23 November, 2004

Tuesday 23/11/2004

Here I am at last. I have been too tired to bother untill now. This morning I did 8x500m reps with Pat Carroll's Group then went to work and reckon I hit the wall. I was totally stuffed. What! you say - after a bit of a speed session.

The speed session came after a big weekend - the Endeavour 500K Relay. Whow! what a fantastic weekend. This was my second year and it was even better than the first. Our team, Brisbane Road Runners, came 4th out of 16. The best result ever for us. Unlike the Team Victory, the winners, our team members range from 68 to 21 years of age and with running speeds ranging from 3 min K's to 7 min K's. Everyone put in incredible efforts as indicated by the result. When your team mate has just tagged you after running his/her guts out what choice do you have other than doing the same.

I have never in my life pushed myself to the physical limits I managed in this relay. The event and my team mates have taught me so much about what it takes to work and cooperate together as a team to achieve and still have a great time. The encouragement and support given to and by each other is so good to experience.

It's not only runners that make up the team either. Each team has to have a bus and three vehicles - a follow vehicle, a drop-off vehicle, and a water vehicle. Some teams have people who just drive the bus. Our team captain and one other runner, shared the bus driving. The follow vehicle has a driver and a person to record the times. The recorder was our team manager and the driver another club member who elects not to run but to drive this vehicle at the pace of what ever runner they are following at the time. He does this for the three days of the event - I'd go crazy. Our drop-off vehicle also has a designated driver who is kept extremely busy ensuring runners are ready and waiting at their change over points. Our water vehicle is manned by a designated driver and assisted by runners from the team. Keeping up the water to the runners takes a considerable amount of organisation, energy and endurance. The lady who looks after our water has a great sense of humour and goes to great lenghts to be outfitte in adifferent costume each day and is always so supportive. Being an experienced runner herself she is able to offer good advice to runners along the way.

We were very fortunate this year in that a Toowoomba company, Southern Cross Automotive, loaned us the Drop-off vehicle, a Ford Territory, and a ute for the water.

The event raised over $60,000 for the Endeavour Foundation this year.

A highlight of the event for me took place late Saturday afternoon. The relay stopped at the Wheatsheafs Hotel just west of Toowoomba. From there, instead of a staggered start we had a mass start. To save congestion at the first change-over point all the runners (16) who were to run the second leg were taken on one bus to the change-over. I was one of them. As I looked around me I felt a bit out of my league. I was surronded by some top class people from teams like Victory, InTraining, Russell's Bushies, etc.

While we were waiting a storm broke. There was streaks of lightning, it was pouring rain and visibility wasn't the best. Eventually, in the distance we could see the flashing light of the first follow vehicle. Out into the cold rain we went to await our respective runners. First came the Team Victory runner, as expected. The InTraining runner stood by, with good reason, thinking he might be next to be tagged. Instead, peering up the road, he asked "who's team wears green?" I looked down at my fluroescent yellow and said I don't know. Then he pointed at me and said "It's you! I's your runner coming" So I peered hard and sure enough it was our team's fastest runner, Hintsa, barrelling down the road like you wouldn't believe. Oh God! How could I do justice to his super effort. He has just run 6.9K at an astounding pace and now it's up to me for the next 3.8K. I had no choice but to run like hell and do the best I could. Some of you will understand the pressure I felt at that point. I run slightly over 4 min K's over these short distances. How was I going to maintain our position? As I said, all I could do was run like hell. I was expecting to be overtaken at any moment. Our follow car driver beeps the horn after each K. 1 beep 1 k, 2 beeps 2 k etc. At last first beep - not been passed yet. Eternity later, 2 beeps -not been passed yet. A gasping agonising further eternity, 3 beeps - no one yet - must be any moment now. Keep running, lights, witches hats ahead, at last the change-over. Gasping, God this is hard, 3.8K, made it. Not one single runner passed me - unbelieveable. Of course thanks to Hintsa's enormous effort but I felt so good that I had at least not lost our position- ground yes but not the position.

Will I put my hand up to be part of this team again - YOU BET.

1 comment:

Tesso said...

Great run down on that relay leg just past Wheatsheaf! Sure captured the feeling of the moment - the nerves, the anticipation, the excitement. Its a great example one's absolute committment and dedication to their team. Now I really can't wait until next year!