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Sunday, 29 August 2010

on the run in brisbane

Brisbane marathon festival 2010 (10 km run).
I like visiting Brisbane - the river city.


A couple of weeks ago I travelled there for the Brisbane running festival. When it's wintertime in Australia, any excuse is a good enough excuse to go up to the warmer climes of Queensland. I was there to work too but that’s by the by.


The 10km event looped around the great sights of the Brisbane river in the city reach at the north banks and the riverbanks in South Brisbane.
On the day i turned up nice and early, cold and - shiver me timbers - shivery.
Prior to the start, runners congregated at the Southbank Piazza for the pre-race instructions.


We then sauntered a couple of hundred metres to the tree-lined Grey street opposite the Imax theatre for the start. I haven't been to Imax for some while. Perhaps it's closed.


The course included a tour of southbank – Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC), Southbank parklands, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Gallery of modern art (GOMA), the State Library of Queensland, and Queensland museum.
Brisbane, the river city, is also a city of bridges. The race ran over the newly opened Go-between bridge and the popular pathway/cycleway Goodwill bridge. Runners would also have caught sight of Kurilpa bridge, the Grey Street railway bidge, and three others: William Jolley bridge, Captain Cook (southeast freeway) bridge and Victoria bridge named after a Queen. I know a lady named Victoria. Her friends call her Vicky. Queen Vicky. 'She's my friend. I believe I'll go see her again'.

I am quite familiar with this area of Brisbane. It is a regular haunt at my work delivering.
On the north bank is the CBD limits. After rocking up and down the Go-between bridge, the race course then follows the pathways built on rugged rocky banks at Coronation drive, thence on the Bicentennial bikeway below the busy thoroughfares of North quay, ducking down under and along the Riverside expressway, past the commercial and government buildings including the parliament house, through mangroves, and then on to the Queensland University Technology (QUT) campus in Gardens Point. From here the course rises slightly past a grassy and sloping outdoor events venue called ‘The Riverstage’. We then descend down into the Botanical gardens before looping out again to the riverbank through some more pleasant avicennia forest foliage, combining features of the gardens, and merging with mangrove trees on the river edge.
There is a timber boardwalk here which provides a rare natural respite in the middle of the city. It is constructed at mid-trunks height of the large stand of mangroves but wasn't part of the run route. The Brisbane botanic gardens also incorporates guided walks where you can learn about the Dirrabel people, stories about the early settlement of Brisbane, and the remains of a convict built wall. I will pass the way of these botanic gardens again.

The course then enters the north end of the Goodwill bridge under the Captain Cook bridge. The Goodwill bridge is great for taking in some of the scenic sights of Brisbane and the river. I laboured uphill to the high point of the bridge right in the centre of the river. The bridge thankfully went downwards again towards the Maritime museum back at Southbank. Plodding on i followed the marshalls directions on Lower river terrace towards the Kangaroo Point cliffs. This place is popular with rock climbers. From there we then headed back towards the start/finish line in the parklands, about 3kms along the river. It may have been closer to 2km but you know-
The finishing stretch went along the 'grand arbour' pathway. This one-kilometre long pathway is lined on both sides by magenta bougainvillea plants wrapped around twisting steel tendrils. I ran (if my jog can be described thus) past cafe decks and Streets Beach at Southbank. This unique, man-made swimming beach, overlooks the Brisbane river and CBD. This is the only beach in Australia found in the middle of a city and one of Brisbane's most popular attractions. It is a little cold this time of year but come summertime, one can laze and frolic for hours on the crystal clear lagoon, the white sand beaches,  pebbled creeks and shallows surrounded by shady palms and sub-tropical trees and other such exotic plants, not to mention the beautiful Queensland girls.
But back to the business at hand - where are we? Oh yes running!
I must have gone dizzy there for a moment...


Spectators lined the route along the final kilometre of the race. I heard them cheering and urging the runners on. I tried to keep pace with the fast-finishers in the homestretch. Maybe i should not have bothered. Nothing against jeeps and grand pricks here, but they made me look like a lumbering jeep climbing up a mountain road trying to match it with the fast cars in an F1 grand prix.

At the finish, runners had access to drinks and fresh fruits in an area next to the Piazza alongside the arbour paths.


The exit is back towards the piazza where a running expo was being held. There was free massages for the finishers and a long queue had formed for this.


The queue was getting longer, so I gave the massage a miss and limped back to the finish line to cheer on the other runners.


Some of the marathoners, who i think started before daylight, were still finishing. Now that is a distance i would love to do – by walking, on the mountains, in the cordillera. Any takers?


I was almost falling over when i finished. But i forced a grimace for the photographer.


Here’s my spoils from the run – a medal, a race singlet, a bib, and legs in agony. Oh what ecstasy!


I even ended up on the cover of a magazine. It is called 'my running scrapbook' and you'll find it at all good newsstands - in my home in the highlands.