Race report – International Womens Day 5k Fun Run Brisbane. By Nicole Fels

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On Sunday 9th of March I was lucky enough to take part in the International Women’s Day 5k Fun Run at South Bank in Brisbane.  The preparation for this event started back in September and by preparation I don’t mean training I mean race outfit design!  Each year my running club Flakers Running Group in Forest Lake have a large group that competes in this run.  5k is a great distance as it really is achievable for everyone.  This race raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer benefiting the Mater Chicks in Pink program.  Each Sunday at my running group we have a charity tin that we pop our loose change into and this gets handed over on the day.  Karen Robinson who is a part of Running Mum’s Australia is the holder of the tin and I know she also makes many generous donations to it throughout the year.

 

So back in September Karen who is also our running club tutu shopper arranged a massive order of pink tutus, we teamed these with pink and black striped socks which we had worn for this event previously and they have come to be a bit of a trademark  for us!  Then as luck would have it the perfect Lorna Jane singlet was found and outfit complete.   Late last year I posted on my personal Facebook page about the dress up for this event and I had a lot of the Brisbane Facebook page girls jump on my post and ask if they could join in the fun!  Of course I said yes the more the merrier and it just kept growing from there.  They went out and sourced their outfits to match and on the day I thought we all looked amazing and really had such a large presence at the run!

So race morning I was up super early to get “pinkefied” (yes that is a word) and then it was up to my local shops to meet the rest of my running club.  It was pitch black and a little drizzle but our spirits would not be dampened just our hair.  I got out of the car and there was not a funnier sight at that hour of the morning to see a group of grown women and some of their daughters dressed in pink tutus out the front of the local fast food store and bottle shop!  The irony was not lost on me 🙂  Everyone was accounted for and into our cars we jumped to convoy into Southbank.  We came to the first roundabout leaving the shopping centre and my husband (Flakers official photographer) decides to be funny and do laps around the roundabout!  So we had travelled 10 metres and we totally lost the convoy from this point forward.  Luckily we had prearranged where we were going to park and all met up there.   As we walked towards the race precinct we were getting comments on our outfits, two ladies asked if we were the dancing troupe (I secretly, okay not so secretly took that as the biggest compliment ever, I always wanted to be a ballerina).   So we arrive at Southbank and it is time to find the rest of the gang at the predetermined grassy knoll.  It didn’t take long to spot tutus in the crowd and one by one tutus just started coming out of the woodwork.  Most of the Brisbane Facebook page admins were there we had Kazza’s kaleidoscope Adventures (who was dressed in stunning red and looked like she belonged in an exotic harem), Bright Pink, Watching as I run, Running because I can, Runderwoman, Dahmsel in Runners, Fat Mum to Fit Mum, Running Optimistic, Flamin-go run, Head, Heart and Sole, sadly The Shopaholic Runner and Run Supermummy Run had to pull out due to illness and injury.

No sooner had we landed at South Bank when the paparazzi descended upon us, okay well maybe they weren’t the paparazzi but the official race photographers!  We worked those tutus for the cameras like we were on the red carpet!  It was just so much fun embracing our inner child and doing it alongside not only my best friends but also all the new friends I have made through running.  I really feel that an event like this that is approached  more in a fun way rather than the serious racing aspect was just the greatest show of girl power and of women supporting and building each other up and making lifelong friends along the way.

So it was off to the start line, my friends Rebecca, Kelly and Kaz lined up towards the front with me, usually I get a bit anxious at this time but Rebecca and Kelly both hate crowds I was to discover and I could sense Rebecca was trying to stay calm so them freaking out took my mind off any prerace nerves.  My only anxiety was that we were a bit further back than where I usually like to start a race and people weren’t self seeding for their predicted times so I knew it was going to be a bit of a bottleneck at the start.

So the start gun went off and it was a little shuffle and then straight into a right-hand turn up a hill across the Victoria Street Bridge, going over the bridge I found very stressful just trying to find a way through and around people was tough and I could feel my anxiety levels rising as I knew my first kilometre time was going to suffer a bit.  Once over the bridge the crowd had thinned out and it was off and running.  5k is such a funny distance to race and the placement of hills in this race was not the best.  There was one at about 2k that had a little bite to it leading into the Botanic Gardens and when you are running at your maximum in a 5k race hills are not your friend!   So it was up and over that and then there was a water station, no water needed so I zoomed on past that.  Even though it was overcast the humidity was pretty high but you get used to that in Brisbane, my only regret was that I wore my compression sock and then my stripey socks over the top so my calves were toasty warm, too toasty 🙂   We then turned a corner in the gardens and ran alongside the Brisbane River. I particularly like this part of the race as it is really shady so I took the chance to regroup my thoughts and focus on breathing and running form as I knew at about the 4k mark the Goodwill Bridge was coming.  It is a long gradual incline which from every race I have done in Brisbane I know always makes me think I really need to work on hills lol.  I did have the added bonus of knowing from previous years that there is always a photographer on the Goodwill Bridge so I was not slowing down or stopping no matter what and I ran over that bridge with a smile on my face ready for a photo opportunity at any given time even though I was hurting badly.  Guess what? there was no photographer on the bridge this year or if there was I missed him.

Once you reach the peak of the bridge you feel like you are home and hosed even though there is a kilometre to go.  They changed the course slightly this year so you actually finished through South Bank along the riverside footpath which I didn’t like as much as previous years.    There is always the problem with pedestrians and cyclists through this area as they don’t close the path off for the run.

So 500m to go and I can feel the vomit wanting to come up but know I am almost home so do a last minute push to the finish line, turned a corner and there it was!  I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon so wasn’t totally happy I didn’t start my last minute push a bit further back.   I raced through that finish line and then back around to the course to cheer everyone in as they finished.  This is without a doubt my favourite bit of running.  I love clapping and yelling out and when a stranger gives you a thanks or a smile it is just so much worthwhile.  Plus spotting all my running friends and giving and extra loud cheer is just the best feeling!

After the run I said goodbye to some of the Facebook girls who were heading off to other commitments or out to breakfast and hung around with my running club friends.  We acted silly and took a heap of photos and just enjoyed Brisbane and its beautiful weather.  We even met two of our local radio celebrities from B105 Abby and Stav, we basically surrounded them and gave them no chance but to meet us!   We took photos with them which was lots of fun.

I also had a few people come up to me and recognise me as Running GIRL which was just amazing, one lady in particular told me that I was her running inspiration and because of me she started running again.  I can’t tell you how happy that made me.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Kylie Pummeroy who is using the same coach as I am (Jackie from Fit Sparrow), she was on holiday in Brisbane and I only mentioned the run to her the week before when she said she would be here and she entered straightaway!  It was so great to meet her.

So in conclusion that is what this event was about for me, yes I would have liked a PB but it just wasn’t my day but I got a far more valuable prize I got to spend the morning with am amazing group of women in an amazing event that brings women and girls of all ages together!  I actually find it hard to put into words what a positive experience it was.  That is the thing with running it is so rarely just about the running, it is what it teaches you mentally about achieving goals and getting out of your comfort zone and the experience and friendships it rewards you with.  I think of it as getting out there and living life to the fullest.

I also asked some of the running page girls if they could write a few words on their experiences, I hope you enjoy their take on the event too:

Kelly (Bright Pink) – I loved the sea of pink, it was like my utopia! Like my people had found me! Going back to reality post pink tutu apocalypse has been the biggest plummet since Expo88 finished.

Skye (Runder Woman) – Loved the atmosphere of being surrounded by other women all wearing pink for a common goal of raising funds and awareness for breast cancer services. There was a real sense of camaraderie amongst us, unlike other events I’ve ever entered.

Gretlyn (Running Because I can) –  It  was such a positive and fun atmosphere and it was fantastic to see the effort so many people had put into their outfits for the morning.

Belinda (Watching as I run) – Running the entire 5 km course with my Northlakes Parkrun buddies was wonderful. Coming together for such a fabulous cause that is so close to my heart was so special.

Alina (Head, Heart and Sole) – I’m still on a ‘running high’ from the amazing atmosphere and spending time with all of my running pals – old and new.

Gayl (Flamin-go Run) – Couldn’t agree with everyone more. So no need for me to add anything except I am starting to love this dressing up thing. X (Had to add you Gayl)! 

Kelly (Fat Mum to Fit Mum) – You know I’ve noticed when I come to finish a race with you guys I have my own cheer squad. The beauty of being a little slower I guess! Thanks for all your support girls x

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