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Cyborg Warms up at the Running Festival

11 April, 2011

11 April, 2011

Cyborg Warms up at the Running Festival

The Cyborg signed on to the inaugural Canberra Running Festival (formerly the Canberra Marathon) after discovering he was in the dreaded position of having a free weekend. As all good festivals do, the running festival had a number of events: a 5km run, 10km run, half marathon, marathon and ultra-marathon. Not being entirely crazy, the Cyborg signed on for the 10km run. Then, on actually reading the site again, he noted that the 5km run started at 3pm, and the 10km at 4pm.

Now we take a dark detour into the maze of the Cyborg’s mind... Knowing he could easily finish 5km in 30 minutes, and there was a whole hour in between, he figured there was enough time to do the 5km, stretch and recover, then head out for the 10km run. Perfectly reasonable. Who wouldn’t sign on for two runs if they had the time?

Things were even further complicated when, on race eve, the Globetrotter (of Capital Punishment fame) got in touch with the Cyborg. He’d fallen ill, and had to forfeit his place in the Mont team. Yes, the 24 hour mountain bike race starting at midday of the same day as the Canberra Running Festival. Naturally, the Cyborg agreed to fill in, letting them know he could be out at Kowan after his races, around six...


The reality of what he’d undertaken finally set in on the Cyborg on race day, as he organised and packed his gear. In one weekend he was going to use most of his race gear! Undeterred, he geared up for the run, packed a couple of Gus to see him through, and set off for the race HQ at Telopea Park School, arriving with plenty of time to spare.

Which was his intention; experience had taught him that one of the great things about these running festivals is the bargains and knowledge available at a hub; and he wasn’t disappointed; though he didn’t take advantage of some less than half-prized Mizunos (still being quite happy with the ones he was wearing!) he did grab a subscription to Run 4 Your Life at a substantial discount; and spoke to some Mizuno sales people who really knew their shoes and were able to give him some good advice (which saved him a lot of money).

5 km

With butterflies in his belly, the Cyborg set off to the scenic Telopea Park for the start of the 5km event, lining up at the back of the pack with about 10 minutes to spare. Although the day was a little warm, the course consisted mainly of streets lined with leafy trees providing much shade (and many spectators - providing much noise!) Thus ensconced, the Cyborg stretched, warmed up, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

At 3:10 he began to worry, and reconsider the whole idea of taking on the 10km race as well. Even if he ran his best time, he would only have 10 minutes after this run before lining up for the next (because, of course, he had to get in early and secure his spot at the back of the pack!) Or, worse, the 10km run may start late as well, which would result in him finishing later and consequently being late for the Mont. The whole house of cards was starting to fall down!

Then the gun rang out, and they were all off. The Cyborg, feeling a sense of urgency at being late - and not being the best at pace setting at any time - set himself a pace slightly faster than he should have. Nevertheless, he felt quite good running.

Course for the fun run, taken from
5km Course from

The course for both the 5km and 10km runs consisted of laps of Telopea Park, including diversions around the school, and down Darling Street, leading to Young St, Brisbane Avenue and back onto Telopea Park. The 5km course was almost two laps of this course, and the 10km course was almost four. Initially, the Cyborg wasn’t a fan of this idea; laps brought back thoughts of laps of an oval, or a pool; mundane and repetitive drills which exercise the body but not the mind. However, the repetition does grant a familiarity with the course, and the opportunity to plan accordingly.

About half way through the race the field entered the finishing chute - though nobody was finishing yet - they were running through behind the school. Spectators cheered and clapped, which always lifts flagging spirits, and the Cyborg stretched out his stride and took the opportunity to move further up through the pack. Shortly thereafter he ran past the drinks stand, where he made the mistake once more of trying to drink whilst running - resulting in a very wet shirt!

He was relieved to find a downhill stretch from the drinks station, and he was onto the last lap, though not pushing too hard. Down and around Telopea Park north, and out onto the not-so-leafy Darling Street once more, where he started to feel the heat of the day. Then it was along Canberra Avenue, and back up to Telopea Park south.

Turning the corner towards the school, the Cyborg could see the finish line and put the pace on, perhaps slightly early. Approaching the finishing pads, the Cyborg’s diminishing strength was replaced by the crowd’s cheers, which pushed him over the line and, puffing heavily, into the marshalling area where, for a moment, he was tempted to stop.

After all, he was very tired. And still had to do the Mont. And 10km was a long run - and, were those cramps in his legs? Cramps? The Cyborg never got cramps! That was the deciding factor; the run must go on (lest he may rust in place!)


So the Cyborg grabbed two cups of water, drank one had a Gu, then changed over his bib number and timing chip to the 10k race versions, drank the second water (just to make sure he had a truly-liquidy belly) and headed on to the start on cramping legs.


People could be confused into thinking there was an error in the Cyborg’s navigation systems, as he walked around in circles at the back of the start pack for the 10km race. In truth, the only malfunction lay in his legs, which shot the occasional spasm of pain when he stopped or stretched, so continually moving was the one road to relief!

Course for the fun run, taken from
5km Course from

Shortly after four the gun fired, and the new pack set off; the Cyborg happily walking to the start, before progressing to a slow jog. Foremost in his mind was the thought that he still had the Mont to do in the evening, and that he must look after himself; so early in the piece he came up with a strategy to see him through. First: he would take drinks at every stop, to ensure he remained hydrated and banished the dreaded cramps. Second: he would stop, or walk at the drink stations to ensure the water went down, and to get the wobblers a well-earned rest.

Before long the first, not-quite-full, lap was done, and the Cyborg was once more waving to the camera on his way into the finish chute; taking a little time to skip over the timing mats on the way, just to make the run a little more interesting. Then it was the first stop at the drink station where he stopped, walked, and drank water.

Water in belly, the Cyborg ran downhill, picking up time, and back onto Telopea Park then turned back on to Darling Street, where the race leader, accompanied by a volunteer on push bike, ran past, running fast and looking fresher than anyone should! By now the Cyborg had finally found his rhythm, and settled in for the run. His cramps seemed gone, and the run was relatively painless. Around he went, and around again.

At the drink station on his last lap, the Cyborg had another Gu to push himself through, and set forth once more. On Darling Street he had to pull over for a bit of adjustment in a desperate bid to ease some chaffing, before setting into the home stretch.

The Cyborg jogged past the 8km marker with a time of approximately 49 minutes, which put him far below target for his best time; so (forgetting he’d already done a 5km race, and was about to head off to the Mont) he increased his pace along Canberra Avenue and turning onto Telopea Park; only to have to stop and begin to walk about half way up, and watch the time click over as his dreams of a sub-hour time vanished. As he approached New South Wales Crescent, and the home stretch, the Cyborg ran once more, increasing his pace until he had a decent clip at the end, and finished with a time of 1:01:34. Not his best time for a 10km event; but he was saving himself and, more importantly, his cramps seemed to have dissipated.


Pleased with his efforts, and keen to move on to the next event, the Cyborg removed the timing chip from his shoe, while taking on as much water as he could. Every competitor was free to retain the timing chips, and potentially gift them to local running clubs for use in their events. However, there didn’t seem to be any representatives of running clubs around. So the Cyborg went looking.

Fortunately, the nice people staffing the Run 4 Your Life magazine stand pointed him in the right direction, to a race coordinator, who was collecting chips to send along to local running clubs; and the Cyborg had the honour of being able to donate two!

Thank You

A big thank you goes out to the organisers, and supporters of the Canberra Running Festival. The 5 and 10km runs were on an enjoyable and picturesque course and the event coordination went off very well. In addition, the TriHards would like to thank all of the nice, friendly and supportive volunteers on the course; not only did you help with the event, but you provided extra encouragement and the all-important smiles along the way. Similarly, thanks go out to the wealth of supporters who were happy to cheer the entire field along.

Finally, thank you to the sponsors, Run 4 Your Life, Mizuno and Rebel Sport, for supporting the local running community and a fantastic event.

Race Stats

Date: 9 April 2011
Location: Telopia Park, ACT
Rating: Walk in the Park
TriHards: Cyborg
Course Time Overall Place Gender Place (M) Category Place
5 km 0:27:07 158 / 634 109 / 249 24 / 55
10 km 1:01:34 360 / 596 210 / 264 85 / 102
Event website: Canberra Marathon site