HAPPY BIRTHDAY…
…to Newy Parkrun.
…to the Queen (and cheers for the long weekend day off).
…to the Australian 30km track record.
…And to any happy runners celebrating a June birthday.
All of which has taken place since my last blog.

I’ll start with the newest birthday. Last month, a new Australian 30km track record was born
here in Newcastle. Fittingly, it was set on the 30th anniversary of its predecessor, on the
very same blue synthetic track and by another Novocastrian. When the idea was first put
to us on a Sunday long run (where all good ideas take shape), we thought Scott Westcott
was joking. So you thought 10km on track was tedious? Try 75 laps…without a race pack. I
have since learned that Scott doesn’t joke about such things. So off to the blue track it
was, on a wet and windy Friday night. Despite the wild conditions, a dedicated crowd
gathered as Scott and his two pacemakers, Guy and Hugh, began to wind up the laps. The
Naked Runners commentators had the stats and the splits to keep us all updated lap by
lap. With 12 km done it was down to a lone runner battling the wind, but the local crowd
got behind him with every step and watched as history was made in 1.37:10. A special
moment was the handing over of the theoretical crown by former record holder Brian
Morgan.

Then came the biggest running party of them all- 1 year birthday celebrations for Newy
Parkrun in the ultimate ‘town of runners’. Despite miserable wind and drizzle, dedicated
runners came out in their hundreds to attempt a new participation record. They came with
prams and crowns and all manner of running attire, and most left a various shade of brown
from the mud flick-up. Mr Newy Parkrun himself Dave Robertson reported the final count
at 799, short of the record but a feat to be proud of, especially in the rain. There’s no better
way to start the weekend than a run with 800 happy people, complete with pots of hot
chocolate and bacon and egg rolls.

It’s events like these which keep me going when the going gets rough individually. It would
be an understatement to say the last 6 weeks have been disappointing for me personally.
The km’s are there but sessions have been continually flat and lacking in speed. It’s one
thing to know in yourself that you are in mediocre training mode, but it’s another thing to
have it put down on paper in a race. After state cross at Nowra, I sat down with my coach,
Scott, to try to nut out what was going on. Exam stress? Overtraining? Volume? So a few
weeks break are in order to try to break the lethargic cycle. On the flip side, I was very
excited with the successes of fellow Hunter athletes at Nowra, especially the awesome
form shown by training partner Guy Walters and sister Chloe! It’s great to see hard work
paying off.

Speaking of happy birthdays, someone told me a quote the other day in relation to my
upcoming 21st: ‘you know you’re a running tragic when you celebrate your birthday by
running your age in km’s’. I think that’s a perfectly good idea, don’t you?
So happy birthday celebrations all round…despite nothing to celebrate results-wise at the
moment for me. At least it’s shown me there is much more to running than meets the eye,
not least a great community to share it with

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