Race report – SARRC Christmas Fun Run

This weekend was the final event of the year for the South Australian Road Runners Club. I had run this event twice before. 

In 2013, just after my first ‘runniversary’, I got my first podium finish, coming 3rd despite missing the turnaround marker and probably running a few hundred metres extra (at least) and my time was 26:30. I was glad that no-one overtook me when I missed the turn, I would have been kicking myself! (In fairness, the turnaround marker was a red ‘dot’ on the ground, an inch square, whereas I was looking for something more like a cone or a flag.) 3rd place was as good as I could have hoped for anyway, as 2nd place was taken by regular parkrunner Sarah, who I had never beaten!

A year later I somehow managed first place in the 5k in a time of 22:53. That was also the ‘Club Championship’ so by default I was the Club Champion! (A lot of the regular fast runners were not competing, so it seemed a bit weird, but hey, you gotta be in it to win it!)

This year there was a different (I would say much fairer) system for the Club Championship. It was a cumulative points system, which I have no hope of understanding, with points gained for each SARRC event throughout the year. Faster times = more points. Leading into this weekend’s event I was in 3rd place for the women, but with Nadene pretty much set in first place, as far as I could tell, only needing to show up to win it!

Also adding interest and incentive to this year’s finale event was the Participation prize. One person who had participated in all SARRC events for the year (except Yurrebilla Ultra, which I did run, and the Beach Bash, which I did not) would be randomly drawn out and would win free entry to ALL SARRC events for next year – despite the fact that I will be away for at least one of those, it was a draw well worth being in! In the end there were 11 people (myself included) in the running (pun intended!)

I opted, as per usual, to run the 5k rather than the 10. As I’ve said before, I don’t enjoy the 10k distance, plus the course was a multi lap course around the Uni Loop. 5k = 2 laps (the Uni Loop is 2.2k so extra distance had been added to each loop to make it 2.5) and 10k = 4 laps. I didn’t really fancy going around there 4 times! (Which is really funny when yoi consider that in July I ran around the very same track 28 times in the 6 hour event!)

It was a warm morning so there was no need for arm warmers! I didn’t know there was rain forecast (and as it turned out, quite a lot of it!) I arrived just after 7, plenty of time to collect my number, socialise a bit and get a warmup in. Originally I was going to do a lap of the Uni Loop but decided 2.2k was too much. In the end I did 2k – running in the opposite direction to the race (I always like to do that if I can!)

The 5k and 10k started together. I saw a few familiar faces doing the 10k – Micarla and Louise – and was once again glad to have opted for the 5k (those 2 are way too fast for me!). 2nd place on the Club Champs points table, Rebecca, was also in the 10k, but Nadene was doing the 5, as was another Rebecca who I had not been far ahead of at Glenelg last month. So there was plenty of solid competition there!

The thing about the 2 races starting together is, unless you see someone’s bib as you pass them or they pass you, you don’t know whether they’re in your race or not! I had the same issue at Glenelg – although that was an out and back and we didn’t start together, there was some overlap towards the end.

I tried to keep Nadene, who finished 2nd to my 3rd at Glenelg, in sight at the start. There was another girl ahead of her – I later found out that was Belinda, I hadn’t met her before but she was always ahead of me. So once again, my only chance of a podium was to hold onto 3rd!

We went out pretty fast – my first kilometre was 4:07 and my second was 4:06. I slowed down significantly after that! It’s a trap that I often fall into in these shorter races! 

About halfway through the first lap I heard footsteps behind me, and by the sound of the breathing I could tell it was another female. I caught a glimpse of red out of the corner of my eye and my first thought was that it was Bec in the 5k – I couldn’t let her get ahead this early! This no doubt contributed to me going out WAY too fast on the first lap! I picked up the pace and she didn’t pass me but eventually, right near the end of the lap, she got away. And that was when I realised that it wasn’t Bec at all, it was Louise, in the 10k!

As a result of pushing a bit too hard in the first 2k, the last lap was definitely a struggle. The heat and humidity was definitely a factor as well as my poor pacing! At the start at 8am it was 25 degrees – not overly hot and certainly nothing like when I did the River View Run 2 weeks ago, but still warmer than we’ve been used to. My last 3 kilometre splits were (approximately) 4:26, 4:26 and 4:29. 

Didn’t even see the photographer!

I was passed by 2 girls during the second lap but I didn’t know if they were 5k or 10k. Towards the end, there was a turn where I could easily look back and see who was behind me. All I could see was one guy, no girls. As a result I did take it a bit easier in the last little bit, knowing that I could not catch whoever was ahead of me, and no-one was going to pass me. I finished in 21:55, my best time since May (just before I went to the Blue Mountains for UTA100) which was pleasing. Given that no-one said anything to me, I assumed I hadn’t got a placing  (normally they take down your name and number if you’re in the placings). I laid down on the ground for 5 minutes or so to recover – that really took a lot out of me!

Ducked for cover in the clubrooms – very happy with my time!

After that I watched the remaining 5k runners finish and the 10k runners continue to go around (did I mention I was happy with my decision to do the 5k?) before the weather started to turn ugly with strong winds and then a fair bit of rain!

That didn’t deter the kids though, who not long after, had their own 1k fun run, the ‘Santa Chase’, chasing a Santa on a bike! That was entertaining to watch, and a great way to get the kids involved, all of them getting a stocking full of chocolates at the end! And a few of them looked like athletes to look out for in the future!

Santa leads the kids out in the 1k fun run!

After the kids’ run was finished, it was presentation time. They did the 10k presentations first, then the 5k men followed by the women. The 3rd placed man was not far ahead of me, so I quickly checked the live results on my phone to see how far off a place I was. Just before I found my name on there, Nadene was announced as the 2nd placegetter, and I knew I wasn’t far behind her – sure enough I managed to scrape in for 3rd! A great way to end the year!

The 3 placegetters for the 5k – me 3rd, Belinda 1st and Nadene 2nd

Nadene did end up winning the Club Championship (well deserved) and the men’s champion was Bryn, who had been in a two-way battle with fellow Adelaide Harrier Piete for most of the year. Another deserving winner!

New SARRC president Dave Munro with the Club Champions for 2016

All in all I am very happy with my year of SARRC events. I’ve done 4 half marathons (one as a pacer), one marathon, one ultra, plus 2 × 5km, 2 × 10km and a 30km. Bit of a range there! Among all of those I got a 10k PB, my second fastest ever half marathon, and 2 3rd place finishes!

A satisfying year!

Thanks as always to the fantastic volunteers (I say it every time but it can’t be overstated – these events simply would not happen without volunteers!) This year they’ve had to deal with some very challenging conditions – including today cooking the BBQ in the rain! For those who run events regularly, PLEASE think about volunteering, even once a year. It’s possible to volunteer AND still run! And also please try to thank the volunteers out there on the day, they have given up their time so you can run (I know sometimes it’s hard to get the words out, but believe me, even a wave or a nod is appreciated!)

Well done to SARRC on a great year of events! I am proud to be on the Board of SARRC for the next 2 years, to give back to the club that has given me so much over the past 4 years! I look forward to getting more involved behind the scenes and see what goes into putting these events on!

Of course I will still be running with the SARRC groups 2-3 times a week during the ‘off-season’, and look forward to running at least some of the events next year in the lead up to Boston! (Oh and I didn’t win the big prize – that went to Peter, if I couldn’t win it I was very happy for him to!)

Time for a rest now? Maybe…