I killed two birds with one stone on my recent visit to Sydney, Australia. I visited my family, and also participated in the 2012 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. It was an event with over 36,000 participants in the Marathon, Half Marathon, the Bridge Run and a family run on the same day. Just in the Sunday Telephone Body and Soul Bridge Run that I signed up for, there were over 14,000 participants.
It was a well organized race starting from the Race Expo to race day. For a visitor to Sydney and first time racer in this event, I was well informed regarding transportation, start time, and start and finish locations.
It was a crispy Sunday morning. The moment I stepped out of Milson’s Point station, I could feel the excitement of the people around me, all wearing their race bibs and heading towards Bradfield Park for the start. The Marathon, the Half Marathon and the Family Fun Run were already underway, and my event was the next and last to go.
The energy was building. There were the usual line-ups at the portable toilets, baggage checks and warm up drills. We would all be racing across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and heading towards the Opera House and to finish at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
The race was on its way! I power walked; others ran, jogged, or walked. It seemed that everybody was increasing the pace as the Sydney Harbour Bridge approached.
The view of the harbour from the Bridge was stunning. Many participants were tempted to pause and take a picture. After all, how often would one have an opportunity to have the entire bridge closed down for the photo op? And what an unforgettable view of the structure when I looked up while crossing the Bridge.
We pushed towards the south of the Bridge and the Opera House was now on our left.
The City Centre came into view with all its tall buildings and we were directed off the Bridge.
Although I had visited Sydney before, it was a unique experience for me to be walking through the city streets without traffic and enjoying the scenery along the way.
I soon turned into the grounds of the Botanical Gardens and walked along a tree-lined path. The day had warmed up significantly and with all the exertion, the coolness under the shade was almost invigorating. My pace picked up again and before long, I crossed the finish line, still feeling strong. The 9.5K Bridge Run completed!
Looking across the harbour from the recovery area, it felt almost surreal that about an hour ago, I was power walking across the Bridge.
Now it’s the time to cheer the Marathoners on as they crossed their finish line at the Opera House before my own celebration.