Bridge Run


Jemma Castle

Sunday morning is the best time to catch a city in silence. And this Sunday was no exception – except that, this particular Sunday’s silence was shared with 34,000 others. I, along with swarms of other runners, gathered at Milson’s Point to the scent of tiger balm and the sight of stretching limbs, for the start of the 9km Bridge Run as part of the Sydney Running Festival.

For non-runners, the idea of a ‘Fun Run’, I can imagine, seems a little odd. It’s unfortunate how the two words rhyme and have such sweetly efficient syllables, isn’t it? Running isn’t fun.

Well, at least that’s what I thought before I started running with thousands of others.

The atmosphere at these kinds of events is key. Something happens when there are thousands of people about with a similar mission.

Crowds can evoke mixed emotions. On one level, you’re wishing they would all go away so you can get to the front. But you’d be shooting yourself in the foot – it’s the crowd that gives you enough adrenalin to run this far. Normally I’m running 5 kilometres at the gym and struggling, but at a ‘Fun Run’ I seem to have a magical extra 4 kilometres in reserve.

The run itself was like the perfect mix CD you’d give a loved one. It was a chance to renew an affection for Sydney that had waned over the winter months.

When you are trying to pursue someone with a mix CD, track one always has to excite – that was the Harbour Bridge. Track two always needs to top the first so that you don’t think it’s all downhill from here – the Cahill Expressway, overlooking both the bridge and the Opera House.

But then things need to cool down a bit. So we headed into the city and were invigorated by the sweet smell of Powerade wafting from tables that lined the street, being served to us by volunteers.

The key to a successful mix is that it needs to supply enough entertainment to get your loved one to the end, but without exhausting them. At Hyde Park Barracks I was given just enough sustenance from the St Andrews School band. By this point I’d stuck with it, so I persevered to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. I knew it was finishing with the Opera House so I thought I may as well stay with it until the end.

The festival of running has runs of various fitness levels that people can enter, from 4kms to 42kms. It sort of captures the feel-good spirit of these kinds of things – whatever your ability, have a go. Warm and fuzzies aside, it’s not just the mish-mash of people who enter that create this feeling.

After finishing, I went down to watch the marathon runners finish the race. There was a man who had not run but was watching all the runners come in. He cheered each and every one – “You’re going really well! You’re nearly there!” So earnest in his support, he didn’t miss a runner. After a while, I noticed his dedication to the runners was animating the crowd around him.

His encouragement was so selfless, so generous and unprovoked. And there was something in his cheer that made me think the world was going to be OK.

Enter next year’s run.


One Response to “Bridge Run”


  1. Castollita » Blog Archive » More self promotion - September 24, 2010

    […] You can also read (or just click on) my review about the great cheerman at the Bridge Run. […]

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