August 14, 2011

The Force Was With Us

Today has been absolutely exhausting. We have spent most of the day sitting on our balcony watching the City To Surf, the annual fun run from Sydney's CBD to Bondi Beach. Watching people jog and sweat has really taken it out of me. I should have done some training.

The race began with a trickle of runners, the serious sportspeople who would fight it out for the win. It was terribly exciting and the kids and I ran outside to cheer them on. We clapped, we waved, and I tried to go 'Woo hoo!' but had to stop after my son told me I was an embarrassment.

The Balcony Scene
Across the road, Boo's best friend, the delightful Sarah, appeared with her mum and dad, having walked up the hill from their home.

'There's Sarah!" cried Boo. "I want to play with her!"

"Okay, let me just get your coat," I said. I rushed inside and rushed out again.
"Alright, let's go."

Er... no. Slight problem. In that 30 seconds, about 20 billion people had flooded the road. They had come out of nowhere (actually, they had come out of the city, but that's just semantics), and were pounding the pavement, panting and grunting in a pumping wall of humanity. And there was no way we were getting past them in one piece.

"Sa-RAH!!!" my three year old wailed, reaching out pathetically across the road. It was tragic. So near, and yet so far. I tried to explain that we could simply not risk being trampled to death in the name of a playdate, but she was inconsolable.

Then beside me, an elderly woman appeared, dressed as if for church. She looked to her right, looked to her left, and then ran, ducking and weaving through the sea of joggers in her skirt and  hat like a pious Pac Man. It was inspiring. That, my friends, is what Faith will do for you.

Over the couse of the morning, we saw a number of interesting competitors. There were Smurfs, Super Marios, and a blue Avatar person. There were Spidermen, Supermen and a limping Batman ("I guess I'm not invincible after all," he told me sadly). There were a couple of wrestlers, many Bananas (some peeled, some whole), and a Colonel Gadaffi (don't ask). There were Lego pieces, a Stig, aliens, and an awful lot of tutus. And there were a couple of Wonder Women, looking more than a little tired. ("Wonder Woman! All the world is waiting for you!" I said. "Well it'll have to wait a bit longer," one of them replied.)

Can you see Elmo?
About half way through the race my daughter posted a sign. KEEP GOING! it commanded. And then the sign fell off.

"Do you think I should play my violin?" she asked.

"Well that will certainly make them run a lot faster," I told her.

My husband and I brought out stools, sat down and continued to shout out encouragement to the passing masses. "Less talking, more running!" I yelled to a chattering group of girls.

"Less sitting, more running!" one of them yelled back. I guess I deserved that.

"Go ducky!!!" I shouted to a runner in a duck costume.

"For god sake, Kerri," said my husband. "You're embarrassing me."

"Why?" I asked. "I'm allowed to cheer!"

"Because it's a chicken," he said, and rolled his eyes.

Still, by the end of the race, it was my husband who was embarrassing me.  "Disqualified!" he started calling out at random (although happily, no-one took notice). "Give up! There's no point! You'll never finish!" he said. And I dragged him into the house. 

Eventually, the sea of runners trickled to a stream. We went inside, and watched the end of the race through the window. But the best was yet to come. A huge group of Star Wars Storm Troopers marched past our house in full costume. It was awesome. It was almost spiritual. I hoped the church lady had seen them.

May The Force Be With You
Later in the day I got to thinking. If I started training now, I could run the City To Surf next year. I too could be one of those joggers. I could be a Smurf, or a Batgirl, or a Banana. I could be an Elmo, or a Star Trooper, or a Duck. (I could even be a Chicken, but then I'd probably get confused.)

But it looked like really hard work, and even writing this post has made me tired. I think I'll just stick to the balcony.


  1. I'm with you Kerri, on the balcony.  Preferably with something cool and refreshing in my right hand.  

  2. I believe some people actually enjoy excercise, and keeping fit. I just don't understand why you would want to get all hot, and sweaty. Unless, of course.......

  3. I'm the runner type.
    But I would love some of your brand of encouragement!
    When I ran a marathon this year, a friend had a sign towards the end saying "Hurry! They're running out of wine at the finish line!!"
    My kind of support.

  4. Fantastic blog!! And what a shame you didn't realise it was a chicken. Then you could have got the definitive answer on why he crossed the road (or was wandering down yours, anyway).

  5. Oh I want to come & watch silly and sensible and sport people run to Bondi next year. Rent me a seat at your house. On the balcony. Oh, yes! What fun....
    BTW, Bugmum's hub would have gone by in a flash.....under 60 mins at the finish.

  6. You could run dressed as the cover of your next book!

  7. The Storm Troopers.  Too cool.

  8. You could totally do the City to Surf next year. You could go as a successful writer, one that gets carried around by four muscled minions.


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