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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Cliff2cliff fat ass 2012

Cliff2cliff (Shorncliffe to Redcliff)  25 March 2012.
About 80 runners turned up for this fat ass (no fee and informal) running event. The events listed are: 50km ultra,Marathon and Half-marathon 
The foreshores of Moreton bay along the northern coastal villages of Shorncliffe Sandgate Brighton in Brisbane and the bayside suburbs from Clontarf to  Scarborough in the Redcliff peninsula are picturesque and beautiful recreational areas comprising beaches jetties and piers parklands picnicking grounds swimming pools and other features all linked by tree-lined pathways with more than enough facilities including toilets drink fountains barbeques exercise structures sculptures and other art pieces etc.
Shorncliffe, Sandgate and Brighton on Moreton Bay.
Oh yes i come not to praise
the place, but to race
an event called the cliff2cliff
hoping to place, not in last place
or fall off the cliff face
and come to grief... 

anyone know poetry?

A half-marathon is a test of sorts. It is a test of endurance and speed, if one’s aiming to see how fast she can run. Marathoners and ultra runners may scoff at what I call endurance, and the speed freaks go past me as if i’m standing still, but it’s the business end of a funrunner’s diary – exam time. Nothing personal against endurance and speed but my aim is to finish and at a reasonable time (somewhere faster than walking).
Night was still wrestling with the dawn when i arrived, but it soon yielded to the glorious bright sunlit morning which greeted the runners at the Shorncliffe pier. Actually I slept in and was amongst the last to arrive. The race director Grant came ronning er running to put me down for the 50km ultra. I asked to register for the 211km super-ultra, but apparently that event was cancelled. The boardwalk on the pacific coast around Moreton and Stradbroke Islands to Kingscliff in NSW was still under construction J, so I had to settle for the 21.1km half-marathon.

A sunrise or sunset meander along the beautiful foreshores from Shorncliffe to Brighton and beyond the bridge to Redcliff is worth doing. And if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing well. So I thought why walk when you can fly? And indeed I went up to the skies to capture the incomparable beauty of these parts of the northern Brisbane area.
Shorncliffe
From cliff to cliff and park to park, jetty to jetty and bridge to bridge, its all here. Yes even creek to creek, bay to bay, 'fish and chips' shops to 'chips and fish chops', all the way from coast to coast...
Too much waffling Martin. Back to running.

A good number of runners had turned up. In the few weeks and days leading up to the race, there was a bit of chatter in the coolrunning forum for this fat ass event, so many more were attracted to its features. Cooled by the seabreezes off moreton bay and shaded and protected by trees lining the coast, the sometimes winding but mostly straight pathways take runners for a tour of the foreshores.
Last year’s inaugural cliff2cliff was a leisurely run with fewer participants, but this year’s looked a serious race for many of the faster runners out front.

Sandgate by the sea.
Shorncliffe is the mustering area for this great fat ass running event. The name Shorncliffe derives from the appearance of its headland as viewed from out on Moreton Bay. It is also the starting area for the Brisbane to Gladstone Easter yacht race, and that's coming up soon, but before that are the runners.
At the gun, the runners headed south to the groyne fronting the Shorncliffe headland cliffs, a 300-350m route alteration due to ongoing repairs to the pier. We ducked in and out of trees and bollards and sidestepped around tables and lawns on the short out and back trip to the groyne. Then the race settled to its rhythm.
From the start I ran, or tried matching paces with a self-trained runner, Ms Chelle, a young woman who starts her day with a lazy early morning run of 'only' 9km. And as if that's not enough, she also does another easy 9 km home in the evenings.
We hit Sandgate at about the 2km mark. Sandgate is popular for excursions and picnics and outings, but since the opening of the Hornibrook Highway to the beaches in Redcliff, became more a secret hideaway for the locals. The runners toured its long foreshore reserves while taking in the panoramic views of the bay. Chelle and me ran along the lovely shady picnic lawns and foreshores. We overtook a few runners as we admired the remaining historical sights of Sandgate village.
Looking south to Decker Park in Brighton.
Brighton on the shores of Bramble Bay, lies between Sandgate and the  Houghton Highway and Ted Smout Bridge across to Redcliffe. At about the 5km mark we set foot on Brighton with its wide streets and renovated timber homes fronting the waterfront esplanades with parks, paths, restaurants, cafes and swimming pool facilities.  The seaside location and the many amenities has attracted many families to live here. 
Soon we get to the ramp and pathways of the 3km long Ted Smout bridge. 
Ted Smout Bridge on Bramble Bay at the Pine river.
The easterly wind was blowing and cooled us as we ran over the thrice-bridged waters of bramble bay on the mouth of pine river. We met many cyclists walkers and joggers on our journey from cliff to cliff. 
We were about three-quarters of an hour into the race and I had used up my water and feeling thirst. Thankfully we had in sight the inviting sprawling oasis of Clontarf with its bayside parks walkways and bikeways and recreational facilities. Clontarf at 9km mark is another charming seaside suburb at the southernmost tip of Redcliff Peninsula with a children's playground area, and popular boat ramp. I kept an eye out for the mini half-marathon turn-around marker in Pelican Park (named in honour of the amazing sea birds living in the area).
My running companion is a very fit lady, having lost a bit of weight and is now just running recreationally to keep herself slim, and dare i say dangerous. Hey Ms Pfieffer, you rule! She kindly paced me for more than half of the half-marathon, before i begged off pretending to look for a water tap.
The rest of the run was the reverse of the northbound out run. So I sailed against the southerly/ southeasterly headwind as I retraced my steps. I stopped a couple of times for water. I passed some runners, and other runners passed me. Running's like that - tit for tat.

Photos post-race.
Admiring the seascape in the sun's wake behind the clouds.
That's a newbie, I think his name's Mate, and his friend Tanker.
A couple of tourists take pictures while a barefooted finisher contemplates buying shoes,
or a camera.


A fast-finishing first timer conquers the cliff2cliff foreshores.
Ms Chelle rules!
A group does a post-race debriefing.
The rails hold firm against... pushers.
There’s a lot more features in Redcliff with Norfolk pines and swimming lagoons and beaches and picnic parks and lookout points. And in Brighton and Sandgate are local wetland reserves for native flora and fauna. There are also numerous restaurants, cafes, and of course fishing.  I do see those attractions on my occasional travels to the peninsula, via the tourist route along the coast, not by air, not on foot, but by car.