Run a course; Run for a cause; Run at all cost!

Posted: June 13, 2015 in Life
Tags: , , ,
“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.”


And that’s how it began……..with the T.S. Eliot quote in mind, I started my 50km run at about 6.30am at the foot of the path leading to Jayne’s house. Dawn was giving way to sunrise and all I can see ahead was the rear lights of the bicycle Jayne was riding on. It was comforting to know that I was not alone in my quest and my lovely partner was as invested in this cause as I was! The first loop was an awakening of my senses as I see creatures great and small waking up to the day – 4 kangaroos hopping in single file across the track, looking askance at this lone figure jogging towards them; snails and millipedes starting their day inching their way to the other side of the track as though reminding me that slow and steady wins the race 🙂 About 10.5km into my first loop, I saw an iridsecent blue fairy wren in luminous indigo plumage in the middle of the track. As I advanced, the shy bird flew into the bushes but hovered on the sprigs just proudly strutting its colours for me to view albeit away from harm’s way. I took note of this but didn’t tarry a bit more as there were still many miles to go.
Where I saw the 4 kangaroos hopping across the track

Calm Reserve – where I saw the 4 kangaroos hopping single file across the track

Following PK’s tip to the ‘t’, I drank 250ml of water every half an hour followed by coconut juice the next half. That landed me in the loo at Neil Hawkins Park, about 13.5km into the first loop. For anatomical reasons, I hate toilet breaks during long distance runs as it is oft more a waste of time for the women than men! Still, I obediently went in search of the cubicle to relieve myself just so that I can continue to hydrate as instructed! Energy fuelling every hour was a breeze as I enjoyed the GU chomps. The first loop passed uneventfully with Jayne giving me the kind of encouragement that long distance runners dread to hear 🙂
The second round began with Claire, Jayne’s lovely friend, joining us! So, three is definitely not a crowd at this point as the unofficial run was beginning to take its toll on me……there were no spectators, no music, no banners, no mileage markers, no nothing to remind me that I’ve an official finish line to cross! I will myself to focus on the children, the cause I’m running for and the many who have pledged their support in kind, thoughts and spirit. I recalled one of the Peruvian kids, a precocious girl, who came running to me and curled herself into my arms during a farewell performance for one of the volunteers.


Child at PH curling up on my lap

Child at Picaflor House curling up on my lap


I remember the end of an art and craft lesson where the children proudly flashed the animal masks they made and uninhibitedly growl, bark, roar, moo, cock-a-doodle-doo etc at the camera! Such spontaneity made me chuckle because all the kids were told to do was to smile at the camera and we got a bonus instead 🙂
Children at PH making animal noises

Children at Picaflor House making animal noises whilst posing for the camera

So, on I trudged, putting one foot in front of the other, I moved to 20km…….that was the longest distance I’ve trained before this run! By then, my stamina had waned, sprightliness dwindled and spirit heavily taxed! With Jayne behind me pushing me on with encouragement from behind and Claire ahead pulling me forward with her sunny disposition, I crossed the halfway mark. As I passed the spot where I saw the blue fairy wren, I noticed a white feather on the track. This time, I stopped, ran back and took a good look at the feather, taking the opportunity to stretch my tired legs as well.
At 25km - second time running along Calm Reserve!

At 25km – second time running along Calm Reserve!

As I went into my third and final round, my heavy laden legs felt like they had just been bulldozed and crushed. Even though I put one foot in front of the other, progress was seemingly stalled. It felt as though I was running on the treadmill – moving a lot but going nowhere. At times like this, the dichotomous human condition is clearly seen – fear and hope co-exist; pleasure and pain mingle; darkness and light merge. One part beckons me to give up; the other reminds me that I’ve promises to keep. I shut out all the self-talk and listened to songs on my iPod instead at 35km! Cold Play and Fun did spruce things for me, albeit negligibly.


After 38km, I had to stop and stretch every 100 – 200m until the 40km mark when Kirsten, a very dear friend and her partner Orla joined me for the last 12km. Seeing them was such a welcoming respite as their chatter and singing of old childhood songs distracted me from the pain and agony! Truth be told, I cannot remember what transpired save for the focus on my feet as I planted one foot in front of the other. However, I do remember the butterfly that flitted across our paths at 45.5km and then the rainbow that arched across the horizon at 46.5km! The French believe that things always come in threes and as a stauch believer in synchronicity, which I deem as meaningful coincidences that dot our lives, I believe my late partner (who was part French) was there with me throughout the run lining my path at 10.5km with the blue fairy wren, at 28km with the white feather and 45.5km the monarch butterfly. The rainbow symbolises the bridge that unifies heaven and earth. I was rendered speechless and continue to be so even as I write and mulled over the allegorical significance of the rainbow as a bridge that seals the promise I made to the children at Picaflor House and the promise that my late partner was making to me.


But back to the run…….I was too exhausted to comprehend fully the significance of the message. All I wanted to do was to finish the damn run! With 3.5km to go, I mustered every bit of good I’ve left and move unflinchingly towards Picnic Cove, the finish line and complete the 50km run in just under the 7 hours I’d anticipated. A small celebation, courtesy of my beautiful partner Jayne, took place! There was no crowd, no cheerleaders, nor congratulations! Instead, there were genuine hugs around that showed the camaraderie fostered, the close bond that was formed and the communal spirit that developed as we all are came together to do a bit of good for the less privileged in our world.
Hugs all around at the finish line at Picnic Cove.        L to R - Claire, Jayne, Moi, Orla and Kirsten

Hugs all around at the finish line at Picnic Cove. L to R – Claire, Jayne, Moi, Orla and Kirsten

More than the monumental or crazy feat that many might think I’ve achieved in running 50km at 50 years old, I think I’ll always look back at this moment with childlike awe that I am never the same runner who began the run 7 hours earlier on……..well, not until my next foray into an unknown longer distance 🙂


Thanks so much for being a part of this journey in which I started with the hope of raising USD2500 for the children at Picaflor House but now, the fundraising has almost hit £2500. The deadline for donation closes on 20 July 2015….so there is still time to do a bit of good for the children at Picaflor House!



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