Sussan women’s fun run – race recap

My favourite run of the year was on this morning – the Sussan women’s fun run – and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.

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This year, I was lucky enough to be at this event with some great friends – Jo, Jill & Maggi – which all just added to the fantastic atmosphere. We left home rather early but were rewarded with my usual easy and close car park and time to meander through the event village to pick up bibs and my prize (I won some Natio sunscreen, which will definitely come in handy over the next few months!). We queued for the porta-loos (clean and with real toilet paper – bonus!), browsed the stands and entered a competition to win some shoes then it was time to gather at the start. We wished each other all the best and set off at our own paces.

20151206_084515.jpgThe thing I love most about this run in the atmosphere and general camaraderie of all who participate. The looping course also means you’re never on your own as you get to see the same people multiple times and cheer on those faster and slower than you. The huge cheers for the fastest 10km runners were a great sign of this but there was equally large support for those at the back of the field.

The first few km whizzed by and I felt good. My foot was giving its usual twinges but I had energy and, most of all, felt happy to be doing this. I’d worried that I had lost my running mojo with City2Sea and the general flatness I felt at the start of that but it was well and truly back this morning. I even had a few vaguely teary moments at particularly loud cheers from the crowd – it’s that sort of event where you can’t help but be lifted by the generally positive mood.

I stuck to my 3 min run/1 min walk throughout and felt strong and happy. Coming in to the finish shute, Bastille’s ‘Pompeii’ came on my iPod which made me smile (brilliant song!) and felt like an anthem worthy of pushing me over the finish line. Hearing my friends cheer me over the line was great – so much more fun to be doing this event with others.

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It wasn’t a PB although wasn’t far off it and it was my 2nd best 10km time this year. But it really wasn’t about the time today (not that it ever is!) – it was about enjoying the run and I certainly achieved that. Most importantly, it reminded me how much I enjoy running and how grateful I am to have met some awesome running friends this year. Bring on 2016!

Race recap – Sussan Women’s 10km (Melbourne)

When my alarm went off at 5am, I surprised myself by springing out of bed without much convincing. This was despite the rain and wind that had persisted all night and was still lingering today. The Sussan Women’s Fun Run is probably my favourite event of the year and a bit of rain wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying it.

The race is held along St Kilda foreshore and is a flat, straight course along the road with very little shade so I had been more concerned that it might be hot (not unusual considering it is supposed to be Summer!). The rain was welcome but I had to stop off and buy a poncho on my way to keep me dry until the event started.

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The reason I love this run so much is the atmosphere – so positive, friendly and non-competitive. Despite the weather, there was clearly the same buzz there this morning. I chatted to some fellow runners while we were lined up to start – so different to other big runs I’ve done where everyone is in their own headspace and the only communication is furtive looks when someone’s space is encroached. Definitely none of that here.

Soon enough, the starting gun went and we were off. It was a crowded start and, with the wet road, I didn’t want to risk zipping in and out so I just cooled my pace and sat behind a couple of other runners at one side of the road. There was still some dodging as there were huge puddles left over from last night’s downpour. There is a good mix in this event of runners and walkers which is probably another reason it counts as one of my favourites – I don’t feel guilty or in the way for going too slow.

The first few kms flew by and, before I knew it, I was halfway. My first half time was about average for my 5km split so I knew I wasn’t in for a personal best but didn’t care – this one was really about enjoying the run and the crowd. It’s always funny once you settle in to a longer event, you find yourself running with/past/being passed by a similar group of runners. There were 3 or 4 runners who I saw at the 2km mark and who were still somewhere either just in front or just behind me at 7km. It was these unknown runners who helped when my feet had had enough – I shuffled along behind them and tried to keep to their pace so I didn’t have to think about setting my own. Because of the rain, my feet were absolutely soaked and were my most uncomfortable body part. It felt a bit like I was running in wet, concrete boots for the last km.

Approaching the finish brought its own challenges – the run down to the finish chute was through Catani Gardens and along paths which didn’t cope well with so much water. However I was still smiling as I ran towards the finish line. I only missed a 10km personal best by 30 seconds so I wasn’t unhappy with my run. More importantly, I knocked 5 minutes off my time for the same event last year – great to see my progress over a year of running.

wpid-20141207_090111.jpgI hung around for a short time afterwards to cheer a fellow five30runner over the finish line. It actually made me quite emotional to cheer on the women coming in – you could read on their faces both the elation at reaching the finish and the strain it had taken to get there.

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I wandered back to my car and changed into dry clothes for the drive home. Most entertaining was trying to get my compression socks on (a ritual for me after a long race). This is usually challenging enough with tired arms and limited energy but was even more of a contortionist act today with wet legs.

Summary: A great event with a fabulous atmosphere. My 4th year of running this one – I’ll be back!

+ a sparkly medal that can also be used as a keyring
+ great goody bag (both virtual and real) including jelly beans (essential after a run!)
+ the race village has a really good atmosphere both before and after a run – worth hanging around for
+ love the t-shirt – not a running one but will be a favourite to wear

the km markings were out. Doesn’t matter a lot to me as I run with my Garmin but it would be an issue for those without a GPS
the results were supposed to be up immediately but seem to be having issues. Again, not a big deal for me as I tend to go by what my watch said but would still like to know my official time