I was supposed to run my first half marathon in Barcelona, in February 2016. But then, 2 months before the half marathon, I broke my back and my leg (jinx!). So I ended up in Barcelona in a role of a limping cheerleader of my friends.
It took me some time to get back to (walking) running again. But here I am, crossing the finish line of the legendary Sydney Half Marathon! Who would expect that? Certainly not my PE teacher.
I’m not really a seasoned runner. But I did run few 10km races in Paris, 7,7 “La Parisienne” with friends from work, and a Christmas race, dressed up as Santa (please don’t judge me). So I was wondering, how would Sydney be compared to Paris.
Generally speaking, it was a wonderful experience. What an awesome way to discover the city! I felt at the top of the world and I was constantly congratulating myself on making this beautiful city my new home. The weather was simply perfect. The race started early, at 6:45 (ouch!), so it didn’t have a chance to get too hot.
Around 17 000 people took part in the race, which is not a very impressive number compared to 40 000 in Paris. A completely different scale of the event explains, in a way, all my allegations. Because yes, there were also things I didn’t like.
For someone who runs in Paris on different occasions, the organization of Sydney’s half marathon may be slightly disappointing.
Starting with the track – nothing less cool, than just dividing the track in two by setting the barriers, making you run 10 km and than coming back exactly the same way. You awkwardly pass those, who are slower than you and run in the other direction on the other side of barriers. I understand the practical point of this solution, but again – Paris has spoiled me.
We didn’t get T-shirts with the name of the race. For me, it’s always the best souvenir (right next to a medal, of course), but as well picking up a t-shirt a day before the race adds a lot to the excitement. In Paris and Barcelona, you get as well a sports bag full of little gifts, like magic energy bars, soothing muscles gels, etc. Here we were handed only sad envelopes with numbers, without even pins attached. Small, inexpensive thing, that probably most of the people have at home, but so far it has always been provided, and I wouldn’t like to be someone who discovers this lack just before the race.
But the thing that disappointed me the most was the fact that there was almost no music on the streets. In Paris, there are so many bands, so many entertaining things going on throughout the way! The time passes quicker, legs are slightly lighter 😉
But enough of whining. These are all just some small tiny details that don’t have a big impact on your experience. Because at the end of the day, what really matters is your effort, your emotions, what’s going on in your head. And I would strongly encourage everyone to choose this way of discovering the city. I will be the first one to tell you, that it’s totally worth it. It doesn’t have to be half marathon, there are so many shorter races. It will be a precious memory for you, I can guarantee it 🙂
PS. I’d like to thank my personal coach for running with me at my turtle pace. It was awesome to cross the finish line holding hands. Thanks! 🙂