This morning, I ran in the inaugural City2South race. A few firsts: first time running that distance officially (as opposed to a proper half marathon, the Great Ocean Road 'extended version' half marathon, or a 10km); first time paying to run in a Brisbane race that included part of my regular run; and first time I ran to raise money for a cause.
As far as race organisation went, Brisbane did quite well. Things that could have been better were signage at the start area, as well as the baggage drop off point actually being marked on the map on the back of our bibs; barriers along more of the route (the absence of these resulted in a number of bottlenecks in the first quarter or so); and timing. Every other race I've done has provided a gun time and a net time. Even those races - like the Twilight Half Marathon - in which there was maybe a 30 second difference. But this one - where they even started us at different times, and I couldn't hear the starter anyway, and it was a good few hundred metres from where I was past the start of our zone and around the corner to the official start line - no. I know a lot of people would use their own timing devices, but that doesn't count for future race things where they only go on the official time. So my official time is about 7 minutes slower than what I wanted, and I have no idea how close I actually was to my goal. Thanks, Fairfax.
On the upside with timing though - they showed times at 5km, 10km and finish (14km). So I could see just how consistent I was - it was a matter of seconds difference between my first 2 timings. My PT sometimes calls me Miss Consistency and I can see why! Towards the last 4km I could really feel the effects of my recent cold - every breath reminded me that things are still not quite what they should be. And I really dislike running with a runny nose.
I really appreciated the kilometre markings (like, really). I also really appreciated the folks who came out early on a Sunday
morning to cheer us on. I had a little giggle when we passed a dad and
2 kids - the younger kid whined "How many people are there?!" and the older one replied "About 500". Ha.
Admittedly, 500 would seem like a ridiculous number to a 6-yr-old, but
they were about 5000 off. And the best sign was the one which read,
"It's all down hill from here". Such a relief.
Another aspect I appreciated (and always have, since Melbourne) was hydration. This was so well done - thanks people! Water in white cups, Lucozade in coloured cups, and volunteers calling out enthusiastically to point us in the right direction. And there was no waiting, they had a few people lined up with cups ready to give out as well as the tables all filled and ready to go. Bonus - at the finish line, water, then a free bottle of Lucozade. Score! Baggage was also well-organised.
Other bonuses: being on a really early train (again, better than Melbourne!) with a whole lot of other people clad in running gear... alongside the occasional passed-out or sobering-up passenger. Ahem. Also, starting with my brother... Who is much faster than me... But it was nice to have a smiling cheering friend at the finish line.
As for fundraising... This didn't have as much effect on me while running as I expected. It did help me beforehand though, and I feel pretty good at having raised some money for a worthy cause. After I'd made a donation, they actually called me to say thank you - I could tell they really appreciated it. I was pleasantly surprised by the people who did donate, and was really encouraged by their words of support (so if you're one of those and reading - THANK YOU!).