Run Baby Run!–Sydney, Australia

The day before we left for Australia, I bought running shoes. Ugly ones. My family will tell you that I am a last-minute packer (often into the wee hours) for any trip, so it’s easy to imagine my lengthy to-do list the day before we moved abroad for four months. We didn’t ship anything in advance (I’m too cheap), and we planned to travel to four places with varying pieces of luggage before settling in Sydney. I also needed to clean and organize our apartment for visitors while we were gone. Long story short–I had a lot to do, a limited number of childfree hours, and really needed running shoes (you know, for the extensive workout regime I envisioned for my Aussie life).  Of course they sell running shoes in Oz but everything costs 20% more here; so I found myself in DSW, which only had turquoise and orange shoes in my size. Orange might be the new black and turquoise may be hot right now, but put them together and you get u-g-l-y.  But I was desperate to cross this item off of my to-do list, so I plunked them down on the counter and headed home to pack my new ugly shoes.

The shoes had a great journey across the Harbour Bridge yesterday as my family participated in the Sydney Running Festival–a part of the Sydney marathon–and had the chance to run/walk 8.3% of the race. The real runners covered 42.19km, but we strolled through the 3.5km that luckily covered the most iconic section of the race. 34,000 people crossed this historic bridge yesterday. My husband was none too pleased about our 5:45 am wake up call in order to catch a bus and train to reach the starting line by 7:20…but that’s what afternoon naps are for! His number–24691–was only one digit off from Jean Valjean’s, so he must have been channeling the drama. Luckily he came around and had a good time. I stashed my cameras in our stroller and snuck a few shots as we ran. My 2.5 year old had a blast experiencing the commotion of the race and insisted on getting out of her stroller to “run” alongside the pack.

No matter the city, there is something in the air on a marathon day–months of hard work, inspirational stories, strangers routing for one and other, struggle, triumph, elation–it’s always one of my favorite days in NYC.  I saw a “We stand with Boston” shirt pass by, which was a chilling reminder of April’s marathon tragedy. We finished our stroll just in time to grab a cappuccino on the waterfront and see the top racers sprinting to the finish line at the Sydney Opera House. Sprinting! After 42km! It never ceases to amaze me. 26.2 mi=42.19km – 38.69km=3.5km=just my speed. All in all a great day.

Do you love marathons? Tell us why! Have you ever run one? 50% of one? 8% of one? Where/what was it like? Best/worst moments?
Do share any running or spectator experiences in the comments!