one Sunday morning (6th June 2010).
Doomben, Brisbane's oldest racecourse, is known for horseracing and is a feature in the spring racing carnival in Australia.
It provides a great backdrop for a unique running experience.

The Doomben 10000 is part of the Queensland Half Marathon staged at its now permanent home, the Doomben Racecourse. The events are made up of the Half Marathon, the Doomben 10,000 (10 km), 5km fun run and the Doomben Cup (2.5 km walk). It was my first time to run this event so i did not know what was in store.

Well the place was buzzing with runners of all ages and pedigree. There were the elite athletes training or cross-training or just keeping fit in their off-season. Some run to train for triathlete events. There are also parents with young kids just out there endeavouring to keep fit.
I was just there for a fun run, or so i thought.

And then there are all sorts of runners, joggers and walkers in between. Add to the mix, one or two wheelchair bound disabled persons and a few parents with babies on prams, and you realise that the running community is pretty much a cross-section of society (and still Igorots are in the minority. 1:500 i think he he).

The day got brighter as the winter sun slowly rose in the east.

I did some warm-ups in the crisp morning air as the half-marathoners lined up to start.

Almost suddenly the marshall counted down the get go. I had to jump out of the way quicksmart.
And off they went.

They even have a pacer.

The 10000m runners then lined up some minutes after the 21.1km race start.

I was feeling queasy this morning. I even considered just running the 5km or pulling out altogether. But the sight of girls and women some less fit-looking than me, lining up and eager to start, made me banish the thought of bludging.
So reluctantly i joined the 10000m run pack. I had to start from the rear after going to the front to snap a photo of the start line.

The run was an ordeal. The cool morning warmed up quickly as the sun rose higher in the almost cloud-free winter sky.

In previous fun runs, i saw female runners with shirts printed with something like:
I run like a __irl  (am not sure whether birl or dirl or even tirl or whirl. The overtaking angle somehow covered up that elusive word).
Whatever it was they must be on to something as the ladies wearing these shirts usually just speed past me as if i was walking.
I probably was too.

As i jogged laboriously, I tried solving the puzzle of what that word ending in 'irl' was.
It was all too hard and i gave up. I could not even hazard a guess...

I concentrated back on the race. They keep calling these races 'fun runs'. Honestly, i don't know where the fun part is.

After a long struggle over hill and lane and over and around and back again, I finished as the sun rose high in the mid-morning sky – in front of the stands and the racetrack.

I didn’t fare as bad as i thought but i could have done better. My time was just below my PB.
(I could have done a PB if not for some romance the night before. No it's not what you think dear reader- if you got this far. And she was neither black nor white. I was not romancing the stone either. Rather I was stroking the bottle. The red label on it said her name was brandy. But that night, the bottle let me down).

I handed in my running chip then grabbed some fresh fruit slices and a sponsor’s drink bottle. After a little rest i gingerly sauntered over back to the finish line to cheer on the other runners and to take a few souvenir shots.

My fellow finishers at the finish line. That race time is set to the half-marathon which started 20 minutes earlier than the 10000m run.

The recovery area behind the grandstand.

I then drove off to work.
Work? On a Sunday morning?
Yep too right. No rest for the wicked indeed.
But guess which job?
Oh no. Not the 'tunnel'?

And that was that.
I did not stay back for the award ceremonies and the post event party.
But i did finally glimpse one of those girls with the secret t-shirt.
She finished about 10 minutes before me.
Her shirt read:
I run like a girl!

Yeah right. Rub it in!

Some race stats:

Race Finishers 1st Male 1st Female Avg Time

Half Marathon 531 01:08:46 01:16:03 01:49:56

Doomben 10,000 493 00:31:52 00:35:04 00:54:42

5KM Fun Run 209 00:15:58 00:18:00 00:31:49

Wheelchair Half Marathon 1 01:07:36 01:07:36

Very ordinary Martin!
Two seconds slower than average!

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