The day of the final fun run arrived. It was a 10 Km run and Kipwil had the goal of achieving the run in under 1 hour. But in the pre- dawn as she got ready to go to the start line with Hubba Hubba and the children her spirits sank. Kipwil could rain pounding on the roof and the wind blowing it up against the windows. She hated running in the rain and it was so cold outside!
Sighing and thinking to herself, Just Do It, Kipwil got into the car for the 40 minute drive to the Catani Gardens, a park set beside the beach in a place called St Kilda. It was a beautiful place to see normally but in the dim light with the wind straight off the ocean, it was looking a little less than the sparkling jewel it usually was. She shivered while she waited for the call to the start line.
Kipwil took her place on the start line and manoeuvred her way into the middle of the group. At least it was warmer in there! The announcer was describing the course and Kipwil strained to listen.
“NOW RUNNERS, YOUR FIRST LEG WILL BE WITH THE WIND BEHIND YOU. WHEN YOU MAKE THE FIRST TURN YOU WILL THEN BE RUNNING INOT A HEADWIND OF APPROXIMATELY 30 KNOTS. THAT’S THE BAD NEWS. THE GOOD NEWS IS WHEN YOU MAKE THE SECOND TURN JUST AFTER THE 7 KILOMETRE MARK, THE WIND WILL BE BEHIND YOU! GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY RUNNING!”
Kipwil jogged a little up and down to get herself warm. Well, do or die, she thought, I have set a goal and if I don’t achieve it, then I try again. The world will still turn after all!
A sudden surge forward indicated the race had started. This race had an added bonus of having two special runners…..the Pacers. These tall slender flags were marked with times such as 60 minutes and 90 minutes. The Pacers were both a blessing and a curse to Kipwil. She loved seeing them behind her but every time someone would pass her on her run, she would think it was a pacer and she was falling behind. Kipwil spotted the 60 minute Pacer running easily up ahead.
I have to get past her and stay in front thought Kipwil determinedly.
It took a few minutes but Kipwil weaved and ran, dodged other slower runners and darted between groups of chatters until she was level with the Pacer. She put on a little controlled surge and took the lead.
Now to keep it! She thought and pushed a little harder.
Kipwil made the first turn several metres in front of the Pacer. The wind hit her full in the face and she felt like she was running on the spot. Gritting her teeth she pushed harder against the wind and took advantage of every lull, few though they were, in between.
As she ran, Kipwil could hear cheery music. A band had set up and was playing some cool jazz to soothe their hot minds! Kipwil applauded them as she went by and her spirits felt lighter.
The kilometre markers were not backwards in their excitement either. As Kipwil passed each one, the Marker would clap, or cheer, or call out encouragement. Each voice uplifted her tired mind and let fresh power flow to her legs so she could keep up the pace she had set for herself. She saw Hubba Hubba clapping as she went past, and she smiled between puffs.
At last! The final turn was ahead. Kipwil could see the ocean in front of her and the clouds parted, making the water sparkle as if it had been sprinkled with the stars from the night before. The fresh sea air filled her lungs, making her feel strong and she picked up speed. She turned to see if she could find the Pacer but the Pacer was nowhere to be found. Kipwil had the unsettling thought that the Pacer had passed her while she was focusing on just running. A little jolt of adrenaline hit and she picked up a little speed, trying to find the Pacer.
She ran, on and on. Feet pounding rhythmically, chest heaving in time, her breath coming in regular bursts and her mind joined in with “ You can do this You can do this You can do this” Kipwil wiped the sweat off her face and remembered how she was taught to breathe in yoga class. She slowed her breathing down and could feel the oxygen flowing through to her tired muscles.
And then she was there…the finish line! It was just up ahead!! Kipwil surged forward and pumped her arms as hard as they would go she past4,5, 6 runners in the last 20 metres of the fun run and triumphantly flung her arms up as she crossed the line. She quickly looked at the time…
54 mins 47 seconds!!!! SHE HAD DONE IT!!!! Hubba Hubba appeared with a bottle of water for her.
“ Babe, I’m so proud of you, you did it! I am so proud of your running. You inspire me.” he said giving her a huge hug.
Kipwil’s children appeared. “ Yay Mum!” they shouted and threw their arms around her in a huge group hug. Kipwil smiled all the way down the inside to her toes.
It is good to be alive she thought as she squeezed right back.