The morning of Saturday, 31st May was cold and wet. As I drove down to Regenesis to pick up Stav and Jacquie I was half expecting some nervous text messages and phone calls – but they never came – everyone was obviously determined regardless of the conditions. I had recruited Stav as a mentor for Jacquie to run the whole 5km together. After a full year, Stav is now a seasoned runner and she relished her role as mentor. In fact, Stav put her craft skills to work and provided medals for everyone who participated on the day (but that was a surprise for later). We had some entertaining banter on the drive over and we then met up with Belinda, Matt and Mossy (Belinda’s mentor for the day). After a brief warm-up, a few jokes and some final instructions from myself we headed over to the start. We then had a few inspirational words from Pat Farmer and the leaders of Sydney Park Run. We were ready.

I started the event running alongside Matt. He  had a target of 25mins for the event and after 500m we saw Pat Farmer roll past us so we decided to let him go thinking better of it. After passing 1km in 4mins 15secs I knew Matt was on track. I then picked up with Stav and Jacquie who were also well under Jacquie’s target of 40mins after the first 5km. With the usual chatter still going on between the 2 of them I knew Jacquie was travelling well. Belinda, likewise was well under her target of 45mins after the first kilometre but the toughest part of the course was still to come. However, Mossy was filling her head with confidence as they went along. 

The peak of a very sharp hill marks the halfway point of the run. Matt was still flying and was heading home as the rest of us made our way up the toughest part of the course. There was plenty of cursing, very little conversation and I made sure to keep my distance to avoid a slap across the face for making people put themselves through such punishment – but everyone made it and we headed for home knowing the worst was behind us.

With great excitement everyone picked up the pace towards the finish line and I am delighted to say that everyone hit their target times. Final times were: Matt 23mins 27secs, Jacquie 36mins 17secs, Belinda 40mins 36secs. 

I’d also like to acknowledge: Matt for having the quickest time of us all for the day; Jacquie for having the highest Age Grade ranking (a ranking based on age and gender relative to the World Record for that group); and Belinda for setting a tremendous time. Belinda has now lost 40kgs and with more weight to lose there are a lot of 5km PBs in her future.

Thanks also to Nigel for hooking us up with Sydney Park Run where he is a veritable celebrity as I found out running with him the week before for some reconnaisance. 

I now turn my attention towards the City to Surf and I look forward to working with everyone towards new PBs and also those who will be competing for the first time.

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