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Cyborg Scores a Full House!

10 May 2012

10 May 2012

Cyborg Scores a Full House!

Now, it has to be said: the Cyborg has a terrible memory. Worse than that, he seems to either block events out, or totally ignore events from the past. Which is why, when he received an email about the Australian Running Festival, instead of reading back to last year’s report, remembering the pain, then hitting delete, he visited the site. And he checked out the events on offer. And, using the same, twisted logic that he used when entering the Stromlo Running Festival, he looked through the program to determine which events he could enter. And it looked promising... So, let’s take you for a little walk down the dark garden path of his thinking:

The 5km Dash started at 12:00, and was intended for people who expected to complete the run in under 25 minutes - which was achievable for the Cyborg. It would be a personal best time over 5km, but not by much, therefore it would provide an excellent challenge.

This would be followed at 1:00 by the 5km fun run, which a few people from the Cyborg’s work had expressed an interest in. This had a 75 minute time limit, and provide the Cyborg with an opportunity to keep warm and active, running at a leisurely pace, while waiting for the next event: the 10km Dash. This was scheduled to start at three which would mean, even running the 5km fun run at a slow pace, the Cyborg would have at least an hour to rest, feed, stretch and prepare for the main event.

Like the 5km Dash, the 10km expected runners to maintain a pace of about 5:00 minutes per kilometre, to finish in about 50 minutes. This, once more, would be a personal best for the Cyborg, but not by much (though it would require him to be a minute faster per kilometre than his effort in 2011); so another excellent challenge in the festival, and 20km in one afternoon!

Now, before you go calling the funny farm, be reassured that the Cyborg is not, in fact, totally insane. He did not enter the 10km fun run on the same day. That would make it 30kms in one day, which is, of course, up there with freak levels. Nor did he enter the half, full or ultra marathon - or any other event containing the word marathon - for that too is freak territory.

All set, the Cyborg started training by running from zombies every morning. Well, until Boof came along. It’s pretty hard to run on two legs when a creature half your weight, with four legs and lower centre of gravity decides all the excitement is off the trail!

And then something terrible happened.

Something truly horrible.

But, first, a brief deviation to the Cyborg’s social life. Believe it or not, the Cyborg actually has some friends (no, really, friends, not team-mates); and one, in particular - let’s call him Dave - has been a close and trusted friend since way back in their school days. While catching up over dinner Dave asked the Cyborg what he was up to. Naturally, the Cyborg explained his forthcoming events in the Canberra Running Festival, to which Dave replied, “What, you’re not doing the marathon? What are you, soft?”

And that was all it took. One little, four-letter word. Just like Marty McFly, the Cyborg took the bait, and entered the half-marathon (because he’s not totally insane!)

Picture of Cyborg in every race using slight variations on his name.
Back in the day, there were no 24 hour solo mountain biking events. There were only team events. But young Mr John, a gifted endurance biker, wanted to enter solo. So, he paid the full team entry, and put himself as all of the team members. You can read all about it in Outer Edge and, of course, Wikipedia, and probably lots of other places on the internets.

Fortunately for most people, the Australian Running Festival site doesn’t make it easy for anyone to enter multiple events. There is some rule in the payment processing system such that a person with the same name and email address can only enter one event - probably introduced to stop insane people like the Cyborg attempting to kill themselves in leafy Barton. However, this was no obstacle for the Cyborg, who was learned in the lore of 24 hour solo mountain bike events through the film 24 Solo, and followed John Stamstad’s example and entered all events using slight variations of his own name.

Race Week

Bibs sent, and the Cyborg was nervous, yet excited about the forthcoming festival. When someone at work asked him about it, he looked it up on the internet and discovered that they’d changed the time of the 5km dash to 1:00 - the same time as the fun run! So, one of them had to go and, given he was supposed to be running with workmates in the fun run (and had now entered the half marathon as well), he stuck to that one, fully intending to take it easy.

5km Fun Run

Picture of Cyborg sprinting to finish line

The Cyborg was at the 5km start ready and waiting. Alone. Nobody from work had shown up. He waited. He watched. He waited. He remained at the back of the pack, just in case. But to no avail. Nevertheless, he would take it easy! He’d save himself - he had another 10km to cover this day, and 21 the next! The gun fired, the race started, and the Cyborg was off!

And within seconds, his plan was out the window. He ducking and weaving through the crowd, working his way ever forward through the pack, maintaining a pace close to 5:00 per kilometre, which was the dash pace! Two fast laps, and a sprint to the finish later, the Cyborg was through the finish line in an official time of 26:07 - which was just off the dash time. And the Immoral Support Crew was there to take pictures of him at the end!


Nasty pic of the Cyborg squeezing down a gel.

... the fast race left the Cyborg with about an hour and a half to kill! So, instead of doing the smart thing of stretching and staying active and warm, he chatted to some people from work who did turn up, before retiring to the warmth of the adventure truck for the all-important Facebook updates - including some smack talk for the forthcoming event which was set to include Michael

10km Dash

Then there was the serious race, the dash. Entrants in the dash were expected to complete the race in about 50 minutes; which would be a new personal best for the Cyborg. In addition, there had been a bit of argey-bargey on the TriHards Facebook page from Michael, who was intent on beating the Cyborg over the line. Naturally, feeling cocky and confident, the Cyborg pushed back, then hobbled up to the start line.

Picture of Cyborg chatting to Jeff

Only to bump into Jeff from AddVenture Training - the man responsible for taking McFly from an everyday freak to a sub-14hour North Face 100 super freak. They had a brief chance to catch up before the gun went off, and the pack was running. No, they were really running - the Cyborg had to up his pace straight away just to keep the pack in sight! Shortly after rounding the first corner Jeff was gone, and the Cyborg was left staring at the back of the pack, hoping he could make it through 10kms at dash pace!

First lap down, and he spied the Immoral Support Crew at an intersection cheering him on, which lifted his spirits to continue running through the second lap. By the third lap, the Immoral Support Crew had moved up to the start-finish line, and seen the leaders cross through to the finish - while the Cyborg was drinking some water at the drink station. Thus refreshed, he pushed on through his final lap, managing to claw back some places as he went.

In the end, the Cyborg managed to finish in 51:47, which was still a personal best for him, though it did put him exactly eight minutes behind Michael...


The morning of the 15th of April started differently to most other days for the Cyborg. For starters, the dogs didn’t even raise their heads or wag their tails at the thought of a walk on that cold morning. The Cyborg really should have paid some attention to that. Naturally, with a burgeoning case of jelly-legs, he was thankful for not having to take them for their regular 5km morning walk, and just gear up and take off for a 21km half marathon instead... The dogs didn’t even stir from their nice, warm beds as he drove off into the distance.

Before too long the Cyborg was shivering at the start line with everyone else, with ever-growing nerves he began to contemplate the task ahead of him. Apart from really not being a runner, he had always considered himself much more a sprinter than any sort of endurance athlete. Five, and even 10 kilometre runs were kind of okay, they were short runs which could be done at a relatively fast pace. But a half marathon, well, just having marathon anywhere near the name of an event is kind of scary, even half! So, it was time to take a teaspoon of cement and harden up, though in the Cyborg’s case, it was a bladder full of Infinit nutrition to fuel him, and a zombie game to spur him on.

The half-marathon course

Just as the sun was beginning to make a bit of impact on the cold morning, the race started; and the Cyborg set off at a good pace - around the 5:00 per kilometre mark - which was dash pace really. The first lap had them running from Telopea Park, out and around Parliament House - during which the Cyborg’s pace never slackened. Even when he was overtaken by a barefoot runner (no, not in Vibrams - barefoot! Where politicians hang out - eeew!) Then it was back down, and around Questacon and the High Court - at least it was very scenic suffering!

Now, the Cyborg didn’t just enter this event willy-nilly. He did in fact have a plan. He surmised that given he can run five and 10km events shortly after each other, then 21km wouldn’t be that bad, so long as he took a bit of a break. So, the plan was to slow and walk every now and then during the run, say every 45 minutes.

The 45 minute mark saw the Cyborg still running in with the pack - coming down from Parliament House and running towards the turnaround point. What was the point in stopping when he was going so well? So he continued, wanting to hold on just a bit longer before taking a break at the 10km mark instead. The 10km mark, which was along Bowen Drive, one of the few places spectators were actually gathered on the course! He couldn’t possibly stop for a walk there! So he continued, running past Tom from AROC at the turnaround point.

The second lap saw the field crossing the familiar territory of the Kings Avenue Bridge (well, familiar to those who do the Canberra Times Fun Run). Unfortunately for the Cyborg, there was no turning on to the walking path leading to Rond Terrace to finish! The runners continued up Kings Avenue to the brand new roundabout - no doubt this part of the course was a prerequisite for getting approval by the ACT Government, such that thousands of people entered into the event could take in the majesty of the mighty new roadworks! Then it was running along the Parkes Way - which was very odd to see devoid of cars (and very much fitted the zombie themes coming through the iPhone!)

Finally, as it felt as though the Cyborg’s legs had fused into long pieces of painful wood, they reached the turnaround point, and he watched the full marathon runners galloping on, while he eeked his way over the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, thinking about his mountain bike. Contemplating how nice it would be to actually be sitting down, the Cyborg ran down King Edward Terrace (where he had a quick stop to stretch out a niggling pain in his hip) back down the crowds at Bowen Drive to Wentworth Avenue, where the Cyborg stopped for a quick chat with Tom before making his way back up Telopea Park to the finish line; completing the race with a fast shuffle instead of his trademark sprint.

Race Stats

Date: 13-14 April 2012
Location: Canberra, ACT
Rating: Reasonable Adventure
TriHards: Cyborg and Immoral Support Crew
Event website: Australian Running Festival site
Event Time Place Category Place Av. Pace
5km Fun Run 0:26:07 132/676 14/48 5:13
10km Dash 0:51:47 148/163 30/30 5:10
10km Dash 2:04:19 1,170/1,1694 166/200 5:53
Pictures: Facebook Album