Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cliff 2 cliff 2011 fat ass half-marathon

Cliff 2 cliff 2011 fat ass half-marathon (27 March).

Base map from google earth.

The race takes its name from Shorncliffe, a northern bayside suburb of Brisbane, and Redcliffe peninsula in Moreton Bay Region. Redcliffe used to be its own municipality (Redcliffe City Council), but is now part of the greater Moreton Bay Regional Council. Redcliffe was named such by explorer John Oxley from the red cliffs visible from Moreton bay. Humpybong meaning 'deserted huts' is the original aboriginal name. Shorncliffe may be named after the Shorncliffe camp cliffs in Kent, England. Or it may just be the 'shorn' cliffs, torn and worn, molded and formed by the waves of sea and time.

The course is along the coastlines of Moreton bay stretching from Shorncliffe to Sandgate through to Brighton, thence onto Australia’s longest bridge across the North Pine river mouth at the Houghton highway over Bramble bay, and finally to Clontarf in Redcliffe.
It starts and ends on the historic Shorncliffe pier in Moora Park.

An avid photographer at dawn on the Shorncliffe pier.

Timper piles out on Moreton Bay.

This pier was built in 1872. It is popular with locals and also a favourite hangout and subject for landscape photographers.
From the pier the half-marathon route traces out miles of shared concrete bikeways/pathways on foreshores lined with parklands lawns and trees. The run course also includes all 3km of the new three-lane 'hurricane- proofed' Ted Smout bridge on Houghton highway spanning the North Pine river. This reinforced concrete viaduct will be 1-year old in July. (The bridge was named in honour of Ted Smout, Queensland’s longest-surviving WW1 veteran who died in 2004 at age 106).
These pathways form part of an extensive 20km series of pedestrian and cycle ways from Shorncliffe to northern Redcliffe in Scarborough. The full length is the route of the marathon and ultra marathon. Half the route is the half-marathon.

Runners at the break of dawn.

The run.
The sunrise started us off at 6:00 sharp as the sun broke out over the sea on Moreton bay.

The glow of glorious sunrise.

If there is a better setting to start a half-marathon race, I haven’t seen it yet.
Of course it’s only my first half-marathon, but I’ll get to that.

I'm winning! Leading the bottom pack at the start, the first 60m. Photo is from this website:
  The first half of the race was a slow one for me. I paced myself for this first attempt at a half-marathon. In no time I was by myself, in no man's land, setting my pace, running my race, even tying up a loose lace. Within the first 3 or 4km along the Sandgate foreshores, I was losing liters of sweat as the air seemed to stay stagnant in the humid early morning after sunrise. Small raindrops started to fall, and I looked up thinking it was drizzling. The clouds were clearing the beautiful hue of sky blue, and what I thought was rain was actually my sweat beads. I was sweating bucketloads.
Along the way were various folks out on their Sunday morning sidewalk strolls. Some were walking, some jogging, some cycling, some walking their dogs, some walking their walks. Some were cheering us. I plodded on. Many of the other runners have disappeared down the road. About a half-hour into the run, the ramp going up to the new bridge suddenly looms. It wasn't very demanding up the incline, but at the bridge I could feel the sun start to sear. The bridge runs northeasterly so I angled my cap for some shade on my face.

After an infernal 15 minutes on the baking bridge, I neared the halfway mark at Pelican Park in Clontarf. I got lost looking for the turning point. There seemed to be a maze of footpaths there. The landmark is a toilet block but I passed not one, not two but three of these structures in the park before I found the mini-orange flat cone with a little sign that was the turning point of the 21.1km run.

I checked my watch, 7.00 am. So far so good although I could have done better. I took a break, sipped some water and then commenced the return leg. Running back, I hugged the bayside of Pelican Park thinking it may be shorter, but I ended up doing an extra couple of hundred metres just for fun. It wasn’t fun seeing a couple of runners get ahead of me while I was detouring.

I drank water at three maybe four or five drink taps on the way in the park, and I felt thirsty still. Further along there was one more tap at the north end of the bridge over the bay, and I took my time for a really good drink. (Did I mention that there are three bridges spanning Bramble Bay, all alongside each other here? Indeed I fished off the old Hornibrook bridge before - it’s now just for pedestrians, and the Houghton highway bridge is still in good nick. Fishing platforms are part of the new bridge). Hey Martin this blog is not about fishing. Er okay.
So back to the race,
I stopped for a second time to break fast on a small camote (sweet potato) pastry. The food may not have helped my race but the few minutes of rest did. A couple more fellow runners went past me, but I was aiming to finish my first half-marathon even if I had to come last, so I enjoyed some more sips of water. The breeze picked up so I took in big breaths and strolled along the bridge for my tummy to settle a little. A couple of minutes later, after taking a photo of the bridge I set forth again.

a long way to go and a long way from home.
 I felt good again after the sustenance and the breeze kindly blew along my way. I haven’t ran this far before, and the first thing I noticed different, at about the midpoint of Australia’s longest bridge (12 or 13km point), was my footpad kinked up between my right toes. I ignored this discomfort until I reached Brighton at the south end of the bridge in Decker park where a drink fountain beckoned at about the 5km mark. For a third time in the race, I stopped here to rearrange my footpads.
One more runner went past me. I smiled ruefully at her, and now I was certain that I would come last even if I did finish. I refuelled again and slowly got back on the final 5km to the finish. It seemed like an eternity before the jetty that never seemed to get closer, finally was close enough for me to know that I might just get to it and finish the race. I tried to catch the last of the runners in front of me, but I could not breach the final 200m or so to them. At least I kept pace and finally staggered to the finish line.

I almost collapsed over the finish line, but horror of horrors I saw the others keep going on to the jetty. So in horror instead of collapsing, some strange power urged me on just as it dawned on me (it's way past dawn Martin) that we had to run the pier a second time. The pier is 350m long, and the full 700m in-and-out final leg of the race on that jetty was the hardest I ever ran. I jogged really, but you know that’s my definition of running.

The timekeeper checked her watch and was about to leave, but I pleaded "I'm nearly there!"

You call that running martin?

I finished! Deadset last as predicted.
And so I survived to run another day but that's the last thing on my mind. And I lived to tell this tale.
Later I found some specks of white dots on my forearms. It turned out these were fine grains of salt, no not from the seabreeze, but from sweat caked on my skin. I am a salt factory.

After the race I met some of the club runners (I gather they're from moreton bay runners and bunyaville trailrunners clubs). I tried sharing war stories with them about my first half-marathon, but they are all seasoned running vets, though they smiled kindly at my tales of troubles.
'Might see you out on the roads of battles next time', I said as I took leave.
My legs disagreed of course. Strenuously if not violently. They were twitching.

Would I run this again? I wonder.
The results were promptly posted by the very cool redback runner Mr Cameron. He was also kind enough to grant a link in the coolrunning forum which I extracted.

                           Half Marathon  24. Unknown Participant          2:19:59

I don't know who the unknown participant is :-). I wonder if anyone even noticed him. But well done to all the runners in the inaugural "cliff 2 cliff" fat ass run. See you all next year perhaps.

The equivalent distances for funrunners in the Philippines should check out:
  1. Baguio cliff to Shilan cliff and vice versa. half marathon. (The surgeon-general from Chonglian has cautioned that running this route is hazardous to your health).
  2. Bontoc cliff to Gonogon cliff and back. half marathon. (Bontoc cliff is about a kilometre downriver and north of town, I think it's called 'Smokey cliff')
Postscript 04 June 2011
The cliff2cliff organiser advised that the results of the 2011 races are published in the 'Run For Your Life' Magazine June-July 2011 Issue #36.
cliff2cliff wordpress R4YL_June-July 2011



  1. Martin kumusta?

    Well done sa run mo at sa blog. Sana nag stay ka pa nang unti para maka usap tayo.


  2. hey jimmy, you must be that good looking (they're all goodlooking) gent from the gold coast. okay pare. at salamat. had to run (as in gtg) but next time siguro. di kita nabisto kabayan, sori. akala ko kasi ostrayan ka. wala kang bakas ng asento.


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