When someone you know is running a marathon, you have to go along and support them, and I know full well what it feels like to see your team along the way giving you a smile when you’re the athlete. Today, it was all about someone else, with me as one of the three cheering crew. The birds were awake early and so were we. Up in the dark this Sunday morning to get wrapped up warm. The support crew stopped, firstly, to fill up with hot drinks then, to gasp at the beauty of the sunrise (red sky in the morning, the shepherd’s warning).
We headed to the earlybirds’ starting line up where only the tough ones were actually lining up, the rest were waiting for a much more sociable starting time of 9am. But not Rob! As mentioned yesterday, he’s running one marathon a month for the next year. Hold that thought! If you have run just one marathon, you’ll know what it feels like afterwards, but if you want to put yourself through this pain each month for twelve months, you’re in a totally different league! You are inspired to get out of bed in the morning for a thirty minute walk. If this example doesn’t help you to picture the situation, I have even more great stories!
As the tough, early birds lined up, another wiry gentleman passed by me. There’s an incredible story about him. Believe it or not, it’s his 539th marathon today in Nelson (22,639kms in total, and that doesn’t include the training sessions!!). Dressed and running in fluro with matching swimming trunks, he makes us all look like couch potatoes. I just had to have my picture taken with such a legend. Michael Stewart you are an utterly incredible and inspiring man! How lazy did that make me feel, and it wasn’t even 8am yet!! The start siren sounded and they were off. Into the early morning mist, just after sunrise. The race was underway and, this time, I was just a supporter. Now this is a very different situation, so we grabbed a quick coffee in Cuzzie, then made sure we waved and cheered as the runners, including Rob, passed us by.
Then we headed to the next checkpoint for more cheering and sight-seeing as we drove along. Believe me, it’s far less painful in the back seat of the car than on foot, pounding the pavements. We cheered as we watched lots of them pass and the time simply flew by. Checkpoint 3 came soon enough. This was a surprise for Rob, as there was an unplanned “hi” from us all. Then he was nearing the finish. We stood and watched the winner race across the line. He made it look like it was all far too easy. He still had a bounce in his step. He even went running back up and round the ropes once he had crossed the finish line as his watch said he was a hundred metres short of the required 42kms. He thinks he must have missed an arrow out the back of the course (the directions were a little hard to follow from most accounts!). Anyhow, Rob crossed the finish line in just over four hours, even though he had a sore hamstring for the entire race. Go Rob!
Now, I haven’t run a marathon in years but, today, Rob inspired me to think about a “maybe”, just “maybe” once I’m home and dry, I could possibly, just possibly, join in on the last marathon of his challenge in February 2017. Somewhere, somehow, this crazy redhead is going to run again, Rob! I may be well behind you, but I think I will run to celebrate with you! That’s a promise! (Gosh, I hope that’s not going to be The Great Wall of China Marathon!) Keep me posted, Rob and Margaret Ann.
We all rested and chatted before hugging “goodbye” as it was lunchtime. Way too many coffees for Jase and, in any case, we were all hungry. Off to lunch in Cuzzie, we grabbed some hot food from Di Vine, a great little place in Nelson. Then we had a chat before I raced to the library and found some great books to read and in which to discover more local legends. We bumped into Reg and Angela at the library and they have helped me out yet again. This time by letting me borrow my library books on their cards, thanks to both of you.
Back to get things sorted in Cuzzie. We grabbed some stuff for Jase to take back to Auckland, then headed to a very crowded Nelson Airport. My Support Crew has gone yet again and I’m back in the campground, preparing for a week of training in and around this wonderful, calm coastline. Paddling, for sure, but also running in and around some of the tracks and beaches, not to mention research and reading while the winter storms keep me in this wonderful location. Thanks Mother Nature but, please, please, let me be home for Xmas.
My smiles today:
The birds singing before sunrise.
The inspirational marathon runners. How many marathons can we say we have run?
My new books are not only inspirational but also very beautiful.
Mother Nature. Now, I thank you for helping me in my Odyssey.
Seeing kingfishers on Rabbit Island. Beautiful birds.
Altogether, an incredible and wonderful weekend.
My thoughts today:
If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be.
Bye for now!