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Four Years of the Canberra Times Fun Run!

19 September 2011

19 September 2011

Four Years of the Canberra Times Fun Run!

When the TriHards first attempted the Canberra Times Fun Run back in 2007, they undertook it as a training run for their “real” events in the AROC Paddy Pallin Adventure Race series. In 2008 they got a bit more serious, and completed the whole run non-stop. 2009 saw a mix of ages and long and short course entries scatter them throughout the field and in 2010 the Cyborg was the only TriHard flying the banner, achieving a personal best time despite several setbacks.

But in 2011 it became personal. In 2011 it became competitive. In 2011 the Cyborg realised a long-held dream.

The day started well, with the Cyborg meeting Mr GPS at a carpark near the finish, and running into Junior, who had just dropped his car off and was preparing to ride back to the start at Woden. Junior had experienced some pain in his ankle the day before, and wasn’t entirely sure if he’d be running or not, and was hoping the ride would sort him out. So, Cyborg and Mr GPS left him to return to Woden in the much more relaxed manner of Adventure Truck, where they swapped tales of the past few weeks.

Around May Mr GPS had declared his intent to achieve a good result in the Canberra Times Fun Run this year. With no adventure racing or other events on his schedule, he planned to devote himself to training for the event. And train he did! He cross-trained his commute through running or riding to work, and ran several lunchtimes each week, building up his fitness. And he was making great progress. Until he got promoted, Then he got sick. Then he went away for a week.

So, come race day, Mr GPS’s lofty ambition of a 55 minute run had exploded out to 1:10.

As for the Cyborg, who had just raced the Back Yamma Bigfoot the last weekend, he had no grand ambitions. Fearing his legs wouldn’t be up to the event after 50km on a mountain bike the weekend prior, he’d had a massage on Saturday, which released all that pent up lactic acid, resulting in his legs feeling as though they’d ridden the race just yesterday!

Hordes of runners at the start
As always, it was a bit packed at the start!

The day was cool and clear, and was shaping up to be a great day for a run. As usual, the start line grew more and more crowded as 9:15 approached, and runners serious and not-so-serious began to line up. There was still no sign of Junior, however it wasn’t likely they would see him amongst the crowd.

Runners dressed as police cars
The TriHards had to go slow to stay behind the police!

The gun fired, and everyone was off like a shot! Well, except maybe the TriHards, who settled into a nice, steady (yet moderately fast) pace early in the piece. Showing the wisdom of their experience, there was no sprinting at the start to get ahead. No shooting past other runners, just a steady pace they could easily maintain.

And this steady, calm pace continued until approximately 3.7km into the race, when the Cyborg spotted his nemesis, Junior, running ahead. He tried to ignore it. He tried to stay calm. But the red fog of competitiveness was beginning to fall. He was going to be beaten by Junior... Again. By the time the Cyborg and Mr GPS had reached the first drink station Mr GPS’s thirst had grown too much, and the Cyborg’s thirst for victory had similarly grown, and he continued as Mr GPS slowed for a drink, calling back, “I’m going to catch Junior!” and he set off at a fast clip to catch Junior.

Running up towards Parliament House
Shouldn't they be running from Parliament House?

Just 500m and a fastish sprint later, the Cyborg had caught up to Junior, and jogged breathlessly by his side while waiting (hoping) for his heart rate to come down to a more manageable level. They settled into an easy pace, and reflected on the fact that the really competitive folk would be running over the finish line about this time. The day was just starting to heat up a bit as they headed on the downhill section of the course to State Circle, then, approaching the 7km mark, was the uphill section of the course, from State Circle up to Kings Avenue.

Here, for some reason, the Cyborg began to speed up. Foolishly, he ran faster and faster up the hill, leaving Junior behind as he went. This was justified with the thoughts of making quick work of the hill, then slowing back to a normal pace on Kings Avenue. However, as the Cyborg rounded the corner onto King’s Avenue, he noted it was all downhill, or at least a slight downwards slope, so let gravity take control and continued at his faster pace, thinking he could rest when he turned off on to the walking path beside the lake where pace would inevitably slow down due to a road full of runners being filtered onto a walking track.

Cyborg sprinting to the finish
Nothing beats a sprint finish!

So, down he plunged, eschewing the water station, and continuing at a steady, faster pace, through the lights and onto the bridge, where his current pace was finally starting to make itself felt in his legs. But he was nearly at the turn off. He could rest there.

Meanwhile, not too far behind, Junior was patiently watching, with a knowing smile, as he continued his steady pace.

Then he turned down the path, which wasn’t really as crowded as he thought, so a game could be had by weaving through the crowds. Unfortunately, this game required him to speed up a little more, which the Cyborg foolishly did! In a few moments, the finish arch came into his view and the realisation dawned up on him that his long held ambition of beating Junior in an event was at hand, he found himself sprinting towards the end, just to be sure. Not a faster jog, but an all-out sprint, which proved to be so fast that the Immoral Support Crew, who had just spotted him and prepared to take a photo, lost him in the time it took her to press the button!

As the Immoral Support Crew and the Cyborg walked, talked and cooled down, they found Junior looking rather refreshed and relaxed, standing under a tree talking to some friends. The Cyborg, feeling quite confident, checked his time on his watch while Junior checked his time on this matching Forerunner, to find that Junior’s time was six seconds faster than the Cyborg’s.

A very fresh looking Junior at the finish.
Looks like he can go again!

Six seconds.

Out of 53:45, or 3225 seconds, or 0.186%. Crushed. Beaten.

The Cyborg was not, however, incredibly displeased with this result, in fact, he thought at least he’d achieved a personal best, and had managed to put a real sprint on at the end. Besides, Junior had been doing a lot of training and was no doubt in very fine form so, coming within six seconds was a real achievement.

Mr GPS after the race
Mr GPS also looking fresh.

Meanwhile, Mr GPS rushed passed the line, the other TriHards, and straight to the fruit and drink stands to halt the rapid onset of dehydration. He’d quite possibly achieved the best result of the three in that he walloped his expected 1:10 finish time by over 10 minutes, coming in at 59:12 which, while not a personal best result, was certainly much better than expected given his month prior to the race!

On Tuesday night the photos became available. One of the options on these photos is to download a finishing certificate, ’Twas then that the real results became known. It turned out the Cyborg had started his watch early, or turned it off late, or both, and his official time was actually almost 10 seconds faster than the time recorded on his watch. Which meant he was four seconds faster than Junior!

So the Cyborg has elected to retire from all competitive events.


The TriHards have some pics on their Facebook page.

Race Stats

Date: 10 September 2011
Location: Canberra
Rating: (1) Walk in the Park
TriHard Time Overal Position
Cyborg 53:32 1363
Junior 53:36 1369
Mr GPS 59:12 2006
Event website: Canberra Times Fun Run site