The weather’s warming up and so, too, are thousands of Aussies. They’re stretching, jogging on the spot and doing whatever it is that runners do to prepare themselves for marathons and half-marathons, a 10 km run here or a 5 km dash there.
December is a popular time to run if the Australian running calendar is anything to go by. Not only are there are plenty of events in the southern states taking advantage of the early summer warmth, there are some scheduled for places that are just plain hot.
That’s the case with the Sweaty Santa Fun Run on 11 December at the Barron Gorge National Park, 27 km north-west of Cairns, Qld.
Cairns Road Runners encourage participants to dress up in festive gear to complete the 2 km, 5 km and 10 km fun runs, cheerfully informing all that, yes, it will be hot and, yes, you will sweat.
If perspiring in Far North Queensland in a Santa suit doesn’t appeal to you, try a cooler event on the same day with the Deep Space Mountain marathon, half marathon, 10 km and 5 km at Namadgi National Park, ACT. Your mission is to run a route following the former Orroral Valley space tracking station to the former Honeysuckle Creek space tracking station.
Organisers note that the weather is one of the variables of this event, which can range from 30-plus degrees to sub-zero temperatures. Indeed, in 2008 snow fell the night before the event and during the first two hours of the race. That would be enough to make you see stars.
But if a 10 km fun run is more like a walk in the park for you and even the mere 42 km of a marathon is no challenge—don’t worry. There’s always the option of an ultramarathon to get your lactic acid going.
The 240 km Coast to Kosciuszko ultramarathon starting at 5.30 am on 9 December at Twofold Bay, NSW will keep a small band of people on their toes for a day or two. Last year’s winner, 43-year-old John Pearson, completed the gruelling course in 27 hours, 35 minutes and seven seconds.
Running takes as much mental strength as it does physical fitness. That resolve to keep on going through fatigue and pain is the hallmark of a runner.
US ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, famous for running a marathon to the South Pole and completing 50 marathons in 50 days (one in each US state), summed up the marathon spirit: ‘Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.’
Throughout our lives, there will be times when the running is easy, times when it is difficult to even walk and times when all we can do is crawl. Those are the times when we can call on God to give us the strength to keep on going—‘Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus’ (Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1).