Race report – Goolwa Huff N’ Puff

Yesterday I drove 180km roundtrip to run 3.5km.
Sounds crazy, right?
Remember this is the same person who drove 500km for a parkrun!
Yesterday’s event was the Goolwa Huff N’ Puff, a race against the Oscar W paddle steamer, to celebrate Oscar’s 109th birthday. There were a whole lot of festivities happening in the wharf precinct as part of the celebrations.
I had heard about the race through Facebook, it was organised by Simon, a fellow vegan/health professional/runner who is slowly morphing into a triathlete. There was a 3.5km one way race against the paddle steamer, as well as a 7km out and back. I decided to do the 3.5km as I have been regularly running a fast 4k and 5k but 7k is that little bit too far for me to be ‘racing’ at the moment!
Quite a few people I knew were running/walking – Denis and Sara (who had started my running journey nearly 5 years earlier!), a few people backing up after Yurrebilla last week (Tim, Steve, Sam and Claire) as well as Ros and Roger, Michelle and Daniel, and Dani who was walking with her daughter. Many of them, like me, had just driven down in the morning!
It didn’t help that daylight saving started yesterday, which meant we lost an hour’s sleep. Luckily the 7k started at 9am and the 3.5k an even more civilised 9:15am!
I did toy with the idea of running it in my tiger onesie if Richmond won the Grand Final but I decided against it. It was still in my car just in case I changed my mind at the last minute, but in hindsight it would have been a bad idea!
I got to the finish area around 8:30 to get my bib, and decided that the best way to get to the 3.5km start (and 7km turnaround) was to run there. I needed to do a warmup anyway!
Our main ‘competition’ in the race!
The Oscar W wasn’t quite at the start line by the time we started at 9:15, but our other water-based rivals, the Coorong Dragons in their dragonboat, seemed very eager to get going!
I suspect the dragonboaters may have exceeded the 4 knot limit! This was just before the start of the 3.5k race.
Before we started, some of the faster 7km runners reached the turnaround, led by Denis and a very fast woman, who I later found out was Olympic race walker Claire Tallent!
There were a few fast kids ahead of me when we started, one of whom I quickly passed, but I was never able to catch the other one!
Before we started, Roger said there was a head wind on the way back – and he was right! It wasn’t super strong but it did have an impact. Probably more of an impact on the boats, though!
Being only 3 and a bit kilometres, the run was over pretty quickly! I passed Michelle who ended up 2nd female in the 7km event. She later said she kept me in sight and it was good to have someone to follow!
I could hear breathing down my neck, I could tell it was a guy but I still didn’t want him to pass me! He did eventually get past me with about 1km to go but he did give me someone to follow, as the lead runner had disappeared out of sight!
This was the first time ever that I had run the entire course in reverse before the actual race, so I knew when I was approaching the finish! I had a sneaky peek over my shoulder and couldn’t see anyone, so I waited until I got onto the grass before I picked up the pace.
Thanks to Krystal Hunt for this pic – can’t even see the paddle steamer or the dragonboat in this shot!
Those finish line feels! Thanks to Ian Porteous for this photo!
It was cool to be able to see the paddle steamer and the dragon boat finish – the latter winning that particular race (only just!)
Photo finish!
It was a really cool concept for a fun run – something I’d never done before and would definitely do again! Thanks to organisers Simon and Andrew as well as all the volunteers for making this thoroughly enjoyable event happen!
Afterwards I joined in a ‘Come and Try’ dragonboating session which was challenging and fun! And I got to work my upper body and rest my legs a bit!
And now for something completely different!
The markets were pretty cool too! All in all, a lovely day!
Bling for all finishers – a nice touch!