Run for the kids will always be a very special event for me as it was my first official public run. I’d been training in my garage on the treadmill for a while beforehand but turning up and being surrounded by a large crowd and actually putting myself out there as a runner? That was new, exciting and mildly terrifying. As well, it turned out, as being very addictive.
So, nearly 10 years to the day since I arrived at the start line of my first ‘Run for the kids’, I arrived at the start line of my fifth this morning. Things have changed a bit in 10 years – firstly, my husband was with me (in running gear this time, not as a supporter) as was my brilliant running buddy (very different from running alone as I did that first day).
The other big change is the course. This year, the course starts at the Docklands which was perfect for those of us catching the train as it was a very short walk from Southern Cross station. The event village was already buzzing when we got there – we dropped bags, found some secret toilets without queues and made our way to our starting area. Husband was in blue (speedy) group, we were in yellow (slightly less speedy) group. Selfies done, we waited for the start, feeling almost as nervous as I did at my first event. Almost.
And, soon enough, we were off. The course took us quickly through the Docklands, over the junction then onto the freeway and heading towards the Bolte Bridge. As usual, the Bolte was a selfie fest and, despite having done it 4 times before, I loved being up there and taking in the view and the beautiful Melbourne weather (with just a bit of a headwind). Then it was time to head back down and along the freeway which seemed to go on quite a long time, far past the previous course turn off.
Eventually we were back down and around then running along Flemington Road to another of the highlights of the new course – running past the Royal Children’s Hospital. I had been looking forward to this section but hadn’t thought how emotional it would make me and I was fighting back tears, especially when seeing the young patients sitting in wheelchairs with drips attached thanking us. Thanking us. For being out in the sunshine running and enjoying ourselves while they were going through things that children shouldn’t have to go through.
We then wove our way through suburban gems of streets around North Melbourne before a final squiggle to take us to the finish and a blissful downhill stretch. The icing on the cake was Steve Moneghetti being at the finish line to cheer us in – such a great ambassador for the event and for running in general.
I had been a bit reluctant about the change of course prior to the event as I was a big fan of running through the tunnel and wondered how its omission would change things. However I absolutely loved the new course – great length, enough variety to keep it interesting and a few undulations to push you a bit.
Very proud to have completed my fifth ‘Run for the kids’ and I’m sure I’ll be back next year.