It’s never easy getting up early to run a race. It’s dark. It’s cold. And invariably you haven’t slept very well.
Add to that the fact you may be nursing an injury – like my sprained ankle from a few weeks ago – and you start to get the picture of a reluctant participant in this year’s Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k.
Yet as I arrive at the marshalling area near the Overseas Passenger Terminal any thoughts of quitting quickly dissipate.
The bottled energy, the constrained anticipation, and the heightened expectancy are palpable and set-to-burst.
Sydney Harbour is a stunning location. I’ve lived here all my life – apart from several long overseas trips – yet it never ceases to instill in me a sense of awe and wonder.
Beneath the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge we gather in the cool, dawn light.
Warm bodies limber-up and stretch as we nervously await the starter’s gun.
Locals. Out-of-towners. Even a few foreigners. It’s an eclectic bunch all with a common goal: to finish.
What I really love about the 10k distance is that it’s over pretty quickly. In less than an hour for most.
Aiming for a sub-50 minute time I have secured a starting position in the front A-group. It’s a wise decision as it allows me to run with people of a similar pace.
The countdown begins. The echo of the gun ricochets off the old, character-filled buildings in The Rocks. And we’re away.
It’s a relatively flat course that winds it’s way around the harbour foreshore. Through Darling Harbour. And back. Finishing in front of the MCA at Circular Quay.
Not that’s there’s a lot of time to enjoy the sights. My focus is well-and-truly on running the road before me.
I decide early-on to try and maintain a consistent pace throughout the entire race rather than starting slow and finishing fast. Yet I’m surprised I’ve begun faster than planned. So I reign it in a litte and after the first km fall into a steady rhythm.
I actually spend a lot of time reminding myself that it’ll all be over soon. That the pain and discomfort is only temporary. Not to push too hard but also not to slacken off.
It pays dividends as I’m well on target.
Because it’s a relatively flat course it lends itself to the possibility of a fast time.
It’s this knowledge that keeps me going. The image of crossing the finish-line exhausted but happy. Satisfied that I’ll be rewarded for my effort.
As I round the corner near the Park Hyatt and see the majesty of the Sydney Opera House reflecting the bright, morning sunshine I know there’s less than a km to go.
As always, finishing is a blessed relief.
The feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from completing the event far out-weighs any temporal suffering.
I can’t wait for my next 10k!
Kim | marathon runner