Report by the Cyborg
Stromlo Running Festival!
Now, firstly - and perhaps most importantly - I should say: I’m not a runner. I have never considered myself a runner and, you know, I really don’t particularly like running. Sure, like everyone else, I can run if I need to. I can run if the house is on fire. I can run if I’m late for an appointment. I can run if Maccas brekky finishes in five minutes. But running for fun, that’s my definition of an oxymoron.
But I do like adventure racing. And running is part of adventure racing. So, I try to work on my weakest discipline. My performance in races couldn’t be considered freakish, but my bizarre preference for the paddling and swimming legs may be.
The Stromlo Running Festival was, as the name suggests, truly a festival of running. There were a myriad of events for participants to enter, vendor stands, lectures and some notable people hanging around the pavilion. There was a tremendous atmosphere during the times I was there - and people could even camp out there to really take on all that was offered.
And not only did the single entry fee give you access to this hub, the presentations and all of the serious running stuff on offer, it entitled you to all the events you could handle. Indeed, some people did go in multiple events, on the same day, such as starting the day with the Mizuno 11km before heading onto the orienteering events. Some other people. Not me. I had only signed on for two events: the 11km Lightning Strike and the Mountain Run. I was looking forward to seeing how I’d do in the shorter distance mountain run, as I consider myself more a “sprinter” (that would be short distance runner as opposed to fast!) than a distance runner. But it seems silly to sign on to a festival for a 3.2km run, so I entered in the 11km run as well, which is a similar distance to the Canberra Times or Mothers Day Classic, so I thought it quite manageable.
The festival (or what I saw) was very enjoyable, with a great atmosphere at which even I - the turtle amongst all those hares - felt welcome. Everyone: participants, organisers and stallholders were friendly and approachable. And the stallholders were not so much shilling their wares, as providing information about their products, what is available and best suited to people. I spent quite a bit of time at the Mizuno stand where the staff were only too happy to tell me all about their trail running shoes, knowing there was no prospect of me buying any on the day.
But the best part of the event - particularly if you are the serious running sort - is the small field in the events. This is no Canberra Times Fun Run, or City2Surf. You could see the officials at the start line of the events no matter where you were in the pack. Sure, the courses were probably harder, and had some decent climbs, but there was no ducking and weaving through crowds, and the scenery was far nicer than staring at bitumen. All of this made for a refreshing change from many of the other running events I’ve entered.