When you think of Easter Sunday, you think of chocolate for breakfast and late sleep ins. This year, this was not to be for a large group of runners who had joined me in participating in the Wild Horse Criterium of 2012.
As I am a beginner, I took part in the 12km race, whereas others had braved 36 and even 60km, yet still had a smile on their faces as they crossed the finish line. It didn’t matter though, there was a large sense of community, and a sense of belonging, even when I had chosen my faithful four legged friend to accompany me through the trails of the Glasshouse Mountains.
Understandably, there were murmurs of doubt that this was in fact, a good idea. Would she obstruct other runners coming the opposite direction to us, would she decide to leave a few presents along the way, all these questions, I already had the answer to in my head, but I still needed to prove that she was an athlete too, and was there for the same reason.
We arrived after a scenic drive early in the morning, the race organisers were kind enough to let those of
us with dogs start early, so as not to cause too much of an obstruction, and to avoid the dogs needing to run in the heat. As we found each other, the dogs were more than excited at the fact there were other canine companions to run with. The majority of them had met before, those we had not were happy to introduce themselves, and all without incident. There were even quite a few of the more elite runners who came up to distribute pats, and all with that smile we had been hoping for.
As we set out, my Siberian Husky had seemingly mistaken me for a sled and full steam ahead, we fell into our formations, and as I looked ahead, I saw the lovely backdrop of the Pine trees, turned the first corner and as they vanished, I saw bush, and sand. As I had only ever trained on concrete, you can imagine this was quite different for me, yet we powered on anyway. I can honestly say that every type of terrain was covered, my dog and I did not have any difficulty traversing this until we hit some rather large rocks, which are only navigable by walking through.
Along the way, we were passed by several runners coming through on their second and third laps, each with a kind greeting, a “well done” and the occasional “can I borrow your dog”. I think it was now becoming apparent that we had been accepted, as we had always moved off the trail if we had seen anyone coming.
As we hit the final creek crossing, which I must say was absolute heaven, and we may have stood in it for a good 2 minutes, we had almost made the finish line. Up a few more rocky slopes, down a few more gravel bends, and we had made it, and in the spirit of Easter, we were greeted with a chocolate Easter bunny, and a hot dog for my canine friend.
Once again after we had all completed the trail, we regrouped, all still smiling, and discussed the race, took a few pictures and parted ways.
On the drive home, I was still energised and chatting away about the event to my partner, who had come to volunteer, and as I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw my dog asleep in the back, looking very satisfied with herself, and so was I, for I had doubted myself, yet I had finished, and had a great time, which was a bonus.
I would highly recommend this event to beginners like myself, and more advanced athletes looking to break away from the usual pavement they see everyday.