A few months ago on my regular jog around the city — Kangaroo Point, Story Bridge, Botanical Gardens and back across the Goodwill Bridge — I kept seeing advertising for the Bridge to Brisbane. I mostly ignored it, except for the strategic placement of their advertising of which I was in admiration. I then did a bit of research on the date, time and length of the course. It was only 10km and I was pretty confident jogging (aka mostly walking) around 6km at the time so that didn't seem like too much of a stretch.
I asked my amazing wife and she encouraged me to go for it, I checked in with my boss (I work at a Church and this was on a Sunday) and was reminded that my Senior Pastor did the same event a few years back and it was all cool. I bought my ticket and then — well, life happens — I was working, doing smaller 5km jogs here and there and then Google Inbox floated the email back to the top about a month out.
I had four weeks to go and had not actually done 10km in one go as yet, I had come close (8.5km once haha). Then my ‘bib’ arrived, having never done anything like this I found the name bib quite confusing and somewhat abhorrent, implying that I would be drooling or am a child. There were also no instructions on how to actually attach the bib to my running shirt, this too was confusing as a first timer on this kind of thing. After some googling and youtubing, it was discovered that the best way to do this was with safety pins. Now it was eight days out from my 10km course and I drove to the city one Friday afternoon and made the stretch, doing 10km in about an hour and thirty minutes. I also got my fastest 10k ever! — even though this was my first (thanks Nike+ Run App ).
Over that weekend I also actually did the whole course, as best I could without running on the highway with cars in the way. I figured that if I had done it at least once, it would not feel as long the second time — as with most things, the first few times feel the longest as your brain is working out the details of the new situation. The issue I found with doing the course is that it is not a loop, so I had to then walk another 3km back to my car parked at the top of Spring Hill— more like Spring Ridiculous Mountain!
So, a week out — I had done 10km and then next minute it was Sunday morning, my wife was driving me into the city so I could do this thing for real. It was pretty cool, a year ago I never thought I would be able to do 10km in a row, a year before I never imagined I would actually pay money to be a part of a collective race. In high school and all times since, I actively avoided competitive physical activity, being short and basically not great at that stuff meant I tried to focus on things I could win.
The goal of this was to do my absolute best and it was nice knowing that I at least joined the yellow joggers group, one level above the walkers.
I have to congratulate the team behind this amazing event, this was the first time they had this around the city (previous years it had been across the Gateway Bridge). It felt incredibly organised and had obviously been put together by some great event coordinators.
For example; when I was looking at the start times, I could not reconcile why the fastest groups (green, blue runners) would start first and the slower groups (me) would start later. I assumed that it would make sense to get everyone to finish at the same time. On the day — the plan made sense, firstly there are tens of thousands of people doing this thing and having them finish at the same time would be just plain dumb. Secondly the runners would straight away overtake the slowers , causing frustration on the part of both parties. All of this made sense on the day when I saw how the people flowed, and it reminded me that you don't know what you don't know .
Some other awesome things that made it easy on the day, these were great assistive systems;
The event had set colours for running groups, blue and green for runners, yellow joggers, and grey for walkers. Those colours were not used in any other signage meaning they were allocated exclusively to the run groups, this helped us easily see where to go and who was in our group throughout the day.
My personal favourite was the passive RFID tag built into my bib, this enabled the race magicians to track our every move. I thought it was an awesome use of tech on a mass scale and even took a photo of one of the trackers. note the item pictured is probably not the tracker itself, there is a cable that goes along the ground.
- DJs strategically placed, having music pumping at about three points meant there was a bit of fun and atmosphere created.
- Water spots throughout the course were great, cups could have been filled less as most people would not have drunk a full cup of water while jogging/running.
- Two days after the race I received an email with the ability to purchase photos of myself coming down the last 500m. This was a great touch and would have been logistically complex to pull off.
- The signage was great with key markers for every kilometer and markings for points along the way which doubled as first aid points.
The Last Bit
In my head, I thought that I would be able to smash the last kilometer but I was so wrecked. I had pushed hard and could feel a painful blister forming on my right foot as I realised I had worn the wrong socks.
I took a mad selfie, me trying not to die an ugly death. I did not die though — as far as I am currently aware. However when I got to the last bit, where I could see the finish line, something odd happened. I suddenly had so much energy (aka adrenaline) — maybe because the thought of the coffee shop I was going to visit after entered my head. I ran as fast as I could to the finish line.
It was the best feeling, to finish the race! I did not put my hands up in the air like they do in movies, but I did feel like it.
Overall, I am so glad I did it and hopefully I can beat my time in the future.
I ran the 10km in about one hour and twenty minutes, as it was my fourth time doing 10k ever in a row I am pretty pumped. I loved that I got to jog along the roads and tunnels in our beautiful city that I would never normally be able to go on.
The other cool thing was I got to see my parents (normally they are in Emerald, 12 hours away) and grandparents that morning as they were all having breakfast together at the Mantra (near the finish line).
I did get an amazing coffee at Merriweather and got to our second service at Life church on time.