About the best autumn weather set the mood for a great event. Picking my usual parking spot for city based races allowed for an early and relaxed 15 minute walk, instead of driving in circles looking for a park. Soon enough the crowds starting converging towards the start area. You could smell the nervousness in the air, it hung thick. Over hearing some conversations made it clear this event attracted plenty who weren't regulars on the fun run circuit. Being a fund raiser for the Royal Children's Hospital probably had a lot to do with that.
The start always seems a little lack lustre when you can't start running immediately, but once over the official start line there was some kind of room to move. I took a relaxed approach, only moving through gaps as they appeared instead of trying to create them myself. As it turned out, this definitely was the best approach. The tracks through the masses simply opened up before me. Soon enough I the race was past the first kilometre and into the Domain tunnel. This is where the early sprinters realised they were not in a sprint.
As the kilometres ticked by I became more and more involved in the running. This was definitely one of those ultimate runs where I hit that runner's high. Each step felt right. I was working at quite a high intensity, albeit not quite as fast as my best paces last year. No time goals clouded the race. This became a pure run. Running through the under, through and over the landmarks of Melbourne certainly helped.
All in all it was one of the most enjoyable races I have ever participated in. It wasn't my faster over that sort of distance, but for once it didn't matter. I put in a good solid effort, but certainly didn't get every single bit of effort possible out of myself. However, doing so is likely not to have resulted in a faster time.
In the end the time was slightly over 58 minutes for 14.5km. Not a bad hit out to mark the start of my next round of training. Even with such a good race, a highlight of the day were the anti-duck shooting protesters singing, "...all we are saying, is give ducks a chance..." - classic.